The Bardic Fire
The Bardic Fire has been on an incredible journey since 2014. Starting at Sunrise Celebration, we conspired with Astrologers and Bards to create a nurturing hearth fire. In 2015 when the festival was cancelled at the last minute due to unreasonable sound restrictions at the Chepstow site, Boomtown Fair offered to host Sunrise Celebration in Whistler’s Green. It was a wonderful gathering in the August sun, high on the hilltop with all the best of Sunrise.
Sadly, Sunbird of Earth-Heart fame and one of the founders of Sunrise Celebration died in a tragic accident that summer. Instead of welcoming him at Boomtown, we held a heartfelt gathering to honour his life. The Bardic Fire was strong all weekend, crackling with his memory. Those who knew Sunbird came to share their songs and stories. A fitting farewell as hundreds of people gathered to share their respects.
Remembering Our Beloved
This tribal prayer and poem began as a remembrance of Sunbird. As more friends passed away in 2016, the poem grew to include memories of all those faces we once knew. I had the chance to read it in San Francisco, in honour of all our beloved who have left this earthly existence.
The Bardic Fire went on to inspire all who came to sit by it, and the following year many folk came looking for us. We held a welcoming space, comprising not only of poetry, story and song, but also incredible transformation. It is a warm welcoming place and as such, at a large festival involves ‘soft welfare’ as we take care of people who are lost or overwhelmed by the intensity of the festival.
The Fires of Inspiration continued to burn strong, and all through the festival people came and shared their stories and poems, many for the first time. With the intention of drawing in people who wanted to perform or speak, the fire continued to attract people from all across the site. We began to interact more solidly with the Boomtown story and on our third year, dressed as bards and wizards, we robbed the Boomtown bank. The fourth year involved tree pirates and we organised a sea shanty flashmob.
The hot summer of 2018 and our placement in the woods meant that we could not have a Bardic Fire so, as a concession, we gathered around a huge Cauldron of Inspiration and invited passers by to join us in making a story potion.
The Tale of Taliesin
Taliesin, the famous Bard, on his journey of transformation, reminds us that all is not what it seems.
My own personal journey with the Bardic Fire has gone way beyond anything I expected. Since I won the Glastonbury Poetry Slam in 2019, I will be performing on the Poetry and Words stage in 2020 for the 50th Anniversary of Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts. Also, I have a chance to hold the Bardic Fire focus at the Kings Meadow in the Green Fields.
People keep asking me when I am going to hold a Bardic Fire here in Glastonbury. I am currently applying for arts funding for a local project. In the future, we would love to take it to other areas in the UK. The hearth fire has always been a place to share stories, music, poems and inspiration. So many communities are missing this valuable resource. The Bardic Fire seeks to re-kindle this tradition, providing a place to make connections, be inspired and share our creative work with others.
I Want to Move to Glastonbury
Would you want to move to this curious little town in Somerset?
Bardic Fire and Inspiration
If you want to see poems I have written and performed over the years, head over to Wizard News.