Thursday, 30 August 2012

One World Festival 2012 - A retrospective perspective

Hello friends,

For two weeks in August 2012 I have been present whole beingly at the One World festival in Reading. Not to be confused with the corporate sanctioned Reading festival, the hippie-fest that is One World is something unique and special, with it's own healthy menu on offer daily, activities and seminars with a forward thinking twist, which make it truly something very special.

Me and Abi at One World 2012
I blagged my way there, by emailing the organisers and asking if I could come play music there, with my beautiful partner Abi as well. By the time we got there I was essentially the DJ (something my name itself told me I would eventually become), and Abi was working in the office part time to cover her wristband.

There are so many things on offer at One World that it's always hard to decide what you will get involved with, as whatever you choose means you miss out on lots of other options. This works well in the festivals favour as everyone there gets a completely unique experience based on their chosen path through the beautiful chaos. I can only write about my experience, as I am me and I witnessed my own experience first hand the whole time, other people that were there were each having their own amazing collective experience.

While at One World I couldn't help feeling the love, compassion, openness and beauty that was emanating from everyone present. We put our tent over in the quite section of the school grounds on which the festival took place. It was a five minute walk from our tent to the main activity hub, at least on the first day it was a five minute journey. As each day passed, the journey got longer due to stopping on the path to have a chat and share some love with new friends. By the end of the two weeks it would take anywhere from 10 mins to half an hour to get from tent to action centre.

Some awesome fire poi on the cabaret night week 1.
One World opens you up, and helps with all feelings of self happiness and wellbeing, the diet does help with this too. There are three meals at set times, breakfast was from 7:45 - 9:00, lunch from 12:45 - 14:00 and dinner (or tea for my northern friends) was at 17:45 - 19:00. This regimented time keeping for eating had several benefits. Firstly, the food was all macrobiotic, and macrobiotics is a big part of the festival from cooking lessons in it, to every meal being bacromicrotic, to many jokes being based around it. There is no meat in a macrobiotic diet, and there is no dairy either, it is a 60% wholegrain diet. I didn't go to any of the macrobiotic lessons, lectures or discussions, but I did eat the meals everyday and felt the benefits. I had more energy then usual and was at least 34% more active and alert in all my activities ranging from the mundane to the superfantastico. Abi did learn lots about it from a wonderful teacher called Cecilia, and she informed me about each meal and how macrobiotic vs non-macrobiotic it was. We both had a lovely connection to Cecilia, she mainly taught tennis but did two lectures on macrobiotics which Abi attended.

If you want to know more about macrobiotics, then do a search on the internet, don't ask me, I don't know anything, ask Abi, she knows more. All I can tell you is that it is a way of living, not just a diet, now go do your own research if you want to know more.

Everyday there were four day sessions, each with multiple activities in each time block. I didn't often make it to the morning session after breakfast, usually because I had been up late the night before DJing and bouncing around like an idiot. One of the early sessions that I did manage to make it to was Palmistry with Ginat Rice, which both Abi and I found immensely interesting. It was a shame it was in the early slot otherwise we would have gone more often to it, but still, big props to Ginat, she crams lots of information into a short session, my palm has never looked so interesting.

I also had some eye opening moments due to Numerology which was run by Sheldon Rice, Ginat's other half. They are such a glowing loving couple, and the numbers that surrounded me did help me to look at my life from a different perspective, most informative indeed. Again, if you want more information on palmistry and numerology, I suggest you type 'Palmistry' or 'Numerology' into your preferred search engine (or google if you are too lazy to have a favourite search engine), or you can visit Sheldon and Ginat's website The Rice House here

One of the very special legends of One World is Mr Tony Mills, he is an energy healing expert, and also a wonderful glowing human being. I had the great honour of doing improv comedy with him everyday, and on stage in the cabaret. His workshop was called 'Divine Magic' and was a breathtaking experience in self reflection and energy alignment. His website is and worth a visit :)

The improvisers, making stuff up about curtains.
My personal favourite workshop was Improvised Comedy with Maureen Levy (and on a couple of days it was Musical Improv Comedy with Julia Collins). This took place everyday from 11:30 to 13:00 and it was always funny, uplifting, challenging but most of all exciting. I have experience of improv comedy going back a few years now, and it was such a treat to get to play with the amazing novice to expert improvisers that came along. Collectively the loose troop of improvisers goes under the name 'The Soggy Biscuits', a name that sat with us well. We did some random performances most nights during the Open Mic, as well as having slots in the cabaret in both week 1 and week 2. Quite a few of us gave birth to alien babies at some point across the two weeks, and during one performance of 'The Village' I was an evil baker that was poisoning all the villagers with my hypnotic sugary buns. Other highlights included having a fingerless massage, playing New Choice with Tony Mills, having to tell Alan that I had impregnated his daughter, going to war with Ben my magical talking horse, singing a song about my naughty child playing up while I was getting my nails done, giving Matt the doctor an extra chakra in his shoulder, disagreeing with Maureen while her out of control arms kept being self playful and a whole heap of other amazing weird things that only ever happen in improvised comedy. The biggest laughs of the whole two weeks took place in the Improv Comedy workshops, and moments from it keep coming back to me and making me chuckle to myself. Big love to Maureen, Julia, Clair, Matt, Tony, John, Alan, Ben, Brian, Alex, Russell, Carol, Kath, Ruth, Fiona, Simon, Christa and the rest of the improvisers, it was the highlight of my year so far.

Okay, I'm getting somewhere with this now, having got improv written about, it's time I shift over to the music. One World is not a music festival, but it does have some amazing music on offer. Matt Kemp is the no.1 dude when it comes to music, and Maria (Matt's partner) beamed sunshine across the whole two weeks. They are a musical act together called 'Three Colours Red', and they did an awesome performance on the second to last night of the festival. Their show is completely audience interactive, with each original song having a unique twist for the audience. If you get the chance to see them in action then you really really should. Their website is here
They also ran a singing workshop, and another workshop called 'Express Yourself'. I got to work closely with both of them and loved being with them and their musical energies. Abi and I had some amazing moments with them, including seeing a strange light going backwards and forwards in the sky, all thinking it was a UFO until we realised that Reading festival was starting so it was most likely a light from there. I spent most evening with Matt, Maria and Ben (Golding - the sound guy, with the biggest smile in the whole universe) helping out with the amazing live bands, the open mic and then the disco/music after the live acts. These guys are amazing and I love you all, can't wait to do more music soon with you.

Mega orbs in the big final dance-off after the last night cabaret!
There was such a range to the music, from gypsy to soul to rock and roll to acoustic folk and many other styles inbetween. The party never seemed to end until Joao came and told us to turn it down. The campfire raged on for a big chunk of the night, but I didn't really take part in that this year as I was too hot and sweaty from having bounced around to music all night long. A big shout out needs to go to Seth Newman and his ecstatic dance temple. He put one on every night, and ran a workshop everyday, he is a super hardcore music dance ninja. I managed to get along to one of his dance temples and it was amazing, took me into a trance and left me buzzing with intense energy for ages afterwards. link on facebook. You should go to one if you can, everyone needs a bit of ecstatic dancing and movement in their lives, it shakes away the spiritual cobwebs made by ghost spiders. Seth had his tent right next to ours in the quiet tent bit and we had some beautiful times with him. Megalove to you Seth. He also did the DJing on the final night and kept us all dancing into the early hours - blissful.

A quick shout out to Roger Coghill for being such a legend. I didn't go to see him speak this year, but Abi did, and I have heard him in the past. Visit his website and find out more about him now

Joao, the main man
None of the festival would be possible without all the amazing volunteers that help keep it together, and the main couple that breath the heart and soul into the One World gathering - Maria and Joao. I did not get the chance to speak with Maria, but I had some wonderful moments with Joao, including facing off against him in the air guitar competition (which I lost). Super mega love to you guys, you are the illuminati of the One World Festival, and you have such big hearts <3

Ben, Me, Abi and Victoria :D
Now I come to my personal connections that have touched my life the dearest. One World is full of new friendships and connections, and I have a list longer then my arm of people that made a deeply profound impact on me during the two weeks, many of them listed above. Special mention has to go out to Benjamin Stubbs and Victoria Ikoku. From the first time we met, Abi and I felt a deep soul connection to both of them, like we had known each other for lifetimes. We spent so much deeply connected time together over the course of it and we can't wait to get together again and continue from where we left off. Ben ran the Law of Attraction workshop and unofficially he ran the Weather appreciation workshop with me on several mornings. The four of us had such a good time together, and will be connected from now until forever. Also, Alex and Gayle were part of our little connection and we can't wait to see them again. I could write a whole blog about just these connections (and I probably will in the future).

Rich Stix doing a bit of fire spinning :) Winning!
One other main king of dudeness requires very special mention in this blog - Rich Stix (and the twins). From the first moment we chatted to Rich outside the music hall, having a sneaky ciggy, there was a connection. We spent several late nights laughing and joking with him, sharing our stories and anecdotes, and he so kindly gave us a lift back to Brighton on the last day. He is a circus legend and already a good friend, I can't wait to work with him more on his circus arts.

Then there was Danny Shine - but that's for the next blog.

...also, there was a wizard walking about, by day dressed as a mild mannered security guard for the festival, by night, a full on wizard! I did not dream this, it was real.

For everything I have mentioned here I have missed off 50 things, it's just not possible to sum up such an amazing experience in a blog. My energy is still flowing and my chakras aligned, I wish it was like this all year round (...aim to feel better, it's the first step, right Ben:)

Peace and infinite love
[adj] - Andy D Jackson


  1. Fantastic and brilliantly detailed description of the Festival. Capturing the magic, the people and the fun of the event.

    1. I couldn't have done it without my trusty talking horse ;)

  2. Great post, you're right, the big thing we all take away is new friends. Each time I go to one world I can't believe that I only meet up with these people for a week or two each year - the One World family is a massively important thing in my life. Stanley the Wizard is very real - his wizarding workshop is well worth it if you get a chance next time ;-) See ya'll next year.