Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Minchinhampton Kite Festival

Following our appearance at Minchinhampton Kite Day last year, we were invited back for 2018, and now for a fully-fledged weekend-long festival. As some of you know, Minchinhampton Kite Festival almost didn't happen, until Alfie Jobbins managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat: 'Minch' was back on, on a different site: Tobacconist Farm camp site.

So, for the second year running, Minchinhampton was the opener of our festival season. Weather wasn't the greatest: both days saw overcast skies, on-and-off drizzle, and very low winds. As always in these festival blog posts, I focus on the pair/team-flying.

And there was a good line-up of that! First off, Flame, in a new line-up (Vee replacing retired Tony), getting some final festival practice in prior to flying at the World Championships.

Next up, Airheads. Vee was kept busy!

Moving over to quads, Amalgamation performed as a pair, featuring Tom and Jeremy.

And then on to Flying Fish. Given the very low wind, which occasionally dropped down to almost nothing, we decided to stick to our Ruthless Queen and Adiemus routines, as these are not so strictly choreographed to music as Chariots. First slot, we really needed to get our brain in festival-gear again, but the subsequent slots went pretty well.

Saturday afternoon, the wind picked up a bit, and we decided to risk giving our pair of Symphony foils their festival debut. Risk paid off, and we'll definitely fly these more often at festivals this year!

Even though the field was rather small, we decided we couldn't let the opportunity pass of having Flame, Airheads, Amalgamation and us fly in a mixed dual/quad mega-team. Hard work in the very low winds, especially for the two quad-flyers!

In addition to the pairs and teams I mentioned above, one more pair was present at the festival: Twisted Bridle. They are new to pair-flying, and we've taken them under our wings, coaching them and helping them where we can. With no arena experience at a festival, they were really thrown in the deep end Sunday morning: 10-strong mega-team, surrounded by Airheads, Flying Fish and Flame.

They told me afterwards it was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, but they really held their ground, given their lack of experience, and the very low winds; well done to both of you! Later that day, we also flew with them in a 4-strong team; I don't think any pictures of that were taken, but Twisted Bridle have well and truly arrived at the UK kite festival scene.

As usual, I took lots more pictures of the kites and people at the festival, and they can be seen here. One kite I'll pick out here: the festival debut of Amarinth; isn't he gorgeous?

Picture credits: Neil Lover, Alan Pinnock, Jeremy Wharton; video credit: Neil Lover

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