We have decided to give woodstock a miss this year and go to LUFstock instead, our very own festival, three days of peace, music, sport and dance. We pitch up on Friday amidst music and kids playing football, frisbee, and tennis. As the evening wears on we are treated to one of natures art shows, the sun is descending amidst red rusty purples and gives the campsite glowing features. We drink cuppas, play badminton and laugh while waiting for Paul Tomkinson to show himself, he is biking it from the train station and has got lost. Our campsite neighbours have brought an array of musical instruments, bongo drums, a didgeridoo and finally the guitar comes out with music to bring in the night. Paul gets to us at nine thirty, a bit bedraggled and sweaty but in one piece.
LUF stands for Lancashire Users Forum, its a registered charity, a grassroots organisation which is service user led. They have social enterprises, photography, art and catering. They have funded a netball team, football team, choir, boat, environmental projects and a recovery hub. Everyone has come together to connect, to interact and share a passion for recovery, a celebration. This is the third year running that people have gathered here and each year it grows bigger.
Saturday morning and the camp starts stirring, i wake up to our neighbour crowing for hot water for a cuppa, everyone is so friendly and we have our share of visitors to our camp. I get showered and then off to the next field with my groundsheet as a yoga mat, the sun is bright, warming me as i salute it. Andy arrives and practices tai chi by the side of me, a lovely start to the morning. Meanwhile in the next field Fleetwood Billy has been toiling, organising and cooking breakfast, sausage butties all around. A sporting morning and afternoon, a bit too windy for badminton, just right for the kite though. The camp is full of laughter with a relaxed feel to it. Paul and Claire arrive at lunch with their two children and bulldog. The afternoon consists of cartwheels, aerobics and a relaxing time.
We've been asked to perform, we practice, the fires are lit and everyone is ready for us, the sun is going down setting the atmospheric scene, shoes are off, bare feet on the grass, connecting with the earth, the first time dancing on grass and it feels good. We dance our dance in just the perfect place with just the right people, by the fires flickering light. Our passion comes through, something about performing to this particular audience, it's always really special when the people watching are in recovery. Communication from us to them about our journeys through the medium of movement and dance, they get it, they've been on similar journeys after all. As we are dancing i am struck by the silence, no one speaks and then the applause and it's over, far too quickly which is always the case. It's good to have shared this with everyone but it's not the end to the creativity of the evening.
As we sit around the fire roasting marshmallows, music and beautiful singing voices drift over. One voice in particular silences all of us, it's the voice of an angel. Her name is Marie and she is fourteen years old, she is singing 'Am only human' her voice is so clear and pure sounding. We have been treated to some amazing talented musicians and singers this weekend. I am in a thoughtful mood, the contrast of my past life and the life i'm living now is always with me, it makes everything that bit more beautiful. The weekend has been inspirational with fantastic company and lovely weather. Big thanks going out to everyone who made this weekend possible, hope to see you all again next year!
My name is Alison Parry and I'm a member of Risen dance theatre which is a peer led group, we are advocates of recovery and perform at different venues around the uk.