Monday, 20 July 2015

We've Got The Stories

One sultry summer evening while the light still blazed through the clear blue skies and the scent of meadow grass filled the air, I headed into the deepest depths of the beautiful Kentish countryside for a wonderful evening in an old cow shed.
Not just any cow shed though.  This is the new home of Wise Words, and I was there for the launch of their kickstarter campaign for a new yurt for the festival.
It sounds so simplistic when you put it like that - a new yurt, but the reality is that a new yurt will enable Wise Words to grow, develop and continue to enrich the lives of people in Canterbury and Kent through the celebration of the written and spoken word.  It will ensure that everyone has the stories, shares the stories and creates new stories.  It will bring people and communities together who will create new concepts, new ideas and new philosophies.
It will allow for writing retreats, slam poetry, live music, literature, theatre, debate,  discussion and exploration.  It will bring people to nature, sleeping under the stars, huddled in blankets and at peace with the world around them, away from the hustle and bustle and stress of today's modern world.  A place to unplug, to grow and to challenge.  A place to rewrite your own story surrounded with the lyrical backdrop of birdsong and humming bees deep within the orchards that the garden of England is so famed for.  A place where you can dare to dream
The kickstarter launch party was a chance for Wise Words to showcase what it was all about.  There was poetry and music, theatrical food and one of a kind cocktails, all in the cowshed with the book birds floating gracefully over your head and jam jars tied with fresh flowers and candles glowing in all the nooks and crannies, surrounded by the whimsy that the Wise Words Festival has become renowned for.
The first thing to catch my eye were the Gastro Guys and their giant, bronze liquid nitrogen tube and slightly mad scientist look in their eyes as they played havoc with people's tastebuds. 
Gastro Guys play with food the way I used to play with flowers in the back garden trying to create perfume.  Only their results are rather more successful.  I was treated to Mango Bubbles, little morsels of tropical explosions created using a techniques of reverse spherisfication.  In layman's terms that means that these genius' can take any liquid and wrap it inside itself! Their mango bubble with edible flowers is a fantastic combination that explodes with flavour in your mouth
Then there are the Nitrogen Meringues, poached at minus 196C with the subtle flavours of lemon, beetroot, apple and blackberry which melt on the tongue, leaving you you exhaling a vapour trail and releasing your true inner dragon and best Smaug impersonation!

Curiosity temporarily sated, I went in search of a more liquid form of refreshment, and found it with Wide Eyed Theatre's cocktail bar, run by the amazingly talented Paul Oliver and Latham Dent, previously responsible for the cocktails in one of my favourite bars, Bramleys (no wonder I love their creations!)  In honour of the occassion, Wide Eyed Theatre (who are one of the three partners in the Yurt kickstarter campaign) had created some original cocktails to celebrate, which they were handing out in return for a small donation to the fund. 
First up was The Gin Hedge, a cardinal concoction of gin, elderflower, cassis and berries all shaken over ice.  It was everything I loved served with a straw. 
Next was the Herby Honey, a sultry blend of lavender honey, vodka and drambuie served tall over ice with mint.  Not something I would choose to be honest, much preferring my berry and gin mix.  If experimentation with your cocktails was not something you were in the mood for, you could choose the classic perfection of a G&T.
Drink in hand, I settled on the cushion covered stools by the upturned cable spools that served as tables whilst others drifted onto rug covered pallets in front of the handcrafted stage to listen to Emrys Plant and Luke Jackson perform their specially crafted tribute to the kickstarter, a haunting mix of poetry and music.
Luke then took the stage, performing roots and folk classics.  A young and rising Kentish star, his vocals provided the perfect husky counterpoint to heat of the evening. So it wore on, to the soundtrack of the guitar and the hum of conversation against the backdrop of the rolling fields and setting sun low and gold in the dusky sky.
This was an evening of enchantment, filled with creativity and hope for a future that is filled with stories. 
If you would like to donate to the Kickstarter campaign to help Wise Words realise their dream of owning their own yurt, you can do so here