We've always wanted to play a multi-day outdoor festival and jumped at the opportunity when we were invited to perform at the White Horse Camps Lammas Festival by Liz (Ella's family friend - pictured below). The 10-day festival was located in Carmarthenshire, a beautiful county in South West Wales, and was organised and attended by members of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids (OBOD) community. We spent a lovely weekend learning about Druidry and had a great time performing.
Us & Liz
The small gathering took place nestled within a beautiful valley with a view to rolling hills. The field was part of an 80-acre organic farm, called Pengraig Farm. The area was very rural and off the beaten track. It's fair to say it was miles away from what we’re used to (literally and metaphorically!).
The rolling hills of South Wales
Lammas is an old English festival celebrating the harvest. Today, it is celebrated by a number of communities, including druids. It was an interesting experience for us to delve into this small community, whose main philosophy is based on empathy for nature and the natural world, believing it is sacred and should not be harmed. Druidism is free of dogma, and does not follow any written set of beliefs or practices.
We took part in many activities and rituals, including the dance of life (a set of movements accompanied by singing that was performed around a fire each morning), beating the bounds (where you play percussive instruments around the campsite, making noise to mark out the sacred space of the camp). A number of activities took part on site; we took part in Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art which focuses on defence and not causing harm to the attacker, as well as attending an educational workshop on trees. We also enjoyed exploring the quaint local villages and rural surroundings.
The local village, Newcastle-Emlyn
We performed an hours set on Saturday evening, in the yurt, heated by a wood-burning stove. It was our first experience of playing in a yurt and it had a very cosy, intimate feel. The audience were very kind,attentive and appreciative and we were received with many kind comments at the end.
Us playing in the yurt, accompanied by drummer Kieran
In all, we learnt a lot about Druidry and the different ways it is practised, be it engaging in rituals and/or learning to live off the land. Their sense of spirituality was refreshing and inspired spirituality in ourselves.
To the people we met at the festival, thank you for being so welcoming and teaching us about Druidry, as well as sharing your skills with us. We hope to see you again.
For more information please visit www.whitehorsecamps.co.uk