I spent the afternoon at The Bardic Picnic, an annual festival of spoken word and music held in the beautiful grounds of Delapre Abbey. The festival began at noon and is continuing as I write this. I was invited to perform in the umbrella tent, and was delighted to bump into Crystal Clear poet Jess Mayhew and some of her fellow ex-creative writing students whom I had previously met at Smack the Poesy, the wonderful poetry night hosted by poet Susan Sheridan. I’d never read at a festival before, but the relaxed ‘hippy’ vibe and colourful tent soon had me feeling at home and I throughly enjoyed myself. Earlier I’d stood sheltering from the rain under a large tree while a cloak sporting druid from Glastonbury attempted to burst clouds and enlarge a small patch of blue sky with his hands. This seemed to work as the sun arrived and soon small children with painted faces were riding past in a pony and trap. There was a genuine atmosphere of goodwill and relaxation devoid of the imperative to spend money (the festival is free) which took me back to some barefoot events of my youth.
If you are anywhere near Birmingham on 31st July I’ll be reading at the Flarestack Launch of David Clarke’s Gaud and Nichola Deane’s My Moriarty. I’m looking forward to hearing the prize winners and reading my poems from the competition anthology Sylvia is Missing at Ikon Gallery, Brindley Place, Birmingham, from 6.30 – 9.00pm. The Ikon Gallery is in Birmingham City Centre, a short walk from New Street Station, parking nearby.