It already seems like a lifetime ago that I joined the faerie folk of the Faraway Forest at Latitude Festival. Then again, entering fairyland is subject to different time laws so there’s every chance it really was.
We arrived on Wednesday night and set up camp with the faerie folk, enjoying their twinkling lights, which included some that were magically powered by the sun, as darkness fell.
We camped underneath an ancient tree that left us in no doubt as to the importance of ancient trees to insect diversity – the insects were as colourful and diverse as the faerie folk and performers.
However, they respected our space and we respected theirs, so they were wonderful colourful companions for the weekend. We also saw escaped fairy wings of all colours, though they were mostly too fast to capture.
After enjoying the delights of Latitude on Thursday and Friday, we headed to the Tree of Life in the Faraway Forest on Saturday lunchtime, and met the humans (and other faerie folk), to share the magic of the forest with them, and grow nature love.
Wood Elf, Prickles Nettlethorn, shared his knowledge of the forest, and shared the sad news that the Tree of Life was under the weather thanks to a moth. However, it’s luckily not terminal.
Fairy Daisy and Prickles asked the humans to wish it ‘get well soon’ with some tree hugging. The humans were impressively heartfelt and the faerie folk are hopeful it will help the tree.
Fairy Clover modelled her wings, which Fairy Daisy had made for her from a cardboard box.
Both fairies were excited to discover pizza boxes galore on site as these also make a great base for fairy wings (contrary to popular belief, fairy wings don’t last forever, and as fairies age they may need to replace thinning wings with a home-made replacement.)
Fairy Clover shared rainbow magic with the humans, and grew the love by handing out Magic Dust (kindly provided by The Crop Club as fairyland stocks weren’t enough to give to the Latitude crowds).
The elves and fairies also gave out magical creations made from human rubbish, and bird seeds so the humans could show love to birds as well as butterflies and bees.
The faerie folk learned that human children love climbing trees – though the Tree of Life is old so the small humans had to be reminded that sadly, not all trees are well enough to be climbed. It was perhaps the biggest challenge for the faerie folk as the spirit of tree elf was clearly high in the children.
Prickles was ably assisted in this mission by Hops Burdock – a tree elf who could empathise with the small ones’ desire to climb trees.
After sharing their woodland wisdom, the faerie folk headed back to camp.
Prickles had a well-deserved rest, changing into human clothes ‘to see what the fuss was all about’.
He soon returned to elf clothes, deeming them more practical as human clothes had nowhere to store his goblet.
The Faerie Folk showed me their usual home in an old tree stump. I was impressed by how many rooms it had.
I also loved their pet – a friendly and rather magical baby dragon.
As the sun set, and then rose, we toasted the day with fairy fizz and looked forward to Sunday’s session.
We were excited when the Arbonauts serenaded us with birdsong in a magical sound installation upon our arrival at the Tree of Life.
After revelling in beautiful music, we continued growing the love, distributing enough magic dust to plant over 60,000 wildflowers, and telling tales of shrinking trees and the wood wide web.
We were pleased to see other faerie folk at the Tree of Life.
We told people about #LoveNotLitter: a simple way to grow the love. Just litter pick then craft LOVE with natural finds to encourage people to love the world rather than littering it with rubbish.
We’d love to see your photos if you do this: share them with @groweatgift using #LoveNotLitter and we’ll share your art.
And then, it was time to return to camp, to watch the fire and see the stories of the flames unfold – in this case, the story of the griffin.
All too soon, It was time to leave the fairyland of Latitude behind. We hope we grew the love – and that the humans who took magic dust will use it to grow the love even further; and spread #LoveNotLitter wherever they go.
The faerie folk of the Faraway Forest had a wonderful time, and will be saving their magic dust in the hope that they will be able to grow to human size again for Latitude next year. It was much more fun than avoiding getting trampled by the humans – and they have a lot more love to spread.