Saturday we all rocked up to Deer Shed Festival, my 3rd time at the family-friendly festival. Actually, ‘family-friendly’ doesn’t do it justice. Unlike other festivals, who have little separate areas for the kids while the parents can go off and watch the other acts, Deer Shed totally embracing children. Thousands of them. After a few hours you’re almost dizzy with the constant chattering, running and joy from the children and young people. You can hear me chat to Megan, Creative Director of the Festival on the Say Owt podcast: https://soundcloud.com/sayowtpodcast/say-owt-podcast-19-megan-evans/sets
I say we, because it was the first time we’d gone as Say Owt, and a crew. Myself, Dave Jarman, Chris Singleton, Stu Freestone, Jenni Pascoe and Ralph Dartford spent the day soaking up the atmosphere of the mighty festival, watching some acts, bands, even chatting to some of the attendees and writing some brand new poems especially for the event. We then pitted ourselves in a slam, with some help from special guest Dom Berry. As expected with a spot of new poems, an audience mostly comprised of under 10s and a little bit of improvised freestyling there was a ramshackle element. I’d like to think we did a good fun hour of entertainment among many other acts and artists, if there was a wild chaotic element running throughout.
I didn’t want to just take a simple slam where we bring poems specifically for children. I did one of my ‘normal’ poems for adults, as did Stu freestone and Ralph Dartford. The show before us did pretty simple poetry, aimed directly at children. Clearly the kids enjoyed it, but I think we did the stronger show. Not that it’s a competition (although we did run a slam competition) but rather than considering the ‘expectations’ around performing to young people, we just went for an entertaining showcase which I think paid off. Thanks to Deer Shed and my fellow poets, hope we can return next year for more madcappery!