Chelmsford Fling 2013 - A post-festival review

by DannyUK

Although the title suggests something a little “extra-curricular”, it is merely the name of a local festival which is held yearly in Chelmsford.

Thanks to a Twitter competition held by one of the local shopping centres, The Meadows, I was lucky enough to win two free tickets to this years event.

The Fling isn’t something I’ve ever been to before. It’s not really held a great deal of attraction for me if I’m honest, so I went along to this one with some trepidation. The leaflets and posters around town promised live music, but completely by bands that I hadn’t heard of, as well as “Sensational Cabaret, Exotic Dance, Outstanding Poetry, Breathtaking Burlesque, Mischievous Comedy” and a few more besides.

A view across the Chelmsford Fling Festival.

A view across the Chelmsford Fling Festival.

Seeing as I had two tickets, I offered the spare up to friends and thankfully the wonderful Loz grabbed the opportunity and went with me. We got there at gone 7pm and it was evident that a lot of people there had been there all day. There were four stages with music playing and the area had been split into two sections which Loz and I took in with a stroll around. The best way I could think to describe it was “hippyish”. We were surrounded by people with flowers in their hair, daisy chain necklaces and face paint and there was definitely a free-spirited feel about the place. This is far beyond what I would normally consider fun, though as a certified people watcher it was fascinating.

Loz chose to make a clay model in the clay-making tent, but seeing as I was still sober I decided not to take part in this (in fact, even now I feel horrified at the thought of getting my hands that dirty for what would be - given that I have the artistic talent of a blind new-born giraffe - very little payoff) and instead sat and watched the world go by.

Clay cat

Loz’s clay cat, which she thought looked a little like a rat, and so named it “Racat”.

Loz appeared a little while later with “Racat”, which she left to dry as we wandered back through the festival. Spying a face painter, Loz’s eyes lit up and she needed little persuasion to queue up to be painted, all the while stressing that I wasn’t enjoying myself (as I explained, I have a face like a smacked arse, I ALWAYS look like I’m not enjoying myself). 45 minutes later, and after an interesting chat with a woman who hated litter, and another that was clutching the bastardised Action Man with a tiger head as if her life depended on it, Loz got to the front of the queue and the make-up woman fell instantly in love with her and deemed that she would “go wild” with an idea.

Loz being made up

Loz starts being made up.

Loz was open to this, though I think her face matched my own shocked face as the woman covered her face fully in green make up. Maybe she was going for a Hulk look? That’s certainly wild in my eyes. As it was, she had been taken by Loz’s eyes, and this had inspired her to go for an Avatar type makeover.

Avatar Loz at Chelmsford Fling Festival

Avatar Loz

A few more drinks later, and after discovering that the free tickets had also given us hospitality access meaning we could use the Chill Out zone and - more importantly - get quick access at the bar and use the nice toilets rather than the smelly portaloo ones. Grabbing a quick vegetable curry (veggie. See, I told you this was a hippy place), the evening sun set quickly and we decided to make a move soon. As we meandered through the crowds, we saw a woman in a jukebox, singing along to one of six pre-determined songs, and this was followed by a woman armed with a flamethrower which she was shooting in the air with the confidence of… well, the confidence of a woman armed with a flamethrower.

At £15 per ticket in advance, or £25 on the door, the event was sold out fairly quickly, though I’m not sure if I’d happily pay that to go along next time. Had I been on my own, the event would have been a wash out for me. Having Loz there, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself, made it a great night, and I dare say that with the right mix of friends it’s definitely worth going along to. Thanks again to The Meadows, and a big pat on the back to all of the organisers. Maybe I will see you next year after all.

A woman, in a jukebox,  Goodbye from the Fling!

A woman, in a jukebox, Goodbye from the Fling!

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