Welcome to Shambala
I made a dramatic entrance to the Shambala Festival earlier, with an ambulance escorting me right onto the site. While we were queuing to get in I had a ‘ticcing fit’ in the car and by the time the stewards checked our tickets it’d been going on for quite a while. I was getting distressed and the stewards were so concerned they called the paramedics.
Fat Sister and Leftwing Idiot reassured them fits like this are normal for me. They explained they had a care plan to deal with them but that I needed to get through the gates and out of the car quickly. The ambulance arrived and the crew let them carry on looking after me as they chaperoned us all to the accessible camping field, making our journey as smooth and quick as possible.
The accessible camping area is run by a woman called Lisa, along with Bunny, Fran and Sophie. It’s large and flat, has a shower, accessible toilets and a fire-pit with benches around it. I felt instantly relaxed and at home there. I sat on the grass in the sunshine as Fat Sister and Poppy put up our tent at high speed.
It’s possible that part of the reason I feel so comfortable is because the place is packed with people I know or who are friends of friends. While I was having a fit on the ground, a group of people came up and I heard one of them ask in a concerned voice, ‘What’s happening, is she alright?’ This was followed immediately, in a delighted voice, by ‘Ahha! Touretteshero, we meet at last.’
Leftwing Idiot’s compering the main stage on Saturday and he’s here with Poppy. Nez is here with his girlfriend Jade and their amazing van, Keir’s here leading some workshops and Chiv’s here with his eleven-piece band and his own, smaller, family.
My support this weekend is being provided by an elite team of three – Fat Sister, Zoë and my friend from work, Harriet. We had a quick meeting to sort out their shifts and then set about exploring the festival. The site’s pretty compact, there’s a load to see and do and because it’s all so close together, it’s easy to get around. It’s amazing, and for the time being at least, it’s warm and mud free.
I’m looking forward to a weekend full of dancing and laughing.