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WOMAD 2013! August 13, 2013

Filed under: Festivals — inspiredtimes @ 11:59 am
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For once we were having a summer where sunshine was in endless supply, with weather forecasts presenting rain-drop free images for the days ahead… that was until the week running up to WOMAD! Suddenly unpredictable skies loomed beneath the relevant dates. Grrr! So when packing to take my nieces (aged 9 & 11) for their first ever festival experience, I prepared for all eventualities. Wellies, brollies & sunnies… the perfect ‘fest kit’.

Me & my two nieces

Me & my two nieces

Thankfully ‘day one’ remained rain free, despite a few threatening clouds. Family camping was in an ideal location. We nested ourselves in an easy-to-find spot just aside one of the boulevards which linked to the toilets (necessity #1), nearby a tap (necessity #2) and a mere ‘hop, skip & jump’ from the entrance – ensuring limited lugging (necessity #3). With those essentials ticked off, beautifying our abode with flowers was our next task… great for identifying our tent in amongst the sea of green canvas! Set up and raring to go, we hot-footed with the hoards into the main field to be welcomed by colourful flags, a patchwork of stalls, stages full of promise, gigantic music tents and a vintage steam fair fit for ‘boho’ royalty. The girls’ eyes widened as they absorbed the visual feast, whilst I wondered how shuteye would fit into the whole equation!

Music kicked off in style on that Thursday evening, with Italy’s L’Orchestre di Piazza Vittorio enticing us into the Big Red Tent – a wild multi-ethnic mix uniquely interpreting Amadeus’s ‘The Magic Flute’. This extravagant and showy performance blended tabla, djembes and rock guitars along with a whole plethora of orchestral instruments. Buoyant with excitement, we bounced around the site to get our bearings and soaked up the already buzzing atmosphere.

The kids getting creative!

The kids getting creative!

Friday blessed us with high temperatures and clear blue skies. Ice-cream vans did great trade, the tree-shaded ‘World of Wellness’ offered welcome respite with a gentle vibe and the ‘World of Kids’ had the girls embroiled in fun activities. Colourful tutus and ‘grass’ bracelets were soon created whilst drumming and circus workshops were celebrated… they were in festie heaven! Our evening offered up a melting pot of music and fairground rides. After discovering first hand that some rides were scarier than others, we did a group huddle and agreed to opt for the more gentle options. The ‘Wall of Death‘ show received rave reviews from friends, but we didn’t get to see the motorcyclists in action as headphones were essential for protecting my youngest niece’s sensitive hearing. Headphones will definitely be packed next year as they are a handy accessory for younger children.

Saturday morning the girls were booked into one of the many creative workshops – ours was for making beautiful butterflies to carry in the Sunday evening’s procession. With the metamorphosis of their masterpieces complete, we stepped backstage to catch up with a few artists and find out what inspired them… what else would the editor of Inspired Times ask? Canterbury’s The Syd Arthur band were friendly as well as talented, and they happily signed my nieces’ autograph books (a few brownie points were gained for that one!). Raven Bush, keyboard/violin player, told me that the diversity of life inspired him. We agreed that WOMAD displayed the magnitude of diversity magnificently!

Luzmira Zerpa from Family Atlantica

Luzmira Zerpa from Family Atlantica

Family Atlantica‘s vivacious lead singer, Luzmira Zerpa, cited ‘love’ as her inspiration… the kind that smacks youdeep in your core when something feels right. As she passionately uttered these words the heavens opened and lovingly poured rain down… continuously until the early hours of the next morning.

Festie spirit reigned strong and we weren’t to be deterred! Returning front of stage, David Wax Museum from Stateside, was up next. Their cool ‘Mexicana’ sound captured our attention before we ducked inside a cosy cafe for some tasty pizza.

Dodging the wall of rain, we then pitched up in front of the Siam tent’s stage to experience headliner’s Babylon Circus at full blast. They lifted the roof with their French ska, oozing ‘Gallic cool’. These pros worked the crowd – instantly everyone became all fired up and shouting for more. My eldest niece announced after that they were “a bit too crazy” for her, but I’m pretty sure at some point in the future she’ll be skanking with the best of them.

Sunday remained dry for the majority of the day, bar a downpour during the kid’s procession – but fortunately their beautiful face paintings remained drip-free. More amazing music graced the stage in the shape of Gocoo – a Japanese taiko drum ensemble who danced with the energy of warriors heading into battle. The beats were tribal and the women fearsome! We finally left on Sunday evening, the girls donning hair wraps, henna tatoos, face paintings and soggy socks. WOMAD had been an incredible first festival for them – one I hope exposed them to our eclectic world’s vast array of colourful diversity and talent. As we pulled away I asked if they wished to try a different festival next year, or preferred to return… the response was unanimous. WOMAD 2014… it seems we’ve got a date in the wilds of Wiltshire’s fields!

The wonderful fields of WOMAD!

The wonderful fields of WOMAD!


Shambala Festival 2012 September 13, 2012

Filed under: Festivals — inspiredtimes @ 12:32 pm

Becky Cooke steps into a dream-like world of flamboyantly dressed festival-goers, eccentric sights and hypnotic sounds as she attends this year’s Shambala Festival…

Shambala has made my life so much more glittery… almost as glittery as the festival itself. I arrived at Kelmarsh Hall early on Saturday morning. As the rain poured, I strolled through the site with my rucksack and all my possessions covered in waterproof materials. Families grabbing breakfasts for their little ones, and cheery festivals-goers provided a warm-hearted welcome upon arrival. After putting up my tent and dropping everything off, I was eager for a weekend outside. After grabbing a hot drink, I was soon embracing the festival spirit – it didn’t take too long at all! It immediately became apparent why so many people have such a deep appreciation for this festival. Whilst drifting around the festival, with the sun breaking through the clouds fairly frequently, there was a host of fabulously fun activities for children and adults alike. No one could possibly be in a bad mood at Shambala… even in the rain!

With various venues and stages of different sizes, a wide range of brilliant talents performed over the weekend. My personal favourite was the UFO. This was a circular, small indoor nightclub with space goddesses to greet you at the spaceport entrance.

The array of animated people that were gracing the fields of Shambala was truly spectacular. I spotted one fabulous person who was outwardly as happy as I felt. He danced for the entire weekend – like his life depended on it – in a multicoloured lycra all-in-one… absolutely incredible!

Sunday was perfect. The magnificent weather and vibrant atmosphere combined made it a wonderfully special day. Whilst there were many weird and wonderful sights at Shambala, one of the most bizarre was a completely naked man being proposed to by Cinderella – instead of slipping his toes into a glass slipper, he was given a flip flop instead! Come evening, the ‘big burn’ bonfire and fireworks felt cleansing. Although I wanted the fun to never end, the astounding display was a perfect finale to the weekend.

I have always loved the festival vibe… that feeling of disconnection from the real world. Shambala satisfied this completely. It is another planet – one, which I cannot wait to visit again next year.

To purchase your early bird tickets for next year visit:

By Becky Cooke


Mind Body Spirit London Festival 2012 March 7, 2012

Mind Body Spirit London Festival, Wednesday 30th May – Monday 4th June 2012

With a refreshing holistic approach to life, the Mind Body Spirit London Festival returns for another year to impart wisdom and inspiration for all aspects of every-day life. Relocating to the larger and more diverse venue of Earls Court, the Festival promises to be bigger and better than ever!


The extra space at Earls Court allows for more market place stalls and specialised areas, promising to highlight the magic of face-to-face social interaction with like-minded people from all over the world (without the distance that the Internet creates)! The festival boasts over 50 workshops, featuring inspirational talks on animal reiki, personal development, angels, dynamic clutter clearing, spiritual awareness and the like. On top of this varied selection, the larger space will also allow for more activities than previous years, with free sound healings, guided meditations and a yoga shala providing yoga taster sessions with some of London’s finest teachers which are also free – so you can try a few things first before discovering your next exciting holistic journey.


As well as the range of classes and activities, the stage will become host to cutting edge performances that will run throughout the duration of the Festival. From music concerts to dance and yoga performances, the stage looks to be an exciting focal point during the festivities! And continuing with their proven track record of high-profile guests and speakers, the Mind Body Spirit Festival has planned a line up of motivating speakers, which is inspirational in itself. Big names such as Diana Cooper, Barefoot Doctor, David Hamilton and Laura Day will all make an appearance, infused with new speakers such as Chrissie Astell, Dominic O’Brien, Andie Hudson, and many more. Enjoy workshops to cater for all outlooks and give a motivating boost to start off the summer!


Keeping the community spirit alive, the Mind Body Spirit Festival guarantees an uplifting experience in a unique and inspiring style. Sharon, our Editor, will be paying the Festival a visit and is booking her tickets early; it’s not to be missed! And keep an eye out for the free copies of Inspired Times offered near the entrance, but be quick as they get snapped up early so make sure you grab one– perfect to read in between workshops or when you fancy a tea-break.

Wednesday 30th May – Bank Holiday Monday 4th June 2012
11.00 – 18.00 Weekdays, 10.00 – 19.00 Weekend, 10.00 – 17.00 Bank Holiday Monday
Ticket Price – £10.00 on the door, £8.00 advance, see website for workshop fees and concessions.
For full programme details or advance ticket purchase call the Ticket hotline: 020 7371 9191 or visit


Inspired Times:




The Bali Spirit Team – HIV and AIDS awareness Gig February 9, 2012

Filed under: Festivals,HIV and AIDs awareness — inspiredtimes @ 1:49 pm
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With an essential ethos, that dictates that we can all nourish our personal potential for positive change, the Bali Spirit team are stepping it up a notch. Fully practising what they preach by expanding their good karma into the realms of our social conscious. On the 18th February this year, the organisers behind one of the world’s grandest traditional festivals of dance, music and yoga are hosting a truly benevolent benefit to raise awareness, money and support to the islands growing HIV and Aids problem.

Famous perhaps for the gnarly waves and cosmic culture, when we think of Indonesia, particularly Bali, un-merciless infec

tions of Aids and HIV doesn’t instantly spring to mind. Yet, according to the latest data collected by the Gianya Commission of AIDS, the number of outbreaks has unfortunately more than doubled in Gianyar alone, rocketing from 181 to 405 in the last year. However the saddest thing about this devastating disease is that its infection is relatively preventable with a small amount of education and financial investment. This small, but important fact has not been over-looked by the good souls behind The Bali Spirit Festival and The Ayo! Who provide through Edu-Spirit, educational workshops for hundreds of school-aged teens, whilst simultaneously spear heading an aggressive media campaign highlighting the problems of infection hitting the island.


This great February gig is the fifth in a series of annual charity concerts geared towards the Balinese audiences. It is no little feat either, last year they welcomed 3000 Balinese and Indonesian nationals. So far it’s estimated that they are on target to raise over £56,000 for Ayo! Kita Bicara, and other local organisations including ‘Bumi Sehat’, Ubud’s well-known natural birthing clinic, and ‘Pelangi School.’

Through live music, dance and a generally good time they will be targeting both the adults and youngsters of the island. Handing out hope and awareness, while their cosponsors Yamaha and Sutra Condoms hand out free educational materials and condoms.  So if you are by any

luck in Bali this month and fancy joining in a fun filled, truly authentic, fantastic live music extravaganza, get yourself to Ubud Soccer Field on February 18, 2012, from 5 p.m. – 11p.m.

For more information:




Perfect eco-gift for kids and parents! December 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredtimes @ 10:45 am

Image                                                                                 ImageIf you are a bit stuck for gift ideas this Christmas, or have a rather large family to buy for, why not purchase a board game? They are fun for all ages and much cheaper and easier than getting individual pressies!

Go Green Board Game  is a new, fun and educational board game, designed to allow you to become self-sufficient and green – if only for a few hours! The box contains miniature pigs, chickens and hay bales to fill your garden with. You can also grow fruit and veg in your allotment. It has been raved about by many, and now here at Inspired Times, we are joining in on the fun!

 As you work your way around the board with a wheelbarrow, all of these items can be collected and added to your (hopefully!) thriving patch of land. Along the way you get to learn some amazing facts about sustainability through ‘Natural Selection’ multiple-choice cards. If you get the answer right, you win a hay-bale to feed your livestock. If not, you still learn eco-information about some rather amazing facts, such as the UK imports 90% of all its fruit!

To add risk to the fun, ‘Green Fingers’ cards throw obstacles in your path of going green. Foxes may eat your chickens, or your own animals may eat your vegetables! You never know which way it will go in this engaging and innovative game.

The winner is the person who grows the most fruit and veg in their allotments and who owns the most animals in their gardens the first!

Play to your hearts content with kids and adults alike. If it’s good enough for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, it’s good enough for us!


Eco Event – one not to be missed! October 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — inspiredtimes @ 9:57 am
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The annual Schumacher Centenary Festival, 8-9 October 2011, is pulling in a massive crowd this year ( From Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party, to the poet Matt Harvey, the collection of speakers is truly awe-inspiring. At this festival, Bill Mckibben, founder of & author of End of Nature, Polly Higgins, environmental lawyer and Satish Kumar, Editor of Resurgence, join the compilation of famous names to talk a little about their view for the future of the planet. The weekend celebrates the life of Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful and A Guide for the Perplexed and pioneer of green economics.

The future is looming and mankind needs to take a moment to work out where it stands. Green issues such as landfill sites, global warming and damage to the ozone layer are potential minefields and need to be assessed by leaders in the know. This festival, which spans a weekend this autumn, is packed with lectures and workshops about the environment, and an evening concert of music from India, Africa and the UK. It will be held at the Colston Hall in Bristol, returning to the place it was originally staged in 1978.

In ‘an audience with…’ do you dream of watching Peter Blom or listening enthralled to Rob Hopkins? If so the Schumacher festival will keep your inner green spirit thriving.


The Big Green Home Show! September 8, 2011

Filed under: eco living — inspiredtimes @ 10:42 am
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Rising energy bills, a tough economic climate, and a Government drive to reduce carbon emissions mean that creating an energy-efficient home has never been so important.

It is now easier than ever to build green, and achieve a house that’s comfortable to live in, economical to run, and has a reduced impact on the environment. Every year, thousands of visitors flock to the Big Green Home Show, hosted by BuildStore at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre, and this year will be no different. Building on the success of the past three shows, and the ever–increasing interest in all things eco, the three-day event will feature even more products, seminars and experts, as well as the unique ‘walking seminars’ by green experts. You’ll find invaluable expert advice on the essential eco elements to help you decide what’s best for your home and your pocket.

The UK is now the world’s sixth largest low-carbon and environmental economy, and still growing. It is no longer just a ‘wish-option’ to be energy-efficient. At this year’s Big Green Home Show, you can sit in on seminars and get one-to-one advice from industry experts on the latest legislation, regulations and Government schemes and how they will affect your project.

With the new incentives for renewable electricity and heating, the Government are essentially rewarding you for not plugging into the grid and the sums seem to be stacking up. You can find out more about the funding of your project from BuildStore’s team of specialist finance advisors at the Show, including the exclusive Eco Accelerator mortgage.

“At the Big Green Home Show, you’ll find plenty of expert advice and guidance on the essential eco elements you need to consider, and understand. As well as, talking directly to manufacturers and eco experts; our unique Centre allows you to see all the latest products and systems in-situ, in our three full-sizes houses.  It’s the UK’s brightest eco exhibition, and could help you save pounds as well as the planet.”

For comprehensive and impartial advice on green self build, renovation and home improvement, visit the Big Green Home Show (28th – 30th October 2011) at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon, just off Junction 16 of the M4. To book free tickets or for more information, visit the website at  or call 0845 223 4455. Tickets on the door: £10 per adult or £15 per couple