Indigenous Amazon singers and sacred cacao … the UK pageant that’s wild differently | Festivals

On a stage in a yurt within the Berkshire countryside, the chief of the Huni Kuin tribe from the Brazilian Amazon is speaking about indigenous tradition.

In 2000, Ninawa Pai Da Mata determined to maneuver his village deeper into the jungle, in Acre state, in an try to guard and revive conventional life.

“We needed to transfer to flee many issues the westerners introduced – alcohol, overseas music – and to embrace our personal tradition and spirituality once more, to hearken to the knowledge of nature,” he says.

Campfire session on the pageant

In the present day, his village, Nuovo Futura (New Future) is prospering – however the battle to avoid wasting native lands and tradition continues. Ninawa is right here, he says, to speak about the necessity to defend nature and indigenous methods of life and share his individuals’s traditions.

It’s a becoming discuss at Medication, a brand new pageant held on the Wasing property exterior Studying final month, the place income go to assist indigenous tribes. Whereas Medication will not be probably the most engaging title for a pageant, the concept is it offers “drugs” for attenders within the type of a deep dive into nature, neighborhood, wellbeing and music – and provides a platform for cultural trade.

“Everybody’s been by so much,” says Josh Dugdale, who based the pageant with pal Ben Christie. “We actually needed to go forward. Folks want this – being exterior, connecting, having enjoyable however in a gentler manner than some festivals.”

Guests at the Medicine festival near Berkshire, UK, take part in a storytelling and song session around a fire circle, during the daytime.
The pageant options yoga and breathwork, a fireplace circle for storytelling and tune, and a lake for swimming

After the catastrophe of 2020, Covid-19 hit festivals laborious in 2021 as soon as once more, with greater than 50% of occasions for greater than 5,000 cancelled, based on the Affiliation of Unbiased Festivals (AIF). Boomtown and BST Hyde Park had been amongst casualties, whereas others pivoted – Glastonbury turning into a campsite and Shambala operating smaller weekends.

Medication, although, appears to have tapped into an rising demand for extra therapeutic kinds of occasion – the place the emphasis isn’t on hedonism (it’s alcohol-free) however “going wild” differently. Into the Wild, now in its eighth 12 months, ran a smaller pageant than standard in Sussex, and launched small month-to-month Wild Weekends, all with a concentrate on nature connection. A bigger eco-festival specializing in supporting biodiversity and rewilding is deliberate for subsequent 12 months, with income funding environmental initiatives. Different holistic festivals, similar to Steadiness (going forward in London on 12-14 November) and Wellnergy, a brand new launch in Oxfordshire postponed till subsequent 12 months, concentrate on wellbeing and health actions.

“There’s a rising curiosity in different occasions that aren’t only a huge rave and do one thing optimistic for individuals and the planet – I believe Covid has additionally impacted on what individuals need,” says Dugdale.

Medication’s setting on the Wasing property, a working natural farm that’s been in the identical household for seven generations, provides a lake for swimming and a walled backyard, the place therapies, from therapeutic massage to acupuncture, can be found. There’s a number of yoga and breathwork, a fireplace circle for storytelling and tune – reached through a woodland observe – and a vibrant household space.

Band performs on a stage, at night, in front of an audience, illuminated by small lanterns, at the Medicine festival in Berkshire, UK, August 2021.
‘It’s an alcohol-free affair (the bar serves botanical cocktails and beers) however there’s no scarcity of the standard pageant escapism.’

I wander across the woodland and be a part of a forest bathing session that ends underneath an historical yew tree. I’m drawn steadily to the Liminal Lake tent, the place highlights embrace Bruce Parry speaking about his tribal travels and dwelling in a neighborhood, the Seed Sistas on therapeutic herbs, and environmental activist Satish Kumar on the significance of soil well being.

“With out sounding too earnest, the pageant asks ‘how we could be the medication’ in these occasions of environmental and social chaos,” says Dugdale. “It’s a cross-cultural trade: we share insights of ancestral knowledge from right here and overseas, alongside modern-day options – issues we are able to all do to assist.”

And, whereas it’s an alcohol-free affair (the bar serves botanical cocktails and beers) there’s no scarcity of the standard pageant escapism. Dugdale used to run the trance pageant Glade right here – and there’s loads of partying till the early hours. Soul Mate velocity courting is without doubt one of the funniest pageant classes I’ve been to.

Singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey.
Singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey. {Photograph}: Jethro Tanner

Music highlights on the primary stage, with its woodland decor, vary from Mercury-prize nominated Nick Mulvey and people singer Sam Lee to dub/electronica units by DJ Gaudi. One of many standout moments is a conventional cacao ceremony (a sacred drink for South American tribes) for 500 individuals, adopted by the Huni Kuin taking to the stage with conventional songs from the jungle.

Perhaps it’s the enjoyment of with the ability to go to an occasion like this after the pandemic chaos, however the environment is one in every of celebration.

“It’s like a European pageant,” I hear a girl saying to her pal as I pack up my tent. “Everybody’s dancing all evening and so pleasant, however nobody’s wasted!”

After three days of partying in a subject, I go away blissful – stimulated by talks and workshops and nourished by the wild setting and dancing underneath the celebs – and really feel higher than after I arrived: one thing I’ve not been capable of say in all my festival-going years.

Medication will happen from 18-21 August 2022. Tickets are on sale now, medicinefestival.com

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