One thing Charlotte Jones was brilliant at was getting everyone together
to have a great time. Be it travelling to Europe for a 3 day festival, a mad
night out clubbing in London or just down the local for a Friday night she
was always right there in the middle of everything organizing tickets and
making sure a good time was had by all. Not always a successful mission I
might add but her heart was there! That’s why Onion Fest was such a fantastic
way to remember our friend and in turn manage to raise money for such a worthwhile cause.
The idea originally came about early in the year and was the brainchild of
Char’s good friend Fraser. He had been thinking after the previous years
summer events how fantastic it would be to get together all the talented
folk from our extended group of friends and hold a mini festival. We had
all been shaken by the events of Boxing Day 2004 and were both devastated
by the loss of our friend and the awful destruction of life for so many poor
people in Asia. The name of the festival and also the idea to make it into
a charity event came from Ian Brewer upon whose land the party was held.
He remembered discussing doing something similar with Char and Becky. “Onionfest” was inspired by Char’s best friend Becky’s habit of calling her Little Onion.
Now the organisation could begin! It wasn’t until June that it occurred
to us that we really ought to start thinking about the logistics of this
event. Fraser had got together all the bands that had agreed to make an appearance,
Ian had the land but boys being boys there had been no thought into decoration
or ambiance. Cue the girly crew, sadly now down in numbers due to our Little
Onion busying herself in another world and Sarah and Bex on the other side
of ours. However creating something beautiful from bits and bobs is what
we do best so we set to work at once! Giant papier-mâché mushrooms, Dream
catchers made of UV wool and spray-painting anything we could get our hands
on (including hands and feet!) took place on sunny weekend afternoons. Many
thanks to Gary Heyworth who’s practical genius helped to get back on track
any of our ideas which went a bit haywire! The farm was a mess but some
big strong lads and A LOT of elbow grease soon fixed that.
The day before dawned bright and sunny. We had watching the weather forecast
with baited breath all week. The outlook fluctuated, depending on whom you
asked, between 25 degrees and gorgeously hot, to thunderstorms and cloud.
Personally I was going with the BBC who for once where being extremely positive!
It was a hectic day to get everything done but with so many wonderful helpers
by late afternoon things were starting to take shape. The skate ramp had
been turned into a magnificent stage, the bar was built and the chillout
room was looking very inviting after a long day. The wonderful Jones family
had been busy creating beautiful decorations from Onion paper and Liz had
even made an effigy of Char to take a prime position by the stage. A few
of us stayed up into the early hours putting the finishing touches for everything
to be perfect in the morning.
Ring ring!!!!! My alarm woke me with a start. It was 8am and the hog roast
had to be fired up if it was to be cooked in time. I woke Fraser up who was
exhausted already. He and Ian had only managed to get 2 hours sleep, poor things. Weather wasn’t looking good. Drizzly rain threatened to stop the whole event! We
couldn’t have the bands equipment out in the rain! Thank god for my fantastic
dad and his giant tarpaulin. It was soon rigged up just in time for the sound
system to arrive. Olivia always one step of the game turned up with 4 gazebos
which we used to cover the hog roast, bar and vegetarian food. By 1 O’clock
kick off time we were prepared. The bar was stocked with local cider from
Mr Whiteheads Cider Company, a keg of beer supplied by Rob Marsden and wine
from our resident French frog Tristan De’Cam! Veggie bean burger were sizzling
on the BBQ courtesy of budding chefs James Middlehurst and my lovely sister
Jenny. Lets just hope that nobody lets the rain put them off!
Well as you can tell from the amazing amount of money we raised all the diehard
partygoers were undeterred. Vegetarian food was a sell out and as the cider
flowed the hog roast was ready just in time for an early supper. We needed
all the energy we could get to keep us dancing as band after band played
a fantastic set. Pickled Dick started the proceedings with their usual medley
of fantastic tunes and silly banter. There was something for everyone from
chilled out acoustic to heavy metal later on in the evening. For me however
talented songwriter and singer Daffyd really stole the show. I think most
will agree that his rendition of “The Bear Necessities” really made frolicking
in the rain worthwhile! There was a fantastic mix of people, which changed
throughout the day and into the evening. The gate and car parking was expertly
managed by Allan Bickford Smith and Gary Hayworth who sacrificed most of
their time at the party to make sure everything ran smoothly.
None of this could have happened without the help of so many people. We have
such a wonderfully close-knit group of friends who all did their bit to make
this an event to remember. Some of them have been mentioned here but there
are others who did a tremendous amount. You know who you are. Thank you for
everything. I think that putting this event together has really shown us
what we can do if we all put our heads together. I for one felt inspired
and have since undertaken a variety of projects that I had previously thought
about but never had the drive to really get of the ground.
I guess that all there is left to say is ROLL ON NEXT YEAR!
article written by Jo Spooner
article written by Jo Spooner