So I’m taking a little break today: I’m off to Cornwall again. This time for the Port Eliot Festival, a (I have been told) magical and exciting arts festival in the Repton-landscaped grounds of Port Eliot itself, the Sir John Soane-remodelled home of the Earls of St Germans.
I’m meeting one of my closest friends from New York, the lovely Rachel, who has also now moved back to London, under the departures board at London Paddington at 0845hrs tomorrow morning for the 4hour train journey to the South West.
(I do realise that in American & in Australian terms, a distance like that is like popping out to the shops, but in English terms that’s driving to the other end of the country. There be dragons etc etc.)
Much to our joy, we are sleeping in a tipi (from Hearthworks), which comes complete with a futon, duvet and bedlinen. To someone who has always slept in leaky, cold tents, wrapped in scrotty blankets, at festivals, this represents a level of quite extraordinary luxury.
It feels quite odd to me that I have never covered a UK festival for LLG, as they were my lifeblood before I moved to America, and I feel rather sad that I have just worked out that the last one I attended must have been the Big Chill in the summer of 2005 with Miss P, where we drank Red Stripe in the sun, and danced to Norman Jay and his Good Times Sound System.
Altho I’ll miss my erstwhile partner in crime, I’ve been astonished at how many of my friends are going this year, so prepare to be bombarded on the blog after I get home with all sorts of photos and stories. And of course I’ll be Tweeting & Instagramming away….
There are so many exciting things going on at Port Eliot, I can’t even begin to list them all. Thre will be music & cabaret & cooking demos & readings & makeup & fashion-y things & treasure hunts & wild swimming and so so much more.
But for a taster, Dominic West will be interviewing eminent Sanskrit scholar and paragliding pioneer Sir Jim Mallinson about his forthcoming book Rogue Yogis and the film they are making together at the Kumbh Mela festival next year; Alex Fury tells me he has co-curated a Fashion Dolls Teaparty, and will be interviewing Mary Katrantzou; Pamflet are hosting an all day literary salon on the subject of the Great British Party; Anthropologie have designed a tent and, just to really cap it for me, Russell Norman of this blog’s favourite London restaurant Polpo, will be bringing some of his signature cocktails, along with his distinctive Venetian food to his demo.
I’m thrilled to be going as a guest of the St Austell Brewery, who are one of the sponsors of the festival. They are exactly the kind of local, thriving company I like to write about on here: Founded in 1851, it’s one of the oldest businesses in Cornwall. Still family owned, today they are one of Cornwall’s largest private companies with 1,000 employees, 169 pubs and an annual turnover of over £90m.
Photo via the Port Eliot Festival website.