Dawn Chorus – Swindon Festival of Literature 2015

4 May

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Twenty-two, full of vigor, a sunny disposition, so hot flames pounce at the sky and totally up for it at 5:30am, the Swindon Festival of Literature 2015 juggled, joked and sunshined its start at Lawn Woods this morning.

The Sun Arise Choir filled the air with all of the gentle beauty Swindon has to offer, gorgeous harmonies, Park South and the County Ground being the only other Swindon landmarks which come close from that ridge in Lawn Woods where the town slumbered in early morning loveliness.

A packed and cheerful crowd were treated to storyteller Chris Park and tale about a cloak being a story, which for me ended up cloaked in as much mystery as when he started, his huge Irish Wolfhound is amazing though.

Rainbow Blue purveyor of wishes added lipstick, powder, paint and charming angel wings.

MC Tony Hillier rattled out groan-worthy one liners which even at 5:30am had the crowd punned to within an inch of their lives.

Soon Jake the Juggler was emphasising to the crowd the sonic contrast between clapping with and without gloves on. This is a thinking festival after all.

Offering self-confessed multi-faceted tricks, Jake juggled his hat and roped in smaller members of the crowd to help him. Following up with dangerously unicycling against a solar backdrop so bright that many bizarre and beautiful sunglasses were quickly retrieved from bags and pockets.

Chris Park was returned with a story about how his dog came to be named Bear, he mentioned the distant hump of Liddington Hill, which was alright by us Richard Jefferies fan-boys.

Debbie Wolfson and friends gave us a Cornish finale before Tony Hillier read a poem where ‘we discover one another’, this morning we did quite a bit of that.

And then it was just Jake on the slack-line attempting the physically improbable, a grumpy Bedlington Terrier and traditional may-pole chaos.

As the crowd drifted away,that confident twenty-two year old looked into the distance at stories, thinking, poetry and Sandi Toksvig and if a literature festival could talk it was saying ‘bring it on, let’s do this’.

Words by Michael Scott. Photos by Calyx Pictures (except where stated otherwise).

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