Over The Moon Festival has been around for years in various guises, but stays true to its ethics. Corporate sponsorship and traditional promotion are rejected in favour of healing tents, an outdoor sauna and workshops on naturally contraceptive love-making and how to create your own organic herbal moisturiser. The shot-girls meandering through the crowd were touting guarana and health vitamins, not vodka. Dogs and children roam free, the scent of marijuana wafts freely on the breeze and reggae beats emanate from every vegetarian food stall.
Such unadulterated hippy-fests often get a bad press. If you’re into talks about sustainable energy and astrology, this would have been a haven for you, but if you think all that’s for dreadlocked bare-footers who want to meditate over their muesli, it was just as easily avoided. The site was well laid-out with the quieter areas tucked away, and the music tents offered a stellar line-up, with Freestylers and The Hackney Colliery Band attracting big crowds. The Physics House Band’s psych-rock set on Friday evening showed why their star keeps rising, Transformer’s dance grooves inspired some wild dancing and Eagles For Hands’ set was another highlight, infusing house-heavy beats with vocal samples to great success.
Carnival Collective took the main stage on Saturday afternoon and, as always, whipped the assembled crowd into a frenzy, with funk, drum and bass and ska to make your feet jive. Various DJ collectives including BN1 and Numerology played between bands, meaning the music never needed to pause. And elsewhere nipple-tasseled cabaret artists mingled with musicians, puppeteers and masked revelers.
With acts billed until 5am and a bar open until 6am, this calm and earthy festival turned into a raving, glittery wilderness at night. There’s something about stumbling across a naked shaman worshipping a fire that makes you realise this wasn’t as tame as the workshop itinerary would suggest. Over The Moon was a traditional, old-fashioned festival that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in the early nineties – more of a temporary community start-up than a typical corporate money-spinner, with organisers who place a higher value on participation and sharing skills than on making a profit or fitting into the mainstream. Even the poor weather didn’t dampen spirits, making Over The Moon was the perfect way to close the festival season.
Over The Moon Festival, 13th-15th September 2013
Words by Jessica Marshall McHattie
Photos by Tom Undrell