Festivals, Jesters, Tutus and Filmwork

Festivals, Jesters, Tutus and Filmwork

So the  blog title, “Festivals, Jesters, Tutus and Filmwork”, shows just what a busy few months we’ve had since I last posted a blog. So let me tell you a little about what we at the fool’s house have been up to.

New magic

Not just the best mead at the festival, but the best mead anywhere, ever. (check out their chilli mead. It’s so yummy).

I, your ever humble narrator, has been busy working on various new routines to frill and entertain you all. I have a new Tommy Cooper style “glass bottle, bottle glass” routine care of one of my sponsors, the wonderful folk known as “Magic Mead”. You can find these wonderful folk at various events, including England’s medieval festival and their mead really is the nectar of the gods. Although sadly, all the bottles they donated were empty.

I’ve also been busy working on a unique version of an old con known as the pea and shell. But fear not, as this is a “no money, purely for fun” routine involving the biggest pea and shells you’ve ever seen, ever.

One for the ladies

Shows and workshops

In between training and learning the skills needed to execute these “so exciting that the public might just wet themselves” routines, we’ve also been busy working and performing all over the country. This has included  children’s Birthday parties in London, circus skills workshops, including a week long circus camp for home educated children (although how teaching juggling ended up with me wearing a tutu is another story, for another day), adult birthday parties in Lincolnshire, and our “Total immersion” show at various events. Including “Battle medieval fayre” a wonderful, free to enter event run by the local community and housed under a hot sun in the shadow of the towns impressive looking abbey.

At “templecombe medieval pageant”, deep in the heart of somerset (a wonderful event run for charity), I had the pleasure of performing outside a reconstruction of a genuine medieval tavern! Then, latter that night, I also had the pleasure of tasting some of it’s wears.

Closer to home we ran our total immersion show at The Famous “Cambridge town and country fair”. Again this is a free to enter event. It’s held on the fair green meadows of Parker’s piece in the city centre and, in our humble opinion, has something for everyone. There was a horse display (with real live horses), birds of prey (although who they were praying to, I know not), an array of live music care of the buskers stage, the goat show (this is a show involving, well, goats), steam engines, stalls and lots more.

There was even a stall run by “The cambridge pentacle magic club”. Here you could see a whole range of different types of magic and performance styles. It’s a shame I had to work, or I’d of spent all day at the stall, stealing ideas and routines. If you’ve ever wanted to learn magic, then this, amazingly friendly club is the place to start.

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat’s photo of the pentacle drummers
The awesome pentacle drummers
Me enjoying executing a 5 ball multiplex routine

At midsummer we were again down south. This time at eastbourne for  “The Pentacle Drummers” summer solstice celebrations. Imagine not just the sound, but also the earth shaking vibrations of over 30 mad drummers, each one of which is “going for it” with all the suttalness of a deranged dinosaur on hot coals!

This yearly celebration of all things eccentrically  british (I.E. Morris dancing, warm beer, kilts, and a pagan celebration wherein the oak and holly kings beat the heck out of each other with pillows to the background roar of face painted adults all setting an example of reasonable behaviour for their kids by screaming for blood) is a wonderfully small and friendly event which we love performing at. The daytime performances were all free entry this year. Then in the evening there was a great selection of bands, including our good friends “Portcullis”. A great medieval band, perfect for handfastings, events and medieval re-enactments.

 

Community projects

But it’s not just been about making money. we’ve also been busy doing free, educational stuff. Next month we’re running a free workshop for children in Ely, and only the other week we were at Manea primary school. Here we put up a small medieval encampment and taught several class’s about medieval life. Why did we do stuff for free? Because its our local community and therefore local children and we here at the fools house strongly believe in supporting our local community.  Besides, the kids were great fun to work with and the look of awe in their eyes as Jester Dragonfly proved how many arrows she could shoot in a minute was a true joy to behold (in days of old an English archer was expected to be capable of shooting ten arrows in a minute, jester Dragonfly managed eleven!).

Film work

behind the scenes look at filming

More recently I’ve been filming for American television! This was long hard work outside in the heat of the sun in a woodland clearing. They were filming a pretend medieval festival and I of cause, was playing the part of the festivals premier fool. This involved juggling for anything up to 2 minutes whilst the main stars walked around, or gazed in wonder at my gravity defying feats. Then we’d stop for a few minutes, then refilm the same bit again and again and again.

To put this into some kind of perspective, we started filming the first one minute long scene at around 9 30 am and finished filming it at around 12 15. Nearly 3 hours for a shot that, once edited, will last less than a minute, but that, as they say, is show business.

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat on the cover of the loxwood joust programme
spot the cool fool

Future filming

On the subject of filming, keep watching this space, as we are again filming in august. Not for telly vision this time, but for our new video all about us. A professionally made promo video highlighting what we offer and why you should book us above all overs (and we’ll cry if you dont). It’s being made on location at one of Britain’s best medieval festivals, none other than “The loxwood Joust”. This festival is based near Guildford and is so popular that it has to be held over not one, but two weekends. Obviously, being Britain’s bestest medieval festival, they need Britain’s bestest fools, Jester Dragonfly, DevilStick Peat and the jesters jester, Stormageddon. So why not come along and enjoy not just our shows and the jousting, but also the cooling shade of it’s ever increasing woodland areas. Who knows, you may even end up in our video.

We’re also planning on making some instructional videos. These are designed to help all you potential jesters, young and old alike, to learn juggling and circus skills so that one day. should you work hard at it, then you might be nearly as good as we are. Who knows, I may even teach some very effective, yet easy to master magic (that way I’ll have the privilege of being kicked out of the magic circle before I even join it).

Shows throughout Britian

But we’re not just filming this action packed summer. We’ll also be spreading merriment and laughter the length and breadth of the country. Next month we’ll be spending a week way up north in “Alnwick castle”. This lovely castle is one of the best in england. Not only is it one of the few castles still inhabited by it’s owner, but its also so beautiful that some of the scenes from harry potter was filmed there. we’re there for a whole week, so if you’re one of our more northern fans, then do come along and not only say hi, but also enjoy our award winning shows and circus workshops.

In August we’re way down south at “England’s Medieval Festival”. Held at Herstmonceux castle in the sussex countryside. This event has gone from your average medieval festival, to one where you can camp over and enjoy not just a day of jousting, battles and brilliant jestering, but also a night full of fun with it’s open air cinema (showing medieval themed films) banquets within the castles banqueting hall and live, medieval music within its tavern, crammed packed with knights in armour, wenches and princesses.

In september we’re off to the east of England for “The Ancient Oak Medieval Fayre” in east anglia. This is not just east anglia’s premier medieval event, but also where our son, Stormageddon is going to undergo a life changing experience. That’s right folks. For the first time ever in his whole life, Stormageddon is going to have what my parents would call “a PROPER haircut”!!!

“But why is this going to be a life changing experience” I hear you cry. Well I’ll tell you.

Storms haircut

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat’s photo of his son, Stormageddon
Storm A.K.A. Stormageddon, relaxing at last years Loxwood Joust

Firstly, Storm has decided to donate his lovely long blond locks to “The little princess’s trust”. This is a truly inspirational charity who make wigs from real hair, then donate them free of charge to children who, due to cancer treatment and other illness’s, have lost their hair. A wonderful and life enhancing idea that can change a child’s life,  made all the more beautiful by the simplicity of the concept.

Secondly his doing it as a sponsored event. The funds he raises will go to the following causes.

Muscular Dystrophy UK

We have a nasty strain of this inherited condition in our family, so as I’m sure you realize, it’s a cause that’s close to our hearts.

The Anne Harris Children’s Fund

This wonderful small charity has not only supported my work with children in conflict zones, but has also offered to buy the hoist my nephew (who suffers badly from muscular dystrophy) needs to get in and out of his mothers car. Thereby making not just family days out easier and less trouble, but also more mundane things like the school run.

March 2nd Beavers

A precursor to cubs and part of the scouting movement, beavers is great for younger children and storm wants to raise money for his own pack as a way of saying thank you for all the fun.

Neither his mother or I want him to lose his locks. Indeed I can see his mother shedding a tear or two (although I, being a manly sort of man, will merely have smoke in my eyes). However, not only must we respect his choice, but we also feel truly proud of the way he wants to use it to help others.

Now I know that, in these times of austerity, not everyone can afford to sponsor Storm, but you can still help by spreading the word via social media etc, or talking to your boss about the company sponsoring him etc. By doing so, your be helping Storm help others and have our eternal thanks.

To see his sponsorship page and read more about it, just click on the photo below 

Well that’s all for now folks, I have to step away from the computer now as it’s a wonderfully sunny day, the lawn is freshly cut and the paddling pool is filled with fresh cool water. All on which means that my kids are complaining that they’re bored and want to go on youtube.

So until next time I bid thee all hail and fare thee well

your cool fool

Peat

 

 

Pentacle Drummers Summer Solstice 2018

Pentacle Drummers Summer Solstice 2018

My write up on this event in past years can be found here 

However, here is what the event organisers say about this years event (which I do believe is all wheelchair accessible, however, please bear in mind that it is an outside event of grass, which may get soft in certain climates).

We are back with our Summer Solstice Festival 2018
This time with a few BIG changes. 🙂

This year, the daytime event is FREE for all.
We are providing FREE ENTRY to the day time event – with a suggested donation of £1.
This year again we are supporting the Children With Cancer Fund, a local charity that grants wishes to children suffering from cancer. You can find out all about them here. www.childrenwithcancerfund.org.uk

We will be releasing tickets for the evening event shortly and will update the event accordingly with prices.

Taking place over the weekend of 15th – 17th June

Music, fun, food, stalls, plenty of safe space, and FULL CAMPING available.
Come and join us, The Pentacle Drummers, Lords of Earthen Drums at our spectacular Summer Solstice Festival in our home town of Eastbourne.

Friday evening will be for setting up your tent, and hanging out with friends new and old. Perhaps even an impromptu acoustic session will arise.
You are welcome to arrive from 5pm on Friday to set up your tent.

Saturday is the main day of the event. A fun filled, family friendly day, with ceremony & celebration, drumming, morris dancing, jesters bouncy castles and slides, sand pit, fancy dress, combat displays, the Pentacle Drummers Stone-age games, belly dancers and much much more.
For the evening, we move indoors again so we can go on for longer.

Again, we will bring you great, dancing, fun and friends.

Bands will be announced in due course.

Sunday is recovery day. Wake up late, hear the chatter from all the other campers, share stories from the day before, and get ready to travel home.

We work very hard to ensure the best value from our events, and we do not seek sponsorship, we want it to be your event and free of corporate branding.
We are pleased to let you know that prices are the same as last year.

Camping is available on the Friday and Saturday night, bring your own tent of course. The cost for camping on our secure site is £10 per person, whether that be one or both nights.
Children under 14 camp FREE.
On site shower facilities are available too.

FREE parking & FREE children’s activities throughout the day including the amazing Devilstick Peat back with us again.
This event will be held on secure private enclosed grounds, so the whole family can play in a safe environment.
There will be an abundance of refreshments available to keep you going throughout the day, and a bar open till late. Please make use of these facilities if you can and do not bring alcohol on site.

Dogs are most welcome however must be kept on a lead and are the responsibility of their owner at all times. Owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their dog promptly.

Please get in touch if you would like to perform or to book a space at the market.

For more information on stalls email stalls@pentacledrummers.co.uk
or events@pentacledrummers.co.uk for everything else.

We look forward to seeing you all again.
Peace.
PD

 

Pentacle Drummers Summer Solstice Celebration

Pentacle Drummers Summer Solstice Celebration

We are back with our Summer Solstice Festival 2017
Taking place over the weekend of 16th – 18th June
Music, fun, food, stalls, plenty of safe space, and FULL CAMPING available.
Come and join us, The Pentacle Drummers, Lords of Earthen Drums at our spectacular Summer Solstice Festival in our home town of Eastbourne.

Friday evening will be for setting up your tent, and hanging out with friends new and old. Perhaps even an impromptu acoustic session will arise.
You are welcome to arrive from 5pm on Friday to set up your tent.

Saturday is the main day of the event. A fun filled, family friendly day, with ceremony & delebration, drumming, morris dancing, bouncy castles and slides, sand pit, fancy dress, combat displays, the Pentacle Drummers Stone-age games, belly dancers and much much more.
For the evening, we move indoors this year so that we can go on for longer.

Again, we will bring you great, dancing, fun and friends and to start with we are vey happy to announce our headline act –

Love Street – One of the finest live bands you will ever see.

Loxley have joined the line up with their mix of traditional and original folk music.

More bands will be announced.

Sunday is recovery day. Wake up late, hear the chatter from all the other campers, share stories from the day before, and get ready to travel home.

We work very hard to ensure the best value from our events, and we do not seek sponsorship, we want it to be your event and free of corporate branding.
We are pleased to let you know that prices are the same as last year.

WEEKEND TICKET £10
EVENING ONLY (Saturday) £6
DAY ONLY {Saturday 11am – 5.30pm) £6
Note. The day/evening tickets are only available on the door and not for pre order.

UNDER 14’s GO FREE!

Get your tickets Just click here

Camping is available on the Friday and Saturday night, bring your own tent of course. The cost for camping on our secure site is £10, whether that be one or both nights. On site shower facilities are available too.
Please note, camping is per tent, not per person.

FREE parking & FREE children’s activities throughout the day including the amazing Devilstick Peat back with us again.
This event will be held on secure private enclosed grounds, so the whole family can play in a safe environment.
There will be an abundance of refreshments available to keep you going throughout the day, and a bar open till late. Please make use of these facilities if you can and do not bring alcohol on site.

This year again we are supporting the Children With Cancer Fund, a local charity that grants wishes to children suffering from cancer. You can find out all about them here.

Dogs are most welcome however must be kept on a lead and are the responsibility of their owner at all times. Owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their dog promptly.

Please get in touch if you would like to perform or to book a space at the market.

For more information on stalls email stalls@pentacledrummers.co.uk
or events@pentacledrummers.co.uk for everything else.

We look forward to seeing you all again.
Peace.
PD

circus skills workshop in chatteris

circus skills workshop in chatteris

This coming weekend I’m performing on my own (no circus skills workshop, Jester Dragonfly or encampment) at “The Danson park country fair” in Bexleyheath, Kent. Postcode DA15 9PW. There’s loads of other acts booked to support me including; birds of prey, steam engines, medieval reenactments, have a go terrier racing and loads more. I’ve never done this gig before so if you’re in the area then please come and give me some support.

The circus skills workshop gets a helping hand (or 2);

Stormageddon teaching spinning plates
Stormageddon helping daddy teach spinning plates

Last weekend we were performing and running our circus workshop, “the jesters school of…….well…..jestering” at “the chatteris midsummer festival“. This is a gig that’s close to our hearts as until quite recently, we used to live in the town. Also, my partner in crime (Jester Dragonfly) helped to start it up several years ago. The festival has gone through many changes since then. Originally it was a medieval reenactment festival, then a multi-period festival. Now, every year the town has a public meeting where the locals can decide on that years theme. This year the theme was “the Rio Olympics”.

Now I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking “what on earth has a medieval jester got to do with the Olympics”? Well the answer is not only a very simple one, but when you think about it, it’s also a very obvious one. Nothing, but the fact is that over the years we’ve become firm favorites at the festival. Enjoyed by both, adults and children alike. So it was a true pleasure to be invited back again. This year however the booking was different. This year I was booked not to perform, but to run a circus skills workshop with our jesters school of…….well……..jestering.

circus skills workshop at chatteris midsummer festival
circus skills workshop at chatteris midsummer festival

 

However, before we could arrive and set up, we had two major problems too over come. The first being that, due to problems with one of our trailers (see my last blog post) we needed some urgent welding doing to it. The second was that, due to the hire car that replaced the hire car (again, see my last post) not having a tow bar, we had no way of moving a trailer. Enter the wonderful world of reenactors.

 

 

The reenactment world is a small, close knit community of lovely (if somewhat strange) people who really do help each other out when needed. Within minutes of posting on Facebook I had two offers of help. One from a member of “the phoenix medieval group”, (a wonderful local reenactment group who are well worth seeing/booking if you get the chance). He offered to weld our trailer back together. The other one was from a member of “A moment in time“. Another reenactment group who were booked to run the have a go archery at the event. They reenact various different times in history and can even supply you with some unusual foreign armies. They offered to pull the trailer for us and we really cant thank those groups enough. Your true stars.

So it was that I arrived on site Friday morning and eagerly set up our medieval encampment. Then had a lazy evening sitting around a camp fire with some old friends from the pentacle drummers, before retiring for the night as tomorrow was going to be a busy day.

Parades, performers and a party in a park;

Stormageddon practising for when I'm older
Stormageddon practising for when I’m older

Saturday morning was spent putting the finishing touches to our encampment before taking Stormageddon and his younger cousin up town to the parade. The parade passed through he town center and was, as always, a noisy, colourful affair. It consisted not only of performers, but also lots of local groups, including brownies, preschools, army cadets etc. All dressed up as athletes, Brazilian parrots and the such like. Except the army cadets, they were dressed up like army cadets.

Taking the kids for a stroll jester style
Taking the kids for a Saturday morning stroll jester style

 

People cheered as the parade passed through the town with majorettes twiddling their batons, drummers drumming and preschool kids not having a clue what was happening, but happy to take part anyway. As we passed the crowds, so they would join onto the end of the parade and follow us down to the festival site. (Note to other events. This is a really good way of getting lots of attendance and the sudden influx of people, all full of excitement, really helps set the mood for the day).

Once at the site I stayed near the entrance, using my skills to entertain the queues and keep them amused as they waited to enter. Then I opened up the circus skills workshop, and I must say that I was genuinely impressed with how busy it was. All day long I was kept busy with teaching juggling, diabilo, devilsticks and lots of other circus skills. It wasn’t just children who enjoyed the circus workshop, but also parents and other adults had a go. Due in part to some comic one liners that I’ve come up with specially designed to entice the adults in.

Our encampment and circus skills workshop
Our encampment and circus skills workshop at the chatteris midsummer festival 2016

Some had never tried circus skills before, others wanted to improve their circus skills and learn more tricks, or the chance to show off to their mates etc. Whatever their reasons for joining in, join in they did. All day long. So by the end of the day I was a tired but happy jester who was proud of the fact that I’d managed to teach so many children and adults so many circus skills. My only regret was the fact that so many people asked what time my show was going to be and I had to tell them that it wasn’t happening because there were so many other acts booked this year. So once I’d finished for the day I went and spoke to the organizers who reorganized the Sunday program so that I could do two performances, and I didn’t even charge them for it, but then you know what they say about a fool and money.

Learning archery with "A moment in time"
Learning archery with “A moment in time”

Although the circus skills workshop finished at 5 p.m. the festival didn’t, as on the Saturday night they have “the party in the park”. A long mobile stage (I.E. a lorry trailer) is set up at one end of the festival and here local, yet highly talented bands and musicians can showcase their skills with a wide variety of music ranging from country to rock. One man and his guitar to complete bands. The weather was good and the night air warm, so people relaxed in chairs under the large half moon listening to artist performing both original works as well as covers.

Whilst enjoying the music, they also enjoyed a pint or two from the  sportsman beer tent, including some lovely real ales. The sportsman supports the festival all through the year, running fund raising nights etc. So if you’ve enjoyed the festival, please show it by using their pub, especially on fund raising nights.

Just chilling
Just chilling

Tug of war shenanigans;

DevilStick Peat being manly and Joining in the tug of war
DevilStick Peat being manly in the tug of war

Sunday the event changed somewhat. There was still lots of entertainment, but also lots of competitions. These included an archery competition ran by “a moment in time” in which my partner in crime, Jester Dragonfly came third. I should add here that she is also a medieval archer, which is why I’m always happy when I get home and she says that she missed me. There’s also a dog show with lots of different categories. A silly yet fun “it’s the knock out” type of games, and a tug of war.

This year the first two teams in the tug of war was the sportsman (Now I think I’m right in saying that in all the years that the tug of war has been held, they have always won it), and the festival crew. The crew team was made up of mainly ladies. The sportsman’s team was made up of fit, burly men with a giant of a man on the end. Jester Dragonfly, who was helping to run the competition wasn’t too happy with this. She thought it was somewhat unfair. So did she offer to join the ladies? Oh no, instead she volunteered me!

I strutted out to the middle of the field in a manly manner. Well, as manly as one can in curly up shoes and a horny hat. I took hold of the rope and leaned back, ready to pull for the crews honour. Then, after someone pointed out that I was facing the wrong way, I about turned and awaited our chance to do what every team has done over the years. Lose to the sportsman. So I was somewhat surprised when we won the first of the best of 3 rounds. Then came the second round. Win this and we’ve finally broken their years long winning streak.

The sportsman’s team eyed us like a pack of lions eyes an injured zebra as we, bolstered by our surprise win, took the strain. Others, encouraged by our British trait of reveling in the face of certain disaster, decided to lend a hand and came running across the field to join us. And so it was that, in a totally fair match (well, as fair as possible when your team has 7 more members than your opponents) the festival crew team won first place in the tug of war. Hooray.

My second show;

After our win it was time for my second show of the day. Some of the audience had come to my first show, so I decided to change some of my routines for this one. Amongst the different routines I put in was a routine I call “the blindfolded card trick performing duck (of doom)”. I really enjoy this routine as it not only involves a child volunteer, but also a quick one liner gag that, in true Tommy Cooper style, is guaranteed to make the adults groan out loud. Today was no exception and the whole show went down a storm. I even got a couple of enquiries for birthday parties out of it. A sure sign that I’m doing something right.

Then, after the last of the competitions had been won (and lost). The last show performed and the last child with an ice cream smeared face was led sleepily home, it was time to pack up the circus skills workshop (much to the disappointment of the adult who’d spent most of the weekend perfecting his club juggling). Drop the tents and head off site and back to the real world.

Amember of the public learning club juggling at our circus skills workshop
A member of the public learning club juggling at our circus skills workshop

Because it was a local event it didn’t take that long to get back home and I must say that it made a pleasant change to arrive back at base at a civilized hour. Once home I kicked off my boots, put the telly on and watched the news. It seemed full of people reeling with shock and horror and saying how horrible it was that the British voters had got their own way regarding Europe. As I watched this it occurred to me that the British people view politics much the same way as they do the summer. I.E. they spend most of the year saying how good it will be when it happens, then come the day they complain that it’s too hot

But hey, what do I know after all, I’m just a fool.