it happens for a reason

staying up late is easy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006



happy summer everyone. it's been a long while. too long. how are you? i'm ok, thanks for asking. i've got a tan. sort of. well fit.

munkyfest was a festival that me and my friends from school have been organising since we were 17 (hence the rubbish name). we're now 24, and we've done 8 munkyfests. it started out as tiny party with a few bands and slowly grew and grew to become a little festival that felt like a proper one, with 500 people, two stages, and after-hours acoustic and dance tents. all on a farm with cows staring at us with their kind and stupid eyes. nothing has been so important in my life for so long.

this year was the last ever munkyfest. putting on your own festival, especially without any form of grrr-evil corporate backing is a real effort. there's a slow steady grind the few months up to the event, and then about a week of thinking solely about the festival, every waking minute (and most dreaming ones, too). that starts to send you funny, i find.

so, tired of the stress and mindful that it's always best to go out on a high, we called it a day after this year's munkyfest, on the first saturday of august. the finale was as spectacular and moving as it could be. headliners were the Tokyo Adventures,- lovely people, friends of ours, people who have been with us from the start and have grown as we have grown, and who make wonderful comforting pop music. not only were they playing the last ever set of the last ever munkyfest, they were also playing their last ever gig together: they had planned to split up the moment the last note was played.

after that last note, fireworks flickered and boomed above us, and dozens of chinese lanterns drifted into the air like ghosts. sean, guitarist of the tokyo adventures wrote his name on one, and let it go, traveling up and up, away from munkyfest and away from tokyo adventures to somewhere new and unknown.

after a gruelling day of helping to run munkyfest, which left me felt as if i'd fought a small war, i was too tired and fuzzy to really process what was going on. i stared at the stage and ooohed and aahhed at the fireworks and all i felt was numb and blank. it was over. i couldn't really grasp the magnitude of that for us. sometimes things are just too big for feelings. perhaps the only thing i could grasp was relief. relief that the stress and the tension had come to an end.

all maudlin introspection was quickly put to an end by jack savidge starting his set in our dance tent, which is sometimes called rave generator and sometimes called rave heart. this year we wrote, 'now is the summer of our disco tent' on the back wall. sometimes, if i say so myself, we're amazing. jack was amazing too that night, as were the crowd. he played audion and we went mental. then he played 'falling up' and we marched and screamed with joy.

the days after munkyfest, though, was when the pain of reflection set in. every year days and days are spent clearing the site after munkyfest- every last cigarette butt has to be cleared, pretty much. usually, it's a horrible job, bitterly done through hangovers and muttered curses.

but this year a strange thing happened. i didn't want it to stop. there was always a little more to be done, and i'd search that out and set myself to it. i think everyone was the same. once we left the site after clearing it, that was It, and we knew it. the end. the end of one of the most important chapters of my life, something which has carried me through adoslescence to now. munkyfest was What We Did in summer. pretty much all we did. it was me and my friends' time to be together. sharing in this unexpectedly big thing was our bond to each other.

even now, weeks later, i'm struggling to express to myself and to you the emotional magnitude of this. one thing is this: the minute we walked out of the site for the last time, the final link with our childhoods was broken, forever. i only play music live once a year, at munkyfest. i've had the same guitar amp since i was 16, since i saved and saved to buy it. as i left the site, i packed the amp in the boot of the car, and knew, just knew, that i'd never use it again. it's just another thing to be buried slowly in dust in the loft of my parents' house, my child hood home, along with old school exercise books and battered toys.

another thing is this: we might never create something so wonderful again. many people have said that munkyfest is the highlight of their summer, and this year we tried everything we could to make it far and way the best one ever. looking back on it, we just couldn't have done it any better. but is that it? are our best days behind us now? i don't know. in twilight moments i fear that it could be. the commonest, cruellest thing said to children by adults is that schooldays are the best days of one's life. the fear of the things never being so good again is haunting, debilitating, and here it is again.

so, anyway, i sit here listening to Tokyo Adventures and it isn't just music (is it ever?). it's my childhood, it's my friends, it's the biggest times i ever had, and might ever have.

if you ever came to munkyfest, thank you x


Blogger WOEBOT said...

that was really moving si.

matt the woebot

10:30 AM  
Blogger tom said...

hear hear.

2:06 PM  
Blogger simon silverdollar said...

many thanks, both of you!

9:47 AM  
Blogger tom said...

...if a bit gutting, as a comparative yout man myself.

but inspiring, in the same way. i mean even if these days are no longer replicated, you still fucking did something man, something proper admirable. i've never been to munkyfest (i didnt even know what it was until i found silver dollar circle last year), but it's pretty amazing to hear an account of it', closure, from one of the people who's started it, proper lived it, and the emotions it provokes in them..

5:20 AM  

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