Piercefield Park – Chepstow
Thoughts from Green Gathering 2022, from the Piercefield Park estate in Wales.
“The estate has links to colonialism and slavery. The house is now a shell, along with its extensive stable block. It is currently owned by the Reuben brothers, London-based property developers. A campaign to save and restore the building was launched by SAVE Britain’s Heritage in 2013. The house has been repeatedly marketed for sale since the early 2000s but no sale has been concluded. Despite emergency stabilising work in 2008/9, the condition of the house continues to deteriorate. “
Green gathering was founded by new age travellers and is a beautiful temporary example of low carbon living with solar stages and wind power, the festival is completely off grid. I haven’t been since I was 6 years old and I remember being taken to the camping fields by horse and cart. This year, as someone living in their vehicle and struggling to find somewhere to park, especially considering the new police and crime bill, I found green gathering frustrating. Why aren’t we allowed to live on the land like this all the time?
We went for a walk in the area before the festival began and found chicken in the woods mushrooms which we had for breakfast. Walking through the camp of big Bedford trucks and various solar inventions was reminiscent of my childhood and I felt homesick for a way of life that is now difficult to maintain in England.
(photo from camp Bestival 2022) Thinking back on the whole festival circuit and it’s appropriation of different cultures considering the history of the estates they are held on… the temporary nature of a festival which allows festival riggers like me a momentary break throughout summer from worrying about where I’m going to live, I’m angry and finding it hard to articulate why, but something just doesn’t sit right.
You can live on the land…but only for 1 weekend a year…and only if you can afford to pay for a ticket to be there.