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A Review of Quest Festival 2013

Jess Pearson & Jen Howard

Quest - in its 18th year - calls itself the UK's best mind, body, spirit and music festival. This year it had the addition of a full on 3 day programme of dance workshops hosted by deep dive dance....

The venue, Newton Abbot racecourse, was beautifully transformed from the high speed world of horse racing to a peaceful, multicoloured healing space, decorated with fabric, crystals and gentle folk.

The festival was centred around a village green surrounded by an array of delicious food, alternative natural health, elfin clothes and world music stalls which created a nurturing family friendly atmosphere.

The campsite felt safe, quiet and spacious. A host of volunteers worked around the clock to keep the site clean. All amenities were clean and well stocked throughout the festival.

With over 100 hundred workshops to choose from, many of which were free, there was always something to participate in, whether as a novice or an expert. From early morning yoga and tai chi to early evening laughter workshops and wild women's drumming, with time for Shamanic journeys, story telling, herbalism and raw food workshops in between.

Weekend visitors could also partake in a variety of dance workshops, including belly dance, African dance , biodanza, shakti and contact improvisation. Renowned tutors brought wonderful enthusiasm, energy and expertise to participants of all abilities. Children were well catered for with workshops in hoolahooping, story telling, circus skills, drumming, henna painting and theatre.

Each day was rounded off with everyone packing out the main tent and soaking up intellectual poetry, inspiring stories, stand up philosophy and world music.

Thursday evening was titled 10 Men, inspired by last year's performance by 8 inspirational women. Standout performances included Martin Shaw's captivating telling of an Authurian tale which saw the whole tent spellbound and Chris Paradox's profound poetry based on his personal journeys and comical observations of the social change movement.

The evening was topped off with an awesome performance by Coleman Barks, a Rumi expert from the USA. His translations of Rumi's poems brought a playful and joyous new light to the works of the great mystic poet. Barks' timing and rhythmic telling had the audience savouring every word both during Rumi's poems and his own works.

Friday brought an evening of earthly inspiration featuring the angelic voice of Carrie Tree and the electric energy of both Sika's didgeridoo and Seize the Day's piratey folk roused everyone to their feet dancing.

Saturday was world music night and demonstrated a wide range of talent. Sura Susso's Kora playing was soothing and dreamlike. The jaw dropping speed in which he caressed the strings of his Kora was mesmerising. The audience danced the night away to the intense energy of Ombiviolum Orkestra and Sheelanagig.

Sunday evening was a taste of a delicious future with performances from young, upcoming musicians; Fitz, Mathew and me, Rainbow girls and Nemo, what a perfect end to a wondrous festival.

Overall, Quest is a friendly mini festival, which nurtures and entertains all ages, a perfect treat for your mind, body and spirit.

 

 

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