An Ode to English Eccentrics
The flower contest took place in the cavernous underground kitchen area. With its line-up of bells for every upstairs room and doors marked “Servants’ beer & cider store”, it suggested an older "Downton Abbey"
In front of the house stretched a landscaped hillock of sun-baked grass, dotted with tents and yurts. While among the food stations and stores, music blared out, encouraging revellers to dance all night.
How does Port Eliot differ from the famous mud-and-music Glastonbury festival in England, or America’s Coachella Valley and Burning Man?
Far less celebrity conscious and more of a family event, Port Eliot featured creative activities for children. I spent part of my three days in the Wardrobe Department, described on the programme as “a base camp for fashion imagination gone wild” and “Narnia backstage”.
I watched children of seven and younger painting, hand-printing and piecing together outfits under the guidance of Jenny Dyson, creative director of Pencil agency.
“It really is bespoke – this is a festival of ideas,” said Jenny. “When it comes to fashion, it is great to see the kids really inspired by the creative process.”
With so many fashion events, from Sarah’s interviews with Simone Rocha and fashion icon Penelope Tree, it was hard to keep up with the myriad cultural events, let alone the music scene.
So is it “move over Glastonbury” – Port Eliot is hot?
“Glastonbury is the sun that we all orbit around,” said Catherine St Germans. “The English do festivals better than anyone. And the eclecticism of what we do here is difficult to beat.”
Suzy wearing her personalised Stephen Jones crown
Picture Credit: Fiona Campbell, Michael Bowles, www.english-church-architecture.net.