CORNWALL #2–GOLOWAN FESTIVAL
The people I met and partied with made Cornwall ever more lovely. I stayed at the Blue Dolphin Hostel in Penzance run by a super friendly surfer Matt. He spent daily time with all of us helping with all sorts of information but just chilling with. Amazingly it was at this backpackers hostel (£19/night) that I met a long travelling (two years) San Franciscan, Bland Cannon, and we hit it off immediately spending much of the next ten days together–we even got tattoos at the same time–his, a Celtic spiral and mine, the Golowan Festival logo–arm-linked dancers around St Michael’s Mount, the ancient beautiful castle we visited together in the rain.
Best part of my Cornwall visit was the GOLOWAN FESTIVAL, a 10 day long fest full of live music –Celtic, folk, rock, New Orleans jazz, even hard punk–in the streets, the pubs, the theaters all over Penzance. People costumes in wild colors and every man woman and child wore flower crowns in their hair–really!! Even spike red-headed totally tattooed Bland. Indeed having tattoos all over the body is typical of all ages here.
The main events started with a completely silly Mock Mayor’s Contest. A buck-toothed, powdered wigged and crimson robed elder presided with incomprehensible garble; then he and his rubber baseball bat-bearing courtiers brought and and often pummelled offstage a crazy series of contestants, There was a chunky pseudo Greek Senator trying to speak sense to an absolute rabble of a crowd swilling beer and hollering boos and throwing biscquits. A wizened old fisherman, beard to his waist, wearing rags babbled that he had nothing to offer us in the eway of leadership. A girl in a demure milkmaid’s dress blessed us all then took off her outerlayer to reveal a hoop skirted dress covered in buttons. She received a bundle of yays but at last lost to a paired of Wall Street suited seagulls throwing French fries out to the crowd.
Golowan culminated on Mazey Day with every street filled with partying people, pop-up clothing, balloons and henna shops, and food stalls filled with shortbread, cakes and Cornish pasties. Best of all was FIVE separate parades going from 11 on, up and down the main street of town, each having brass bands or rock bands marching them along. The first was the dignitaries and posh of the town–the real tux and tails mayor with his black velvet hooped skirt lady and a funny tartanned old Leprecaun were joined by the seagulls and followed by lots of well dressed couples with chunky bronze necklaces, as tacky as Trump would wear. Then three parades followed, filling the day with ~green~ floats and banners, fish and bees, butterflies and birds on sticks and made of recycled plastic bottles, used umbrellas, and hand-glued papier mache. There were huge bees, a crepe papered gorilla, a forest of trees and a great whale whose stomach was filled with trash carried aloft . What was so cool was the parades were filled with children and families and all the costumes and props were home made.
The last parade–Men and Maids– was led by a brilliant Celtic band and a strange and wonderful horse character on stilts, covered in black rags, dancing over the cobble stone streets and sporting a big horse skull that clacked in time to the music. This band led a Serpent Dance all over town and hundreds of people danced around and after them, snaking among each other laughing and loving the day. I danced too and downed some Cornish ale for ten hours–a whale of a day to remember!!