Over Easter my wife Monica and I headed to ConFest (short for Conference Festival). We camped amongst friends old and new, got back to nature, attended workshops, did meditation and yoga, witnessed live drumming and firetwirling, took part in a sacred ceremony, went swimming in the river, got lost wandering around in the dark, participated in the 'spontaneous choir'... and the rest! This was my third ConFest, and while I don't think the festival itself has changed a great deal since I last attended a few years ago, I think I have changed significantly in that time - which made it a very different experience this time around.
I put on a workshop entitled 'You call that poetry?!' which consisted of readings and a freeform discussion addressing questions such as 'What is poetry?' and 'Where is poetry today?'. We were treated to some amazing performances; a number of poets brought their poems along to read out, while others recited their words from memory. I kicked things off by reading Opening Meditation and went on to talk about the relationship between poetry and meditation, a topic which I hope to cover in more detail in a future blog post.
Thanks to everyone who attended the workshop, and everyone who made ConFest such an inspiring, spontaneous and rejuvenating experience! I think the poem How to be hungry (which I had planned to read in closing the workshop) sums up some of the truth-seeking, life-changing spirit of ConFest: 'unplug everything'! I hereby dedicate it to those who aren't afraid to resist their programming, rethink, reshape, and reclaim the Earth for the Earth's sake.
Below: ConFest settlements (photo by Monica Barratt)