Monday, 19 July 2010

The Masked Ball in the Faraway Forest - Latitude

This festival, they say, is much more relaxed and civilised than Glastonbury & Co. and we agree, however, on the night of the 17th, Saturday, I discovered the other side of Latitude. After the main stages close down everybody is too high on sun and music to go to sleep, perhaps those who equipped themselves with blow up mattresses or even rented one of those amazing bungalows the prospect of an early night might have seemed appealing, but for the majority of us sleeping on the cold, hard ground, with insects and whiffs of faraway portaloos coming in waves through the plastic of our tents, the night was to be spent celebrating. Night time entertainment was divided in two main areas, 'In the Woods' and 'Faraway Forest'. While on the first night we only ventured 'In the Woods', where two stages pumped electro-tech-house-progressive-underground beats and ravers jumped from trees on other ravers busy in deep philosophical conversations, on Saturday we ventured into the 'Faraway Forest', which being rather far away we had previously missed, and into the masked ball.

The mood, in the 'Faraway Forest' is suddenly altered, some trees are covered in luminescent, Avatar-like, strings and ribbons; others are wrapped in pieces of paper, each carrying a different message; some are there to protect the faeries' cruising grounds, where a pair of siamese twin zebras abduct you and take you to cruising spirits who want nothing more than giving you a good time. At every corner, surreal happenings take place on makeshift stages and theatres: a wasted teenager turns out to be a hoola prodigy, shooting her shoes into the distance and whizzing her 7 hoops past a bottle of vodka and discarded items of clothing; a two headed mannequin woman dances the struggle of her two identities away while a gang of horror paramedics tend to random passers-by with bandages and electric charges. Two Roving Unicorns roam the forest calmly as puppeteers animate the tragi/romantic story of Panfilo and Perpetua (courtesy of the woodenfingers theatre), and people cheer to the queer DUCKIE vaudeville and variety acts, including brilliant stripping magician Ursula Martinez, in the warmth of the cabaret tent. Quite like a dream, and better than any cinematic reconstruction of follies, the Faraway Forest masked ball set the night alight. After the shows, people kept dancing - and really engaging with each other! - until closure at 3AM, and even then, not ready for sleep, retired to the campsites to dance some more around bonfires.

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