Sunday, 2 August 2015

Dunstable Kite Festival

Following our first performance at Dunstable Kite Festival in 2014, we were very happy to be asked back this year. Saturday gave us sunny conditions, and a pretty strong, but consistent wind. Unusually for a kite festival, the arena programme kicked off with a mass fly, which included a 7-strong mega-team, consisting of the Airheads, Carl from Team Spectrum, and Flying Fish. First time we flew together with Carl!

For our own performances, we stuck to the Airdynamics T5 Taipan V2 we flew in the 'warm-up' mega-team for our Ruthless Queen routine. Great kites, and they had no problems whatsoever with the strong wind. We didn't even need to take off the patches, so they can take a lot more.

For our second routine to Adiemus, we switched to our Peter Powells. The consistently strong wind really suited them!

As to other teams present, I should first mention The Flying Squad, given that Dunstable is their home and practice ground. Solid performances, and you wouldn't expect anything less from them.

I already mentioned Carl from Team Spectrum; he and Bryan flew their usual three routines.

Besides the warm-up mega-team, the Airheads flew two different routines which I both managed to capture on video. Because of the sun shining in my eyes, I couldn't always see what's on the screen of my iPad, so there are a few times when the kites leave the frame. Still, I got them most of the time!

In stark contrast to Saturday, Sunday started off with a much more blustery wind, plus rain, which was pretty heavy at times. Together with the Airheads, we tried to fly a bit, but soon gave up, especially given that there was absolutely no public.

Shortly after noon, the second day was cancelled, everyone packed up as soon as they could, and left. Real pity, but the weather was decidedly unpleasant, and we did try ...

More pictures of the festival, almost all from Saturday, are here.

Picture credit of the mega-team: Jan Wright; of Flying Fish: Simon Dann.


  1. …We only got there at 2:50 on Saturday, having enjoyed the M25 ‘car park’ experience on-route, so missed performances earlier in the day…

    For people like ourselves who had not been to Dunstable Downs before, first impressions are that it is very special. From the festival car park we saw a large model glider dipping below the crest of the hill. – It was an optical illusion as it was a real glider that was landing at the gliding club that is at the bottom of the north facing escarpment. The festival is at the top, and the views are fantastic.

    Besides the locals: Ex-grads/Airheads and the Flying Squad, and not-so-local festival regulars such as Team Spectrum and the Flying Fish, and Tim with near life-size Smaug the dragon, there was one other, who blew us away with his individual ballet, I think the best that I have ever seen. His kite: turned, sped up and slowed down, in perfect harmony to the music. – Wish I had had the presence of mind to video it, but it came as a complete surprise. The announcer called the flyer: ‘Miguel’ – but Miguel who? It bit of internet research suggests that he is Miguel Perez Senent, a Spaniard who took part in the championships held at Dunstable in June on the Sunday only (and so could not win), but was given the highest score for his ballet.

    Some fire jugglers ended the formal program in the arena by ~5pm, but there were several families who wanted a lot more, and tried to fly their own kites. I say ‘tried’ as within 30 or 40 minutes the wind, which had been strong earlier in the day, died right down to between 0 and 2mph. My friend and I found ourselves the centre of attention as we were the only ones with a kite (a dual line SUL) in the air. I got applause when my tricks failed. My friend was applauded when she (at a 5th attempt) managed to launch the kite: pull to softly and nothing much happens, pull too hard and the kite falls out of the air, pull just right and it rises gracefully 40 feet in the air. Then that family left and another large one took their place, and I was applauded as all my tricks started working (a SUL needs gentler inputs than the standard we’d been flying 20 minutes before). – That might be a little of what it feels like to perform in the arena?

    1. Glad you enjoyed the festival! Miguel is indeed Miguel Perez Senent. Freestyle competition was only on Sunday so he could have won, but was just pipped to the post by Bryan Beasley, who got higher scores for his compulsory figures. As to what it feels like to fly in the arena, do it and find out!

    2. Do it and find out? - I think the sequence nowadays is: a) enter competitions/championships, b) get good enough scores to be noticed, or get to know the right people well enough, c) get invited to fly in the arena.
      ....I/we'll hope to keep practicing and learning until we have something worthwhile to show... Give me/us another five or ten years, or so....

    3. Actually, for us it worked exactly the other way around: a) volunteer to fly in the arena at a few smaller kite festivals. b) get noticed, fly at more festivals, get to know more people, get invited to yet more kite festivals. c) get our arms twisted to fly competition.