Quakers at Greenbelt 2015

The Greenbelt festival, which has run every year since 1974, is a celebration of Christianity with a strong social justice and environmental agenda. This year the festival returned to Boughton House, Kettering.

The Quaker presence at Greenbelt 2015 was significantly extended with Quakers in Britain being a festival associate. Quaker activities included hosting discussions and kite-making workshops, as well as storytelling, singing, panel debates and meetings for worship in the Quaker dome. Northamptonshire Quakers looked after the Quaker stand in the G-source tent during the four days of the festival.

Quaker dome at Greenbelt 2015

The Quaker dome provided a focal point for our activities, including storytelling and the Fly Kites Not Drones workshops. These workshops engaged with children to learn about the lives of those threatened by weapon bearing drones while making kites, which they later flew.

Flying kites at Greenbelt 2015

Image by Maya Evans

The talks and discussions that took place over the weekend were a prominent feature of Greenbelt. Quakers in Britain ran a programme of interactive discussions on the theme of community and conflict, by posing the questions;

  • Can the causes of conflict be found in the way in which we structure society,
  • who is part of our community, and
  • how can we challenge one another in love?

Three Quakers led the audience through the questions speaking from their own experiences and exploring many perspectives.

Quaker stand at Greenbelt 2015

Being in our home county, Northamptonshire Quakers were again keen to participate in the event, especially following our experience last year. This year we supported the Quaker presence by looking after the Quaker stand in the G-Source tent, an exhibition area where organisations meet and promote themselves to festivalgoers.

Quaker stand at Greenbelt 2015

Seventeen of us took turns to be on the Quaker stand and answer, or try to answer, the various questions posed by festivalgoers. These turned out not to be as challenging as we feared mostly focusing on general information about Quakers or specific issues, such as Quaker views on Christianity or attitudes to homosexuality. Many people also commented on how pleased they were to see a greater Quaker presence at the festival.

While the weather was varied, sunny on Friday and Saturday and wet on Sunday and Monday, our personal experiences were positive with everyone gaining from the interaction with others, the insights from the various lectures and discussions, and of course the wonderful music.

Everyone has been very positive about participating in next year’s festival. With many people visiting the Quaker stand and lots requests for further information passed to Quakers in Britain, we hope Northamptonshire Quakers can be part of Greenbelt 2016.

You can find more images in the Gallery.