Monday, 17 August 2009
FLAT LAKE 2009
Festival Dad and Baby Juno - The Butty Barn
My wellies are mucky, my cardigan has straw stuck to it and my picnic blanket is sopping wet. There were Poetry Divas and Chicks; there was short story master Mike McCormack, and opera singing novelist Judith Mok. There was pig-roasting and straw-bale throwing.
Another Flat Lake Festival over, sadly, and it was the usual mix of literature, music, fun and art. There’s a homemade feel to Flat Lake – it’s rough around the edges – and that’s why it’s so special. All the adults get to dress like kids again, in wellies, woollies and raincoats and we get to kick around in tents and mud and hay. There are oodles of beautiful, guileless children with choppy haircuts there each year, dancing unselfconsciously to the bands, heckling the performers with innocent questions: ‘Why is your guitar so small?’ to Little John Nee and his ukulele, for example.
Prufrock Liz Gallagher
Prufrock Jaki McCarrick
Our performance as the Prufrock Poets in the Theatre Tent went down a treat; we were late starting and a famous person was scheduled for after us – Keith Allen doing Harold Pinter – so while we started with a sizable audience, we ended up with a huge one. Score!
Prufrock Mary Mullen
I know my fellow Prufrocks – Liz, Mary, Barbara and Jaki – as on-the-page or workshop poets mostly, so it was a treat to hear them perform their work. The audience – like all Flat Lake audiences – were enthusiastic, warm and ‘vocal’ with their applause. It was a great gig and we all were pleased afterwards. Juno behaved wonderfully; at 12 weeks she’s an old hand this being her third literary festival. Oh, and apparently Cillian Murphy was in the audience, enjoying it all.
Prufrock Nuala Ní Chonchúir
Prufrock Barbara Smyth
We went to hear mostly musicians on the Saturday – there’s so much on and with a baby in tow you are limited to the type of events you can go to: serious plays and very loud music are no-nos. We enjoyed UK singer Suzy Almond and, later, Dublin rockabilly/country outfit Oonagh and the Devils on the Scan Bitz stage.
Little John Nee
On Sunday we had enormous fun at Donegal man Little John Nee’s performance – he did extracts and songs from a few of his one man shows, including a song from the only punk in Letterkenny in 1976, and various short, hilarious odes to roosters, corn-can guitars and scangers.
He was followed by Dónal O’Kelly who read from his novel-in-progress, which is based in Mayo before and during the Shell to Sea protests. He read brilliantly – it was almost like watching one of his shows, as he took on each character’s accent and personality. He hasn’t got a publisher yet so he is open to all offers.
The Art Car Boot Sale was on again – a regular Sunday treat at Flat Lake – and I bought a gorgeous original abstract acrylic called ‘Red Kitchen’ by Margot Quinn for €20. Twenty euro!! Honest to God, where would you get it? We met poets Matthew Sweeney and Mary Noonan perusing the ceramics there and Mary took a photo of me as Frida Kahlo – funfair antics, Flat Lake style. It looks slightly daft as Frida’s head is huge compared to mine, but what matter.
I could tell you all about the wonderful art at the main auction, the vintage cars, the book stall, the bales of hay, the weather which was surprisingly good, the home-made buns and ice-cream, the tower made of books, Stephen Rea and various other well-known bods wandering about, the Eco Bus Café, the scrummy noodles, the gorgeous setting among trees and sheep and water... But, you know what, you should just go there next year yourself.
Portrait of the Artist with a Red Car - har har!