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Festival at the Edge; post festival thoughts

Festival at the Edge...FatE, the best named festival for storytelling in the world? quite possibly!

Invited by the lovely and talented Pete and Sue Chand, I landed in the Shropshire countryside on Thursday evening to a warm cottage, a table full of samosas and wine and world renowned storytellers Len Cabral (and his lovely wife Judy) and Kasper Sorenson.

Like all good tellers we unfolded the night with our words, our tongues sliced through the hammering rain as we turned samosas into a feast and wine into the nectar of the gods. Stories and warmth filled the room and then we were ready, or at least thought we were, for the 3 day storytelling bonanza that is FatE.

Giant marquee tents dotted the green fields of Shropshire as stalwart fans and newcomers to storytelling arrived all day friday to set up their tents. For those of you who don't know, FatE is a camping storytelling festival. Tellers are put up in the bunkhouse or nearby if they don't want to camp. I opted for bunkhouse.

Amongst the fields of giant marquees where everything from circus to workshops to exquisite storytelling performances happen, there is a field called the Village. Superb coffee, fantastic food from all over the world, and even Ben Haggerty's book Emporium can be found appearing out of thin air.

There were story sessions from 10am till after midnight, enough tales to suit every kind of taste. A huge bonfire is lit every night and a session runs from 11pm to midnight for those hardier folk who long to hear stories under the canopy of stars and leafy branches.

As a teller it was a delight to take part. I was minded by a thousand (well almost!) kindly stewards, and several incredible artist liaison folk who were determined that I not get lost or go hungry. The audiences were so accustomed to storytelling that they were ready at the drop of a hat (or in my case, a pashmina scarf) to delve into anything from deep dark myths to lovely luxurious folklore.

It was a delight of the senses, a feast of storytellers from the talented Fred Versonnen, to the darkly dancing Daniel Morden to Katrice Horsely's light touch to Nick Hennessey's poetic trails to Kasper's raunchy late night meanders to Len's dulcet tones taking us from the swamps to Africa and back again.

If you've never been, mark your diary for next year, if you were there...thanks for the lovely festival! See you there again soon!

I'm off to clean my wellies...(well it was in a field!)

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Comment by Clare Muireann Murphy on August 4, 2010 at 4:47am

Radio 4 does a beautiful review of Festival at the Edge...come and listen!
Comment by Clare Muireann Murphy on July 28, 2010 at 2:05pm
Hey Christi

it takes place in Shropshire, near Wales in the UK. Best airport for flying in is Birmingham I think. It usually happens a week or two after the other major UK festival Beyond the Border (which is now every two years I think)
best to look up their website:

Beir bua
Comment by Christi U. on July 28, 2010 at 11:02am
Thank you so much for giving your impressions. I love hearing about festivals and conferences from various points of view, audience and/or tellers.
Where does FatE take place?
Comment by Clare Muireann Murphy on July 26, 2010 at 1:03pm
Hey Tim, there are a heap of festivals here you should come to. if only you had an entire summer, a caravan and your family in tow....maybe not ideal but certainly fun!
Comment by Tim E on July 26, 2010 at 11:40am
Sounds like paradise! I hope to make it one of these years.
Comment by Clare Muireann Murphy on July 25, 2010 at 12:51pm
hey Vicky

Truth be told I saw very little cause I was busy telling (or getting ready to tell). Daniel's new show with the Singing Bones was very well received, as was Micheal Harvey's new commission ReVerb. Also people were raving about Pete and Gorg Chand's beautiful show Henna. The only show I got to see was right at the very end: Nick Hennessey's House of Skin, which I enjoyed.

Thanks Kevin for your mc-ing and your lovely comments, fireside telling, it was such fun with that crowd and kasper!

Comment by Vicky Parsons on July 25, 2010 at 12:35pm
Oh, man, I wish I'd been there. What shows do you recommend? If they play elsewhere?
Comment by Kevin Walker on July 25, 2010 at 11:10am
Sorry I have been so long adding my comments about FATE but I can only agree totally with Clare. Great festival, so well organised, hugely varied programme, great tellers and song, wonderful food and crafts and stalls....brilliant all round. I must admit we stayed in a local B&B, not into camping, but the site looked magnificent with all the tents and trailers. Roll on next year.
PS...Clare, you were one of the stars of the festival and it was my pleasure to MC your bonfire performance which was even more magical in that firelight.
Comment by Liz Weir on July 24, 2010 at 6:13pm
Delighted you had such a good time, Clare!



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