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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Sunrise Off Grid 2010: Festival Review

The Sunrise Off Grid festival took place in late August - here's our review of this very special kind of festival.

Written by Tiger Lily Raphael

Triumph Inspiration Award Xu Yi
Triumph Inspiration Award
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

So, information pills you’re a sports celebrity, buy but your sporting career has long since ended. What to do to keep in the spotlight? Why, turn up to a fashion show. And watch pretty models parade around in their keks. Purfect! And so it was that I found myself sitting behind not only Nicky Hambleton-Jones (fabulous skin since you ask, and a forehead as smooth as a baby’s bottom) but that well known fan of underwear Linford Christie. Well, he’s a man isn’t he?

Triumph Inspiration Award

I got to the awards as people were being seated, so just had a chance to whisk past a clutch of uncomfortable looking models posing in underwear beneath coloured lights as guests blithely sipped vodka tonics in front of them, and men (only men, and me) snapped them for posterity.

Triumph Inspiration Award presented by someone
Triumph Inspiration Award presented by someone I’ve never heard of.

Triumph Inspiration Award

And so I sat behind the celebs as they had a suitably celeb-y chit chat, and then we were subjected to a bombastic intro which involved a lengthy and dramatic collage of lady silhouettes and then some misogynistic words from a male dancer who I’ve never heard of, and then the judges arrived. Helena Christensen looked vaguely uncomfortable as she was introduced and Matthew Williamson, Rankin and her passed notes like giggly schoolkids. I wonder how much they all got paid for this little shindig? A pretty penny I shouldn’t wonder.

Triumph Inspiration Award judges
Triumph Inspiration Award judges.

In the goodie bags were the first of many hair products that I expect to receive this week, a pair of pants that might fit around my thigh if I’m lucky, and a very glossy brochure of Helena wearing the outfits designed by the 27 finalists chosen from 2300 students from countries all over the globe. And how old is Helena Christensen anyway? A cheese lover apparently, no less, she’s still outrageously good looking in the flesh, though of course she has been airbrushed to oblivion in the promo shots.

Triumph Inspiration Award Helena Christensen

Luckily the actual show was short and sweet, and some of the designs – based on the theme Shape Sensation – were really rather good. It was all over very quickly as we finished with a nod to burlesque; a girl exploding balloons full of coloured paint powder all over the catwalk.

Triumph Inspiration Award

The winners were announced in a manner reminiscent of the Eurovision contest, Ludovico Loffreda of Italy, then Amaya Carcamo of Spain, both designs that I liked. Unsurprisingly the first prize went to a design that clearly had commercial potential, though I would have picked Amaya’s beautiful armoured contraption myself. The winner, Nikolay Bojilov of Bulgaria looked utterly dazed as he paraded down the catwalk with Helena Christensen on one arm.

Triumph Inspiration Award 2010 winner Nikolay Bojilov of Bulgaria
Triumph Inspiration Award 2010 winner Nikolay Bojilov of Bulgaria.

Here then, are my favourites, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The Sublime:
Triumph Inspiration Award Suzanne Ferncombe
Suzanne Ferncombe.

Triumph Inspiration Award Justin Singh
Justin Singh.

Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Ludovico Loffreda of Italy
Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Ludovico Loffreda of Italy.


The winning design by Nikolay Bojilov.

Triumph Inspiration Award Eugenia Dimopoulou
Eugenia Dimopoulou.

Triumph Inspiration Award Isolde Mayer
Isolde Mayer.

Triumph Inspiration Award Anette Boman
Anette Boman.

Triumph Inspiration Award Dennis Lyngso
Dennis Lyngso.

Triumph Inspiration Award Benjamin Blarer
Benjamin Blarer.

Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Amaya Carcamo
Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Amaya Carcamo.

Triumph Inspiration Award Manuel Marte
Manuel Marte.

Triumph Inspiration Award Tovah Cottle
Tovah Cottle.

Onward, London Fashion Week here I come. Look out for a live sketch blog from the awards from the wonderful Jenny Robins coming up soon.

Triumph Inspiration Award
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

So, visit you’re a sports celebrity, but your sporting career has long since ended. What to do to keep in the spotlight? Why, turn up to a fashion show. And watch pretty models parade around in their keks. Purfect! And so it was that I found myself sitting behind not only Nicky Hambleton-Jones (fabulous skin since you ask, and a forehead as smooth as a baby’s bottom) but that well known fan of underwear Linford Christie. Well, he’s a man isn’t he?

Triumph Inspiration Award

I got to the awards as people were being seated, so just had a chance to whisk past a clutch of uncomfortable looking models posing in underwear beneath coloured lights as guests blithely sipped vodka tonics in front of them, and men (only men, and me) snapped them for posterity.

Triumph Inspiration Award presented by someone
Triumph Inspiration Award presented by someone I’ve never heard of.

Triumph Inspiration Award

And so I sat behind the celebs as they had a suitably celeb-y chit chat, and then we were subjected to a bombastic intro which involved a lengthy and dramatic collage of lady silhouettes and then some misogynistic words from a male dancer who I’ve never heard of, and then the judges arrived. Helena Christensen looked vaguely uncomfortable as she was introduced and Matthew Williamson, Rankin and her passed notes like giggly schoolkids. I wonder how much they all got paid for this little shindig? A pretty penny I shouldn’t wonder.

Triumph Inspiration Award judges
Triumph Inspiration Award judges.

In the goodie bags were the first of many hair products that I expect to receive this week, a pair of pants that might fit around my thigh if I’m lucky, and a very glossy brochure of Helena wearing the outfits designed by the 27 finalists chosen from 2300 students from countries all over the globe. And how old is Helena Christensen anyway? A cheese lover apparently, no less, she’s still outrageously good looking in the flesh, though of course she has been airbrushed to oblivion in the promo shots.

Triumph Inspiration Award Helena Christensen

Luckily the actual show was short and sweet, and some of the designs – based on the theme Shape Sensation – were really rather good. It was all over very quickly as we finished with a nod to burlesque; a girl exploding balloons full of coloured paint powder all over the catwalk.

Triumph Inspiration Award

The winners were announced in a manner reminiscent of the Eurovision contest, Ludovico Loffreda of Italy, then Amaya Carcamo of Spain, both designs that I liked. Unsurprisingly the first prize went to a design that clearly had commercial potential, though I would have picked Amaya’s beautiful armoured contraption myself. The winner, Nikolay Bojilov of Bulgaria looked utterly dazed as he paraded down the catwalk with Helena Christensen on one arm.

Triumph Inspiration Award 2010 winner Nikolay Bojilov of Bulgaria
Triumph Inspiration Award 2010 winner Nikolay Bojilov of Bulgaria.

Here then, are my favourites, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The Sublime:

Triumph Inspiration Award Suzanne Ferncombe
Suzanne Ferncombe.

Triumph Inspiration Award Justin Singh
Justin Singh.

Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Ludovico Loffreda of Italy
Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Ludovico Loffreda of Italy.


The winning design by Nikolay Bojilov.

Triumph Inspiration Award Eugenia Dimopoulou
Eugenia Dimopoulou.

Triumph Inspiration Award Isolde Mayer
Isolde Mayer.

Triumph Inspiration Award Anette Boman
Anette Boman.

Triumph Inspiration Award Dennis Lyngso
Dennis Lyngso.

Triumph Inspiration Award Benjamin Blarer
Benjamin Blarer.

Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Amaya Carcamo
Triumph Inspiration Award runner up Amaya Carcamo.

Triumph Inspiration Award Manuel Marte
Manuel Marte.

Triumph Inspiration Award Tovah Cottle
Tovah Cottle.

The Ridiculous:

Triumph Inspiration Award Da Da Tang Sze Man
Da Da Tang Sze Man.

Triumph Inspiration Award Peet Dullaert
Peet Dullaert.

Triumph Inspiration Award Pha Thi Cam Tu
Pha Thi Cam Tu.

Triumph Inspiration Award Karine Feldman
Karine Feldman.

Triumph Inspiration Award Cristina Homen de Gouveia
Cristina Homen de Gouveia.

Triumph Inspiration Award Caroline du Chastel
Caroline du Chastel.

Triumph Inspiration Award Yadvi Aggarwal
Yadvi Aggarwal.

Triumph Inspiration Award Ayumi Kawase
Ayumi Kawase.

Triumph Inspiration Award Elin Engstrom
Elin Engstrom.

Triumph Inspiration Award Xu Yi
Xu Yi.

Onward, London Fashion Week here I come. Look out for a live sketch blog from the awards from the wonderful Jenny Robins coming up soon.

Sunrise Offgrid

Having been to each and every Sunrise festival since it started in 2006 I became one of the Sunrise Off Grid organising team this year. It’s only the second time this offshoot has happened but as I watched the site take shape with a mix of anxiety and hope I realised that of course it would be a wonderful event. Sunrise has never failed me, see so why would it now?

Us Brits we love to talk about the weather right? Well, Off Grid was WET and I saw this as a healthy test of how good the event really was; sunshine softens the edges but water is transparent. If people could leave the rainy site saying they had the best weekend ever then we had done it, and they did! An incredible display of enthusiasm and participation took place: people made soap under an umbrella over a fire with one of the guys from Lush, went for rainy walkabouts to find herbal remedies and hacked away at tin cans to make rocket stoves – there was a constant crowd of students at the Off Grid college in the Transition Towns Tin Village, all studying an alternative lifestyle.

Sunrise Offgrid view

There is nothing more gratifying after months of work than to know that something is going well. A momentous moment for me was dropping in on the Future Farming Conference and witnessing of key agriculturalists moving towards sustainability and co-operation in the South West. A Transition Towns phrase used by Sunrise was echoed by Tamsin Omond of Climate Rush, who gave an inspirational talk on the direct action side of things. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world – it’s the only thing that ever does.”

Sunrise Offgrid indoor workshop

Not only did the event inspire me and many others in practical ways, but the emotional aspect was also huge. The Kindness Offensive gave a talk which further deepened my faith in human action, offering a simple insight into why doing good and being kind is infinitely powerful. Mark Boyle explained why living free doesn’t come at such a high cost as we sometimes think, and venues all over this tiny and manageable site gave forums to those with bright ideas and amazing initiatives into ‘Spiritual activism’ – ways to be happy, healthy, helping each other and the planet.

Sunrise Offgrid workshop

Obviously a festival wouldn’t be a festival without any music, and even though Off Grid is a small festival of 500 punters, the music played a large part, as tends to happen at Sunrise. The Zia Solar main stage, in the barn, was powered entirely by wind and sun (along with the rest of the festival) and had a great line up of local and distant musicians who gave performances as valued contributions to the event. Thursday started things off with a harmonica and the amazing vocal talents of Phillip Henry of The Roots Union (watch that one), followed by some Afrocelt treats from Simon Emmerson DJ-ing (after his talk on bird species and bird song, a pastime of his outside of AfroCelt Soundsystem). The weekend continued in the same exciting fashion with funky soul 10-piece, Glastonbury-based Gente, easy-skanking Avalon Roots, foot-stomping Celtech, circus-swinging, slightly spooky, theatrical showmen Spanner Jazz Punks (!), modern traditional folk from Forcenra, musical activsts, Seize The Day and many many more marvelous minstrels about whom I could ramble for hours!

Sunrise Offgrid weave

Poetry didn’t miss a beat at Off Grid and dance workshops prepped people for the lively nights. However, all of this I know and trust will come from Sunrise each year. What really moved me, personally, was the display of determination to make something beautiful in the rain, to learn something essential and gather together to discuss and network over something truly important: our relationship with this planet. I work for Sunrise because I don’t think that a single person leaves either Sunrise Celebration in June (check out www.sunrisecelebration.com), or Off Grid (www.sunrise-offgrid.com), unaffected by the energy in the heart of the event, which drives us to reassess our lives, our actions, and to love it all just a little bit, even a lot, more.

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