Indigenous Amazon singers and sacred cacao … the UK festival that’s wild in a different way

9 months ago 139

On a signifier successful a yurt successful the Berkshire countryside, the person of the Huni Kuin people from the Brazilian Amazon is talking astir indigenous culture.

In 2000, Ninawa Pai Da Mata decided to determination his colony deeper into the jungle, successful Acre state, successful an effort to support and revive accepted life.

“We had to determination to flight galore things the westerners brought – alcohol, overseas euphony – and to clasp our ain civilization and spirituality again, to perceive to the contented of nature,” helium says.

Campfire league   astatine  the Medicine festival successful  Berkshire, UK.
Campfire league astatine the festival. Photograph: Jethro Tanner

Today, his village, Nuovo Futura (New Future) is thriving – but the battle to prevention autochthonal lands and civilization continues. Ninawa is here, helium says, to speech astir the request to support quality and indigenous ways of beingness and stock his people’s traditions.

It’s a fitting speech astatine Medicine, a caller festival held connected the Wasing property extracurricular Reading past month, wherever profits spell to enactment indigenous tribes. While Medicine whitethorn not beryllium the astir enticing sanction for a festival, the thought is it provides “medicine” for attenders successful the signifier of a heavy dive into nature, community, wellbeing and euphony – and offers a level for taste exchange.

“Everyone’s been done specified a lot,” says Josh Dugdale, who founded the festival with person Ben Christie. “We truly wanted to spell ahead. People request this – being outside, connecting, having amusive but successful a gentler mode than immoderate festivals.”

Guests astatine  the Medicine festival adjacent   Berkshire, UK, instrumentality     portion  successful  a storytelling and opus  league   astir   a occurrence  circle, during the daytime.
The festival features yoga and breathwork, a occurrence ellipse for storytelling and song, and a water for swimming. Photograph: Samuel George

After the catastrophe of 2020, Covid-19 deed festivals hard successful 2021 erstwhile again, with much than 50% of events for much than 5,000 cancelled, according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF). Boomtown and BST Hyde Park were among casualties, portion others pivoted – Glastonbury becoming a campsite and Shambala moving smaller weekends.

Medicine, though, seems to person tapped into an expanding request for much healing types of lawsuit – wherever the accent isn’t connected hedonism (it’s alcohol-free) but “going wild” successful a antithetic way. Into the Wild, present successful its eighth year, ran a smaller festival than accustomed successful Sussex, and introduced tiny monthly Wild Weekends, each with a absorption connected quality connection. A larger eco-festival focusing connected supporting biodiversity and rewilding is planned for adjacent year, with profits backing biology projects. Other holistic festivals, specified arsenic Balance (going up successful London connected 12-14 November) and Wellnergy, a caller motorboat successful Oxfordshire postponed until adjacent year, absorption connected wellbeing and fittingness activities.

“There’s a increasing involvement successful alternate events that aren’t conscionable a large rave and bash thing affirmative for radical and the satellite – I deliberation Covid has besides impacted connected what radical want,” says Dugdale.

Medicine’s mounting connected the Wasing estate, a moving integrated workplace that’s been successful the aforesaid household for 7 generations, offers a water for swimming and a walled garden, wherever treatments, from massage to acupuncture, are available. There’s tons of yoga and breathwork, a occurrence ellipse for storytelling and opus – reached via a woodland way – and a colourful household area.

Band performs connected  a stage, astatine  night, successful  beforehand   of an audience, illuminated by tiny  lanterns, astatine  the Medicine festival successful  Berkshire, UK, August 2021.
‘It’s an alcohol-free matter (the barroom serves botanical cocktails and beers) but there’s nary shortage of the accustomed festival escapism.’ Photograph: Jethro Tanner

I rotation astir the woodland and articulation a wood bathing league that ends nether an past yew tree. I’m drawn often to the Liminal Lake tent, wherever highlights see Bruce Parry talking astir his tribal travels and surviving successful a community, the Seed Sistas connected healing herbs, and biology activistic Satish Kumar connected the value of ungraded health.

“Without sounding excessively earnest, the festival asks ‘how we tin beryllium the medicine’ successful these times of biology and societal chaos,” says Dugdale. “It’s a cross-cultural exchange: we stock insights of ancestral contented from present and abroad, alongside modern time solutions – things we tin each bash to help.”

And, portion it’s an alcohol-free matter (the barroom serves botanical cocktails and beers) there’s nary shortage of the accustomed festival escapism. Dugdale utilized to tally the trance festival Glade present – and there’s plentifulness of partying until the aboriginal hours. Soul Mate velocity dating is 1 of the funniest festival sessions I’ve been to.

Singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey.
Singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey. Photograph: Samuel George


Music highlights connected the main stage, with its woodland decor, scope from Mercury-prize nominated Nick Mulvey and people vocalist Sam Lee to dub/electronica sets by DJ Gaudi. One of the standout moments is simply a accepted cacao ceremonial (a ineffable portion for South American tribes) for 500 people, followed by the Huni Kuin taking to the signifier with accepted songs from the jungle.

Maybe it’s the joyousness of being capable to spell to an lawsuit similar this aft the pandemic chaos, but the ambiance is 1 of celebration.

“It’s similar a European festival,” I perceive a pistillate saying to her person arsenic I battalion up my tent. “Everyone’s dancing each nighttime and truthful friendly, but nary one’s wasted!”

After 3 days of partying successful a field, I permission blessed – stimulated by talks and workshops and nourished by the chaotic mounting and dancing nether the stars – and consciousness amended than erstwhile I arrived: thing I’ve not been capable to accidental successful each my festival-going years.

Medicine volition instrumentality spot from 18-21 August 2022. Tickets are connected merchantability now, medicinefestival.com