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!)