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GREENBELT: Festival news

23 January 2008

IT IS TEMPTING to imagine that an annual festival like Greenbelt slumbers once the dust has settled after August, emerging, bleary-eyed, the time the clocks go forward, to think about the coming summer.

That’s not really true. Planning Greenbelt is a year-round pursuit. It has its own particular rhythms of reflection and action, but can never take its feet off the pedals.

In terms of reflection, we’re left to ponder how we got away with an August bank holiday of blazing sunshine after the wettest summer on record. Reading the apologies issued by the organisers of the WOMAD festival to thousands of disgruntled festival-goers (who arrived at their event just as 22mm of rain fell on Berkshire in just two hours) makes us realise how precarious an endeavour this is.

On the action front, after an autumn of review and restructure, we have a reshaped staff team in place, ready to meet the challenges of a growing festival in an ever-more competitive festival marketplace. And we’re starting to think how our theme, “Rising Sun”, can play out across Cheltenham Racecourse from 22 to 25 August this year. Soon we’ll start to announce the first names we’ve booked.

Updates on www.greenbelt.org. uk; there is a 15-per-cent discount on tickets booked before the end of March. First-time church leaders go free.
As the fever of day calms towards twilight
May all that is strained in us come to ease.
We pray for all who suffered violence today,
May an unexpected serenity surprise them.
For those who risk their lives each day for peace,
May their hearts glimpse providence at the heart of history.
That those who make riches from violence and war
Might hear in their dreams the cries of the lost.
That we might see through our fear of each other
A new vision to heal our fatal attraction to aggression.
That those who enjoy the privilege of peace
Might not forget their tormented brothers and sisters.
That the wolf might lie down with the lamb,
That our swords be beaten into ploughshares
And no hurt or harm be done
Anywhere along the holy mountain.

Taken from Benedictus: A book of blessings, published by Bantam Press, £12.99

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