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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Climate Camp Tripod Stage at Glastonbury 2010: How did it all go?

This year I ran the Tripod Stage for the Climate Camp field. Was it a success? Read on for my thoughts on Glastonbury 2010.

Written by Amelia Gregory

thumbnail Kirsty

Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

There is nothing generic about Kirsty Almeida; she was not artificially created from a record labels wish-list, site nor manufactured during an X Factor audition. Navigating her own path, pharmacy she is very much the modern Renaissance Woman: artist, this web experimenter and a true creative. Before meeting Kirsty to chat about her new album Pure Blue Green – a rich tapestry of blues, folk and jazzy pop – I watched video clips of her performances. Singing live, she is mesmerizing, a powerhouse! Free spirited and alive, at times she is an enigmatic chanteuse, and other times she is a ringleader to a raucous vaudeville troupe. She sings with a passion that leaves us in no doubt that her music come from an honest and heartfelt place. Her voice is tender with sparkles of underlying inquisitiveness and humour and it only takes a minutes listening to see that her life, thoughts and loves are entwined within her lyrics, revealing an existence lived to the full and one that is continuously questioned. So it comes as no surprise that our conversation becomes an all-encompassing discourse that occasionally touches on her album and then soars off in the direction of magic, art, self-development, women’s rights and the dubious ethics of the music industry….

I love how visual your shows are…..
I love the big show thing, I think that people want to be entertained; because music is so accessible, and more downloadable now, people really like going out to live shows. I like to do something thats entertaining, but I also love the little live acoustic shows, those are some of my favourite gigs to do. I’m doing a gig soon that will be just me with a guitar and a girl called Lucinda Bell on harp. I’ve had a six foot bird cage designed and built for me, and we’re going to do a series of exhibitions and art galleries where I will play sat in the cage that will be suspended from the ceiling!

There is a lot of creativity in your performance…
Truthfully I am a visual artist, so I can’t help but look at things and go “well if you just stuck a massive big flower there, and that was attached to an umbrella with a bath chain and then water came out of it…. ” (laughs) and thats just how my mind works; it’s really visual and my work is really visual, I can’t help it!

What do you see first?
When I’m writing a song, I always see colours. I see music in colours and textures. so the first thing that will happen will be that I will be playing guitar and then the colours will come together and at that point I will know that it’s right and then I just have to close my eyes and wait and then the lyrics come.

So the song arrives together?
Always!

Do the visuals come at the same time?
No, when I write, it is just about the song and being a channel of creativity. I try and let the song happen, and then afterwards when it’s on loop I get the visuals.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by a day, every day there is a million things that inspire me. I’m inspired by clothes, people, situations, conversations that I hear from other people, situations that I get into, trouble, butterflies, birds, nature, trees….. everything!

Do you paint?
Yeah, I paint a lot. But, (sighs) there is never enough time. I also run a collective called Odbod. I set it up in Manchester where there’s a very strong support network of artists, musicians and composers who work together but because you don’t normally get paid to do original music, you have to call in a lot of favours, and in the Manchester scene there are a LOT of favours, people calling each other all the time and helping each other out on each others projects, but there is no set network so there is no way of getting funding or help and I realised that a lot of the artists needed support and advice and people were coming to me for advice, so I thought if we had a collective, we can all get together and say to each other, ‘what do you need, how can I help?’

It’s a genius idea! Would you consider expanding the Odbod’s collective to London?
I would love to! It’s hard to contain it, there are so many people who want to be involved and to everyone who wants to get involved, I just say, come along, support us and we will support you. Hopefully none of the Odbods will be there in a year, they will have flown the nest and it will be time for the next lot of artists to come in. I’m also managing an Irish singer called Rioghnach Connolly, she’s amazing, that girl blows my mind! I’ve watched her and given her advice along the way; I’m quite good at keeping peoples motivation up and helping them to see where they are messing up, and where they are putting in energy where they don’t need to be putting energy in. The whole psychology of being an artist is quite self destructive and I really recognize that so I’m good at pulling someone out.

Do you have that self destructive side to you?
Yeah, there is an element of that in all of us. To be an artist you have to stare at yourself in the mirror every day and to be a true artist you have to get to a place where you actually see what’s not in the mirror, and then separate that from yourself and that’s really hard. You judge yourself very harshly and artists are especially hard on themselves. I have a lot of issues with balance, so I spend most of my time trying to achieve that balance in my life.

If there are particular issues that are bothering you, do you ever find the answers in your songs ?
Definitely! I usually find out what’s going on in my life when I write a song, I have no idea otherwise! Most of the time I don’t know what day it is!

Are you on the road a lot?
Not as much as I would like to be. I would really like to go around the whole world, that would be great…

You are quite a wondering spirit (born in the UK, brought up in Gibraltar, Kirsty grew up travelling the four corners of the globe) Do you feel like an outsider, or can you fit in anywhere?
I empathize with people, I find it easy to talk to anyone or any culture; I’m just fascinated by people. I never felt like I didn’t fit in, it was only as I got older that I thought, I don’t fit in anywhere, I’m the wrong shape for everything! And it took me a long time to work that one out.

How did you reconcile that?
By being really honest with myself. I did a course called The Artists Way. One of the tasks that you have to do is write every morning; first thing you do is write all of your thoughts, and you write out your negativity, all those thoughts that say “I’m not good enough, I’m not happy…” and at the end of that you rip up the paper and throw it away and after a few months you notice that what you write is more creative; you are writing more positive thoughts. You cease the negative voices, and those are the words that say that you don’t fit in. And through that and meditation, I just kind of found out who I was and realised, you know, I am different, and everyone is different, and that is something to be celebrated.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

I read you saying that the future of women worries you, can you explain that? What specifically concerns you?
We still have so many issues in our sexist world, we still have so many places where men are in charge of things that women should be in charge of, and that concerns me. I am most concerned by the fact that magazines and newspapers are airbrushing us out of existence, and airbrushing us into mental hospitals! I’m really worried about the next generation of girls and how they will deal with this; their idols aren’t real – they are not real human beings! They don’t have curves, they don’t exist, you can’t women who look like what they think these women look like. It’s a unreal ideal. I’m really worried about the music industry too – especially what Simon Cowell has done to it! When I go to someone’s house and there is a TV on and they have X Factor or Idol, and I go, “is this what people are watching?” It’s a mind numbing existence for people who should be out living rather than watching.

And the music industry certainly has some interesting ideas about how to market their female artists!
There are a lot of issues and struggles; it is incredibly difficult for women in the record industry; it drives me mad! No matter how good you are, you are solely competing with say, KT Tunstall, Corrine Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Imelda May; the labels always pit us up against each other and say “You have to be the new….” You are not out there and being celebrated as a good musician. If people can’t pigeonhole you, you are seen as a bit of an oddity. Had I been a man in this industry I would have been dealt with differently; I would have been celebrated for the way that I handle myself, but if you are a female, and you have opinions then you are seen as being difficult.

It must be hard to maintain your confidence, and sanity and creativity, whilst these obstacles come your way.
If you realise that creativity, well this is my perception of it; that creativity comes from creation, and that it’s all already there and you just have to become the channel and keep that as your focus and centre. Then none of that other stuff can touch you.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

There is nothing generic about Kirsty Almeida; she was not artificially created from a record labels wish-list, malady nor manufactured during an X Factor audition. Navigating her own path, generic she is very much the modern Renaissance Woman: artist, experimenter and a true creative. Before meeting Kirsty to chat about her new album Pure Blue Green – a rich tapestry of blues, folk and jazzy pop – I watched video clips of her performances. Singing live, she is mesmerizing, a powerhouse! Free spirited and alive, at times she is an enigmatic chanteuse, and other times she is a ringleader to a raucous vaudeville troupe. She sings with a passion that leaves us in no doubt that her music come from an honest and heartfelt place. Her voice is tender with sparkles of underlying inquisitiveness and humour and it only takes a minutes listening to see that her life, thoughts and loves are entwined within her lyrics, revealing an existence lived to the full and one that is continuously questioned. So it comes as no surprise that our conversation becomes an all-encompassing discourse that occasionally touches on her album and then soars off in the direction of magic, art, self-development, women’s rights and the dubious ethics of the music industry….

I love how visual your shows are…..
I love the big show thing, I think that people want to be entertained; because music is so accessible, and more downloadable now, people really like going out to live shows. I like to do something thats entertaining, but I also love the little live acoustic shows, those are some of my favourite gigs to do. I’m doing a gig soon that will be just me with a guitar and a girl called Lucinda Bell on harp. I’ve had a six foot bird cage designed and built for me, and we’re going to do a series of exhibitions and art galleries where I will play sat in the cage that will be suspended from the ceiling!

There is a lot of creativity in your performance…
Truthfully I am a visual artist, so I can’t help but look at things and go “well if you just stuck a massive big flower there, and that was attached to an umbrella with a bath chain and then water came out of it…. ” (laughs) and thats just how my mind works; it’s really visual and my work is really visual, I can’t help it!

What do you see first?
When I’m writing a song, I always see colours. I see music in colours and textures. so the first thing that will happen will be that I will be playing guitar and then the colours will come together and at that point I will know that it’s right and then I just have to close my eyes and wait and then the lyrics come.

So the song arrives together?
Always!

Do the visuals come at the same time?
No, when I write, it is just about the song and being a channel of creativity. I try and let the song happen, and then afterwards when it’s on loop I get the visuals.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by a day, every day there is a million things that inspire me. I’m inspired by clothes, people, situations, conversations that I hear from other people, situations that I get into, trouble, butterflies, birds, nature, trees….. everything!

Do you paint?
Yeah, I paint a lot. But, (sighs) there is never enough time. I also run a collective called Odbod. I set it up in Manchester where there’s a very strong support network of artists, musicians and composers who work together but because you don’t normally get paid to do original music, you have to call in a lot of favours, and in the Manchester scene there are a LOT of favours, people calling each other all the time and helping each other out on each others projects, but there is no set network so there is no way of getting funding or help and I realised that a lot of the artists needed support and advice and people were coming to me for advice, so I thought if we had a collective, we can all get together and say to each other, ‘what do you need, how can I help?’

It’s a genius idea! Would you consider expanding the Odbod’s collective to London?
I would love to! It’s hard to contain it, there are so many people who want to be involved and to everyone who wants to get involved, I just say, come along, support us and we will support you. Hopefully none of the Odbods will be there in a year, they will have flown the nest and it will be time for the next lot of artists to come in. I’m also managing an Irish singer called Rioghnach Connolly, she’s amazing, that girl blows my mind! I’ve watched her and given her advice along the way; I’m quite good at keeping peoples motivation up and helping them to see where they are messing up, and where they are putting in energy where they don’t need to be putting energy in. The whole psychology of being an artist is quite self destructive and I really recognize that so I’m good at pulling someone out.

Do you have that self destructive side to you?
Yeah, there is an element of that in all of us. To be an artist you have to stare at yourself in the mirror every day and to be a true artist you have to get to a place where you actually see what’s not in the mirror, and then separate that from yourself and that’s really hard. You judge yourself very harshly and artists are especially hard on themselves. I have a lot of issues with balance, so I spend most of my time trying to achieve that balance in my life.

If there are particular issues that are bothering you, do you ever find the answers in your songs ?
Definitely! I usually find out what’s going on in my life when I write a song, I have no idea otherwise! Most of the time I don’t know what day it is!

Are you on the road a lot?
Not as much as I would like to be. I would really like to go around the whole world, that would be great…

You are quite a wondering spirit (born in the UK, brought up in Gibraltar, Kirsty grew up travelling the four corners of the globe) Do you feel like an outsider, or can you fit in anywhere?
I empathize with people, I find it easy to talk to anyone or any culture; I’m just fascinated by people. I never felt like I didn’t fit in, it was only as I got older that I thought, I don’t fit in anywhere, I’m the wrong shape for everything! And it took me a long time to work that one out.

How did you reconcile that?
By being really honest with myself. I did a course called The Artists Way. One of the tasks that you have to do is write every morning; first thing you do is write all of your thoughts, and you write out your negativity, all those thoughts that say “I’m not good enough, I’m not happy…” and at the end of that you rip up the paper and throw it away and after a few months you notice that what you write is more creative; you are writing more positive thoughts. You cease the negative voices, and those are the words that say that you don’t fit in. And through that and meditation, I just kind of found out who I was and realised, you know, I am different, and everyone is different, and that is something to be celebrated.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

I read you saying that the future of women worries you, can you explain that? What specifically concerns you?
We still have so many issues in our sexist world, we still have so many places where men are in charge of things that women should be in charge of, and that concerns me. I am most concerned by the fact that magazines and newspapers are airbrushing us out of existence, and airbrushing us into mental hospitals! I’m really worried about the next generation of girls and how they will deal with this; their idols aren’t real – they are not real human beings! They don’t have curves, they don’t exist, you can’t women who look like what they think these women look like. It’s a unreal ideal. I’m really worried about the music industry too – especially what Simon Cowell has done to it! When I go to someone’s house and there is a TV on and they have X Factor or Idol, and I go, “is this what people are watching?” It’s a mind numbing existence for people who should be out living rather than watching.

And the music industry certainly has some interesting ideas about how to market their female artists!
There are a lot of issues and struggles; it is incredibly difficult for women in the record industry; it drives me mad! No matter how good you are, you are solely competing with say, KT Tunstall, Corrine Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Imelda May; the labels always pit us up against each other and say “You have to be the new….” You are not out there and being celebrated as a good musician. If people can’t pigeonhole you, you are seen as a bit of an oddity. Had I been a man in this industry I would have been dealt with differently; I would have been celebrated for the way that I handle myself, but if you are a female, and you have opinions then you are seen as being difficult.

It must be hard to maintain your confidence, and sanity and creativity, whilst these obstacles come your way.
If you realise that creativity, well this is my perception of it; that creativity comes from creation, and that it’s all already there and you just have to become the channel and keep that as your focus and centre. Then none of that other stuff can touch you.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

There is nothing generic about Kirsty Almeida; she was not artificially created from a record labels wish-list, shop nor manufactured during an X Factor audition. Navigating her own path, order she is very much the modern Renaissance Woman: artist, experimenter and a true creative. Before meeting Kirsty to chat about her new album Pure Blue Green – a rich tapestry of blues, folk and jazzy pop – I watched video clips of her performances. Singing live, she is mesmerizing, a powerhouse! Free spirited and alive, at times she is an enigmatic chanteuse, and other times she is a ringleader to a raucous vaudeville troupe. She sings with a passion that leaves us in no doubt that her music come from an honest and heartfelt place. Her voice is tender with sparkles of underlying inquisitiveness and humour and it only takes a minutes listening to see that her life, thoughts and loves are entwined within her lyrics, revealing an existence lived to the full and one that is continuously questioned. So it comes as no surprise that our conversation becomes an all-encompassing discourse that occasionally touches on her album and then soars off in the direction of magic, art, self-development, women’s rights and the dubious ethics of the music industry….

I love how visual your shows are…..
I love the big show thing, I think that people want to be entertained; because music is so accessible, and more downloadable now, people really like going out to live shows. I like to do something thats entertaining, but I also love the little live acoustic shows, those are some of my favourite gigs to do. I’m doing a gig soon that will be just me with a guitar and a girl called Lucinda Bell on harp. I’ve had a six foot bird cage designed and built for me, and we’re going to do a series of exhibitions and art galleries where I will play sat in the cage that will be suspended from the ceiling!

There is a lot of creativity in your performance…
Truthfully I am a visual artist, so I can’t help but look at things and go “well if you just stuck a massive big flower there, and that was attached to an umbrella with a bath chain and then water came out of it…. ” (laughs) and thats just how my mind works; it’s really visual and my work is really visual, I can’t help it!

What do you see first?
When I’m writing a song, I always see colours. I see music in colours and textures. so the first thing that will happen will be that I will be playing guitar and then the colours will come together and at that point I will know that it’s right and then I just have to close my eyes and wait and then the lyrics come.

So the song arrives together?
Always!

Do the visuals come at the same time?
No, when I write, it is just about the song and being a channel of creativity. I try and let the song happen, and then afterwards when it’s on loop I get the visuals.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by a day, every day there is a million things that inspire me. I’m inspired by clothes, people, situations, conversations that I hear from other people, situations that I get into, trouble, butterflies, birds, nature, trees….. everything!

Do you paint?
Yeah, I paint a lot. But, (sighs) there is never enough time. I also run a collective called Odbod. I set it up in Manchester where there’s a very strong support network of artists, musicians and composers who work together but because you don’t normally get paid to do original music, you have to call in a lot of favours, and in the Manchester scene there are a LOT of favours, people calling each other all the time and helping each other out on each others projects, but there is no set network so there is no way of getting funding or help and I realised that a lot of the artists needed support and advice and people were coming to me for advice, so I thought if we had a collective, we can all get together and say to each other, ‘what do you need, how can I help?’

It’s a genius idea! Would you consider expanding the Odbod’s collective to London?
I would love to! It’s hard to contain it, there are so many people who want to be involved and to everyone who wants to get involved, I just say, come along, support us and we will support you. Hopefully none of the Odbods will be there in a year, they will have flown the nest and it will be time for the next lot of artists to come in. I’m also managing an Irish singer called Rioghnach Connolly, she’s amazing, that girl blows my mind! I’ve watched her and given her advice along the way; I’m quite good at keeping peoples motivation up and helping them to see where they are messing up, and where they are putting in energy where they don’t need to be putting energy in. The whole psychology of being an artist is quite self destructive and I really recognize that so I’m good at pulling someone out.

Do you have that self destructive side to you?
Yeah, there is an element of that in all of us. To be an artist you have to stare at yourself in the mirror every day and to be a true artist you have to get to a place where you actually see what’s not in the mirror, and then separate that from yourself and that’s really hard. You judge yourself very harshly and artists are especially hard on themselves. I have a lot of issues with balance, so I spend most of my time trying to achieve that balance in my life.

If there are particular issues that are bothering you, do you ever find the answers in your songs ?
Definitely! I usually find out what’s going on in my life when I write a song, I have no idea otherwise! Most of the time I don’t know what day it is!

Are you on the road a lot?
Not as much as I would like to be. I would really like to go around the whole world, that would be great…

You are quite a wondering spirit (born in the UK, brought up in Gibraltar, Kirsty grew up travelling the four corners of the globe) Do you feel like an outsider, or can you fit in anywhere?
I empathize with people, I find it easy to talk to anyone or any culture; I’m just fascinated by people. I never felt like I didn’t fit in, it was only as I got older that I thought, I don’t fit in anywhere, I’m the wrong shape for everything! And it took me a long time to work that one out.

How did you reconcile that?
By being really honest with myself. I did a course called The Artists Way. One of the tasks that you have to do is write every morning; first thing you do is write all of your thoughts, and you write out your negativity, all those thoughts that say “I’m not good enough, I’m not happy…” and at the end of that you rip up the paper and throw it away and after a few months you notice that what you write is more creative; you are writing more positive thoughts. You cease the negative voices, and those are the words that say that you don’t fit in. And through that and meditation, I just kind of found out who I was and realised, you know, I am different, and everyone is different, and that is something to be celebrated.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

I read you saying that the future of women worries you, can you explain that? What specifically concerns you?
We still have so many issues in our sexist world, we still have so many places where men are in charge of things that women should be in charge of, and that concerns me. I am most concerned by the fact that magazines and newspapers are airbrushing us out of existence, and airbrushing us into mental hospitals! I’m really worried about the next generation of girls and how they will deal with this; their idols aren’t real – they are not real human beings! They don’t have curves, they don’t exist, you can’t women who look like what they think these women look like. It’s a unreal ideal. I’m really worried about the music industry too – especially what Simon Cowell has done to it! When I go to someone’s house and there is a TV on and they have X Factor or Idol, and I go, “is this what people are watching?” It’s a mind numbing existence for people who should be out living rather than watching.

And the music industry certainly has some interesting ideas about how to market their female artists!
There are a lot of issues and struggles; it is incredibly difficult for women in the record industry; it drives me mad! No matter how good you are, you are solely competing with say, KT Tunstall, Corrine Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Imelda May; the labels always pit us up against each other and say “You have to be the new….” You are not out there and being celebrated as a good musician. If people can’t pigeonhole you, you are seen as a bit of an oddity. Had I been a man in this industry I would have been dealt with differently; I would have been celebrated for the way that I handle myself, but if you are a female, and you have opinions then you are seen as being difficult.

It must be hard to maintain your confidence, and sanity and creativity, whilst these obstacles come your way.
If you realise that creativity, well this is my perception of it; that creativity comes from creation, and that it’s all already there and you just have to become the channel and keep that as your focus and centre. Then none of that other stuff can touch you.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

There is nothing generic about Kirsty Almeida; she was not artificially created from a record labels wish-list, information pills nor manufactured during an X Factor audition. Navigating her own path, cheapest she is very much the modern Renaissance Woman: artist, experimenter and a true creative. Before meeting Kirsty to chat about her new album Pure Blue Green – a rich tapestry of blues, folk and jazzy pop – I watched video clips of her performances. Singing live, she is mesmerizing, a powerhouse! Free spirited and alive, at times she is an enigmatic chanteuse, and other times she is a ringleader to a raucous vaudeville troupe. She sings with a passion that leaves us in no doubt that her music come from an honest and heartfelt place. Her voice is tender with sparkles of underlying inquisitiveness and humour and it only takes a minutes listening to see that her life, thoughts and loves are entwined within her lyrics, revealing an existence lived to the full and one that is continuously questioned. So it comes as no surprise that our conversation becomes an all-encompassing discourse that occasionally touches on her album and then soars off in the direction of magic, art, self-development, women’s rights and the dubious ethics of the music industry….

I love how visual your shows are…..
I love the big show thing, I think that people want to be entertained; because music is so accessible, and more downloadable now, people really like going out to live shows. I like to do something thats entertaining, but I also love the little live acoustic shows, those are some of my favourite gigs to do. I’m doing a gig soon that will be just me with a guitar and a girl called Lucinda Bell on harp. I’ve had a six foot bird cage designed and built for me, and we’re going to do a series of exhibitions and art galleries where I will play sat in the cage that will be suspended from the ceiling!

There is a lot of creativity in your performance…
Truthfully I am a visual artist, so I can’t help but look at things and go “well if you just stuck a massive big flower there, and that was attached to an umbrella with a bath chain and then water came out of it…. ” (laughs) and thats just how my mind works; it’s really visual and my work is really visual, I can’t help it!

What do you see first?
When I’m writing a song, I always see colours. I see music in colours and textures. so the first thing that will happen will be that I will be playing guitar and then the colours will come together and at that point I will know that it’s right and then I just have to close my eyes and wait and then the lyrics come.

So the song arrives together?
Always!

Do the visuals come at the same time?
No, when I write, it is just about the song and being a channel of creativity. I try and let the song happen, and then afterwards when it’s on loop I get the visuals.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m inspired by a day, every day there is a million things that inspire me. I’m inspired by clothes, people, situations, conversations that I hear from other people, situations that I get into, trouble, butterflies, birds, nature, trees….. everything!

Do you paint?
Yeah, I paint a lot. But, (sighs) there is never enough time. I also run a collective called Odbod. I set it up in Manchester where there’s a very strong support network of artists, musicians and composers who work together but because you don’t normally get paid to do original music, you have to call in a lot of favours, and in the Manchester scene there are a LOT of favours, people calling each other all the time and helping each other out on each others projects, but there is no set network so there is no way of getting funding or help and I realised that a lot of the artists needed support and advice and people were coming to me for advice, so I thought if we had a collective, we can all get together and say to each other, ‘what do you need, how can I help?’

It’s a genius idea! Would you consider expanding the Odbod’s collective to London?
I would love to! It’s hard to contain it, there are so many people who want to be involved and to everyone who wants to get involved, I just say, come along, support us and we will support you. Hopefully none of the Odbods will be there in a year, they will have flown the nest and it will be time for the next lot of artists to come in. I’m also managing an Irish singer called Rioghnach Connolly, she’s amazing, that girl blows my mind! I’ve watched her and given her advice along the way; I’m quite good at keeping peoples motivation up and helping them to see where they are messing up, and where they are putting in energy where they don’t need to be putting energy in. The whole psychology of being an artist is quite self destructive and I really recognize that so I’m good at pulling someone out.

Do you have that self destructive side to you?
Yeah, there is an element of that in all of us. To be an artist you have to stare at yourself in the mirror every day and to be a true artist you have to get to a place where you actually see what’s not in the mirror, and then separate that from yourself and that’s really hard. You judge yourself very harshly and artists are especially hard on themselves. I have a lot of issues with balance, so I spend most of my time trying to achieve that balance in my life.

If there are particular issues that are bothering you, do you ever find the answers in your songs ?
Definitely! I usually find out what’s going on in my life when I write a song, I have no idea otherwise! Most of the time I don’t know what day it is!

Are you on the road a lot?
Not as much as I would like to be. I would really like to go around the whole world, that would be great…

You are quite a wondering spirit (born in the UK, brought up in Gibraltar, Kirsty grew up travelling the four corners of the globe) Do you feel like an outsider, or can you fit in anywhere?
I empathize with people, I find it easy to talk to anyone or any culture; I’m just fascinated by people. I never felt like I didn’t fit in, it was only as I got older that I thought, I don’t fit in anywhere, I’m the wrong shape for everything! And it took me a long time to work that one out.

How did you reconcile that?
By being really honest with myself. I did a course called The Artists Way. One of the tasks that you have to do is write every morning; first thing you do is write all of your thoughts, and you write out your negativity, all those thoughts that say “I’m not good enough, I’m not happy…” and at the end of that you rip up the paper and throw it away and after a few months you notice that what you write is more creative; you are writing more positive thoughts. You cease the negative voices, and those are the words that say that you don’t fit in. And through that and meditation, I just kind of found out who I was and realised, you know, I am different, and everyone is different, and that is something to be celebrated.


Photograph by Hannah Kinver Miles

I read you saying that the future of women worries you, can you explain that? What specifically concerns you?
We still have so many issues in our sexist world, we still have so many places where men are in charge of things that women should be in charge of, and that concerns me. I am most concerned by the fact that magazines and newspapers are airbrushing us out of existence, and airbrushing us into mental hospitals! I’m really worried about the next generation of girls and how they will deal with this; their idols aren’t real – they are not real human beings! They don’t have curves, they don’t exist, you can’t women who look like what they think these women look like. It’s a unreal ideal. I’m really worried about the music industry too – especially what Simon Cowell has done to it! When I go to someone’s house and there is a TV on and they have X Factor or Idol, and I go, “is this what people are watching?” It’s a mind numbing existence for people who should be out living rather than watching.

And the music industry certainly has some interesting ideas about how to market their female artists!
There are a lot of issues and struggles; it is incredibly difficult for women in the record industry; it drives me mad! No matter how good you are, you are solely competing with say, KT Tunstall, Corrine Bailey Rae, Amy Winehouse, Imelda May; the labels always pit us up against each other and say “You have to be the new….” You are not out there and being celebrated as a good musician. If people can’t pigeonhole you, you are seen as a bit of an oddity. Had I been a man in this industry I would have been dealt with differently; I would have been celebrated for the way that I handle myself, but if you are a female, and you have opinions then you are seen as being difficult.

It must be hard to maintain your confidence, and sanity and creativity, whilst these obstacles come your way.
If you realise that creativity, well this is my perception of it; that creativity comes from creation, and that it’s all already there and you just have to become the channel and keep that as your focus and centre. Then none of that other stuff can touch you.

june-chanoomidole-jon-young art of mentoring
Jon Young by June Chanpoomidole.

Next week I am away yet again, what is ed this time on the Art of Mentoring course being run for the very first time in the UK by tracker Jon Young, look founder of the Wilderness Awareness School. Jon Young was personally mentored by the American wilderness guru Tom Brown, information pills Jr. and is an expert in bird language, alongside an old friend of mine Alex Travers (known as Feathers) who will also be on the course.

For the past 25 years Jon Young has taught groups and individuals how to create a positive vision for the future through a deeper sense of community and connection to nature. To say I am excited about the opportunity to spend a week learning mentoring skills from Jon Young alongside fellow teachers, Mark Morey and Evan McGown, (a nature based poet and musician who co-authored The Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature with Jon Young) would be an understatement.

june-chanpoomidole-jon-young gerry brady
Jon Young plays the bones with Gerry Brady, by June Chanpoomidole.

I got to meet the sparkly eyed Jon Young – who like me is a big fan of barn dancing as a way of bringing people together – when he visited London a few months ago to give a talk in a darkened room at the top of a pub in north london.

The evening was an informal occasion peppered with frequent anecdotes from Jon’s Native American friend Paul Raphael, Peacemaker of the Odawa tribe, and finishing with some acapella singing accompanied on the “bones” by long lost Irish friend Gerry Brady.

june-chanpoomidole-jon-young maeve gavin
Organiser Maeve Gavin with Paul Raphael, by June Chanpoomidole.

Here is what I learnt…

Nature connection works best in a community setting.
Many of us have lost touch with animals and the earth but it’s easy to trigger subconscious feelings of connection. This is not about passing an ecology literacy test because everyone loves trees on an energetic level… but the woods can be scary so we need people with us along the way. How can we recreate these communities?

Greetings customs and rituals matter.
Greetings have been profoundly important for many eons of humanity – sometimes being so elaborate they could take days. Even though you are lucky if you get much of a greeting in New Jersey they have become more careful, sincere and authentic since 9/1, even from those you might expect to be grumpy. Everyone feels that needs to be welcomed and able to express themselves without pressure.

WillaGebbie_baggyclothes
Illustration by Willa Gebbie.

It is possible to create new rituals to suit us today.
The youth today carry the subconscious weight of their woes in over-sized clothes, but Jon has mentored both privileged and deprived children and all of them thrive when given space to express themselves. He recounts the story of a scholar from the best family and school in town, forever struggling to stay the best in his class, and thoroughly depressed as a result. After a few months of mentorship with Jon he tearfully declared that he was finally able to be himself and went on to became a mentor to the younger kids. Greeting customs can forge strong bonds and that is why the elaborate bonding rituals of gangs are so successful.

Everyone needs to feel recognised and blessed, at every age.
Young people need affirmation but so do their parents, many of whom will have missed out on it themselves as youngsters. If all generations are not cared for there are likely to be cultural gaps that can cause problems; for example a whole generation can feel threatened or alienated, and the worst outcome of this could be the sabotaging of change.

Maple Syrup as teacher.
When Paul’s family makes maple syrup they thank the trees with a special ceremony before boiling up the sap. This is a delicate operation that takes 2-3 whole days of pan-watching, for if the sap burns it will spoil, which is tantamount to violating the laws of nature. If this happens it will haunt you, but you will learn. As such it is an ideal teaching tool, especially for young men.

WillaGebbie_Paul Raphael
Paul Raphael as mushroom picker by Willa Gebbie.

Remember to leave the seeds behind when picking morel mushrooms.
Paul lives life by the seasons, and has just two short weeks to pick morel mushrooms from a special place in the woods – unfortunately it’s impossible to keep his spot secret in a small community. He carries the mushrooms home in knitted orange bags that allow the seeds to fall to the ground; that way ensuring a crop for the following year. So much ancestral knowledge has been lost that some of the kids make huge amounts of noise crashing through the wilderness. Even in Paul’s community there is much disconnection from nature, and he spends much of his time finding ways to empower the elders.

The government can learn from Hurricane Iniki, which hit Hawaii in 1992.
This huge hurricane stripped houses from their foundations and denuded vegetation, yet only six people died. It took the government nine days to get aid out to Hawaii, but instead of panic officials were met by people at the docks who did not want to fix things too quickly, because then they would have to return to work. Everyone was relaxing, taking it easy, having BBQs and helping each other. Because of interwoven cultural relations present before the storm there was a built in community resilience that meant the people responded collectively as one living organism, instead of separate units. Here is a lesson in how to cope during disasters.

Jon was taught to play the bones twenty years ago when he last met Gerry (then working as a labourer on the East Coast), and has since taught Paul how to play the bones too. Here’s a video of the three of them singing together. Cross generational and cultural mentoring in action!

YouTube Preview Image

You can read another account of the night here. I am looking forward to learning so much more next week. See you on the other side.
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp

Okay, side effects so as a few of you are probably aware, online this year I volunteered to put together and run the Tripod Stage for Climate Camp. Although I have pulled together bands to perform at launch parties for various editions of Amelia’s Magazine and I found the bands to perform for us at Glastonbury in 2009, recipe I have never stage managed a full event like this before. But hey! I like a challenge, and after the success of First Aid Kit and Six Day Riot last year I felt I had to give it a shot… or we might have become a music free zone… at a music festival…

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp outreach
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp animal outreach
Outreach in animal masks.
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp the kitchen area
The kitchen area.

Although it didn’t take long to contact music PRs and pull the bands together I may not quite have anticipated just how much work all this would be on the ground. If you’re hoping to read a review of the main stage highlights at Glastonbury 2010 then go look elsewhere because I didn’t leave the Climate Camp field (apart from to visit the local long-drops) until 9 or 10pm every day. Not even to wiggle up the road one hundred metres to the Green Fields. This was hardcore devotion to the cause.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp tripods

Climate Camp is run along non-hierarchical principles, but events like Glastonbury really highlight how hard it is to run along such lines without proper working groups. Although I am sure that (most) people were there with the best of intentions, festivals just offer too many other distractions – and this, along with a fairly disorganised anarchistic approach, meant that a few very committed and adept people worked far harder than most others. I certainly hadn’t considered that I would be glued to the camp for 12 hour stretches every day, but certainly harder still was dealing with the weight of responsibility in making the music a success, both for us and for the performers who so kindly agreed to come and play the Tripod Stage.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp kitchen
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp naked lady
Classic Glastonbury – a naked lady takes a look at our exhibition.

Unfortunately I was the only person who really felt this responsibility, and there were times where I found myself onsite with just a few other Climate Campers who were otherwise engaged (making tasty food, manning the solar sound system), desperately trying to get the band sorted whilst also standing on the entrance inviting people to come in and watch them. Let me tell you, being in two places at once is a trick that I have yet to perfect.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp fundraising
Fundraising.
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp morning meeting
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp morning meeting
Morning meetings.
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp pedal powered smoothies
Pedal powered smoothies.

This year the Dragon Field was given over to crew camping for the first time, and our little corner was the only part of it that hosted anything of interest to the punters. There are perks to being totally off the radar – it’s nice to feel that we’re a bit separate, a bit renegade, and that people might chance upon us as a lovely surprise… but it also makes it extremely hard to get people to come and see us when there is so much else to see and we aren’t even listed in the programme.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp megaphone
Standing on the Craft Field junction with a megaphone.
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp Lulu and the Lampshades
The Tripod Stage with Lulu and the Lampshades.

We were super busy all through Thursday, when the main stages have yet to hit their stride and people are wandering around, taking it all in. But other than that there didn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to the times when we were busy or not – we were up against such random variables as the weather (so much sunshine can be extremely enervating), the acts on other stages, the football (what a waste of time that was), whether anyone had heard of the band we were hosting, and whether anyone bothered to stand on the intersection up in the Craft Field or outside our entrance to haul people in. It was a pretty tricky one.

Lesley Barnes Climate Camp design
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp screenprinting
Screenprinting one of the lovely designs made by Lesley Barnes.

I won’t pretend I found it easy; before the festival I created stickers for this year’s action against RBS in collaboration with the wonderful Lesley Barnes and finalised the line up for an accompanying flyer. Before I even got to Glastonbury I had already spent two weeks of my time sorting stuff out for Climate Camp and not concentrating 100% on Amelia’s Magazine. Then over the course of the festival I did 6 gigs with my barndancing band Green Kite Midnight, took huge amounts of photos to document everything, twittered about all the bands playing on our stage and ran a screenprinting workshop every morning at just about the same time I needed to okay the day’s line up of bands. I felt totally overwhelmed. I think we need to collectively clarify what we most want to achieve at Glastonbury and other festivals, and in what way music is important to our aims… although I personally think we should provide some kind of entertainment to draw people in (and especially when a popular entertainer then goes on to endorse our actions), I can easily see how others might think it’s a distraction.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp Green Kite Midnight Ceilidh
Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp Green Kite Midnight Ceilidh
Green Kite Midnight Ceilidh

Having said all of this, the calibre of musicians that we hosted on the Tripod Stage definitely made my part in organising it massively worthwhile. Although I saw nothing of the rest of the festival (until night fell), I did get to see some of the best new bands perform especially for us. And of course the weather was out of this world. Would I do it again? Well, if anyone would like me to curate a solar powered Amelia’s Magazine stage at a festival next year (and would be willing to provide me with the right resources to ensure I don’t go mad in the process) do get in touch. For Climate Camp again? Not unless I felt massively reassured that we had proper working groups in place beforehand and a presence on the main programme.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp fundraising

But enough of my quibbles: coming up, my review of the Tripod Stage at Glastonbury – act by act – accompanied by fab illustrations of course.

Glastonbury 2010 Climate Camp RBS

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3 Responses to “Climate Camp Tripod Stage at Glastonbury 2010: How did it all go?”

  1. Abi says:

    Sounds exhausting, but well worth it! The site looked fantastic and was a total joy to illustrate; just wish I could have come to see it!

  2. Katie says:

    Wow, what an honest and insightful entry. It’s interesting to see a review from someone behind the scenes, it’s always intriguing to know what’s going on.

    Exploring the Green Fields and all the other non-mainstream fields at Glasto, I felt there was so much to see that I couldn’t really stop anywhere longer than a few seconds in case I didn’t get to see everything!

    Your stage sounds awesome however and I wish I’d had the chance to read about it before the festival! x

  3. Amelia says:

    Thankyou Abi – we had great bands! so excited by all the new talent that I discovered. And thankyou Kelly for your comment too… working at Glastonbury can be anything from a total piece of piss (my old group Cutashine got 10 tickets for 2 short gigs over the weekend) to a real schlep, as it was for me this year…. but it was all in a good cause so mustn’t grumble, just move forward and learn for next time!

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