Monday, 22 August 2011

Dark Mountain Festival

I've just returned from a truly inspiring weekend with Matt at the Uncivilisation 2011 / Dark Mountain Festival. I had very little idea what to expect from it, but I've come away buzzing!

There were many brilliant speakers and events over the course of three days. My favourites included music by the excellent
Marmaduke Dando, atmospheric storytelling around the campfire by Tom Hirons and Rima Staines, an enlightening and thoroughly entertaining session on home brewing by Andy Hamilton (with free samples!), and a foraging ramble with Fergus Drennan, whose knowledge is extensive and whose enthusiasm is contagious!

Yesterday morning as the festival drew to a close we learned more about the Dark Mountain project by listening to a discussion about its motivations and future direction. This was followed by a very moving report on the situation in West Papua, where native tribes are being persecuted and their sacred rainforest is being destroyed, ultimately because of OUR greed. Many of the audience were moved to tears. Please have a look at the link: Free West Papua

The weekend was very thought-provoking. I feel guiltier than ever about my materialistic lifestyle and I know I must do more to change the things I hate (like the destruction of our beautiful planet) and also to promote the things I believe in. I feel really motivated by conversations Matt and I had with some inspiring and genuinely lovely people.

Matt bought me a framed print by Rima, which is also the cover of the latest Dark Mountain book, and quite a fitting souvenir. I took a few photos – the best are just tiny details of the venue (the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire) and some other little things I noticed which may or may not be relevant...

There are a couple more on Flickr...


  1. Sounds brilliant! I love the idea of a home brewing session with Andy Hamilton AND someone called Fergus! :-)

  2. Sounds great! Glad you both enjoyed yourselves :) x

  3. Feel guilt about those things that are within your control. Guilt is not a good reason for trying to do something. Feeling you can make a difference is. Trying to save the world while abandoning those nearest and theoreticaly dearest is probably more reason for feeling guilt and probably rife amongst those too busy trying to save the world.
    I feel no guilt as I have done my part for the week. My parents dog will be feasting on pork belly that my mother had cast out in preparation for replacing a faulty freezer. Will the dog be grateful ? Naaah he will greet me with open jaws at maximum volume as usual before making unreasonable demands with a ball.
    Perhaps you could try to be a bit more informed about the world as a start as I was aware of the situation in Papua ages ago (likewise East Timor before it became cause of the month)

    P.S Andy Hamilton, was expecting someone shorter.

  4. Ian, the guilt is my conscience telling me something and there's nothing wrong with listening to it.