What a contrast from last week. The Hay Literature and How The Light Gets In festivals of 2019 have drawn to a close. There is an appropriate drizzle pitter-pattering on the pavements and a breeze shakes the bunting about, waving a vigorous goodbye to the fun and frolics that rested upon Hay-on-Wye for a brief amassing, as though people had come from far and wide on a pilgrimage.
I like to think of them as pilgrims of the humanities. As a resident of Hay myself, living slap bang in the centre, one can’t help but ogle at the carnival energy they bring with them – lots of peacocking, using clothes as expressionism itself, rainbow colours, glitter and diamante enhance sparkling faces in crowds.
It was all very exciting, but I do feel a sense of relief, and as I type this I am reminded of the rhetorical quote that ‘all good things come to an end’. I no longer listen to the trill of tourists jabberingaway, neither can one hear buskers squeak, bill and coo. Calm prevailsagain.
Should one take a baby to a music festival?
My partner and I decided we both wanted to enjoy the festival together and so bringing Sholto, our eleven-month-old child, with us was our only option as his grandparents regrettably live in Eire and Yorkshire.
We had the parental ‘pre-chat’ about how to embark on a new exploration such as taking one’s baby to a music festival. I got my anxieties out in the open, an example of this would be, what if people put drugs in our pram!? After some discussion and rationality on behalf of partner Jonathan, we scooped Sholto up and popped him in the pram, snug as a bug in a rug, complete with nappy changing bag and ‘ear shells’ (miniature ear defenders).
Sholto is a placid sort of babe so we were hoping for the best, in hope that he might not have a meltdown upon arrival. He took to the bright lights, hustle and bustle like a duck to water. He seemed to knowingly take the opportunity to throw himself freely into the festival environment. He made it known when he enjoyed the rooty-toot-toot sounds that flew from the mouths of saxophones and into his protected earlobes. At the height of his amusement he burst into raised arms, a bopping head and torso, happy clapping. He had a VIP seat, sat on the shoulders of either Mummy or Daddy – he knew he was safe and he knew at that moment in time the world was his oyster.
Before long, Sholto began accumulating an interest from other festivalgoers, they took photos and videos of him on their iphones (too many to stop). Men and women alike held his hands and danced with him. I watched in amazement, Sholto grinned as though he was connecting with each individual’s inner child.
I thought about this for a moment and realised that the site at How The Light Gets In Festival was a bona fide playground – a space in which one had the liberty to explore, question, play and rest. To my mind Sholto was mirroring the trapped child in each adult and that was why he drew out an abundance of delight for so many people.
As Heraclitus said
“Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.”
P.S. I am happy to say no one put illegal or legal substances in our pram and Sholto even managed to sleep soundly after all his raving.