Here at Aerosaurus we’ve had the great pleasure of spending the weekend at the Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival 2014! It was an absolutely brilliant weekend and we all loved every second. We’re very grateful to all the visitors for having us and being so great throughout the weekend. Now we’re back and ballooning across the South West once again, but we just wanted to share some memories from the weekend with you…
What’s so great about the festival is that each year it raises money for local charities. Over the past three years Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival has raised over £25,000 for local charitable organisations, and this year its main charities were Devon Air Ambulance and Children’s Hospice South West. With such great causes to support and a wonderful way of doing so that shows the public the delights of ballooning, the oldest form of flight, we couldn’t have been more happy to be involved!
As all the balloon pilots started setting up camp and getting their flying gear out we knew it would be an amazing event. Months of preparation had finally come together as the site looked great and was already buzzing with people by Friday afternoon. Over the weekend we experienced some awesome flights, incredible live music, great food and loads of other amazing entertainment!
On Saturday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday morning, a selection of the balloons at the festival took off for mass ascents, flying booked visitors over the surrounding area. Unfortunately on Friday evening and Sunday evening Tiverton experienced some very windy weather which was unsafe to fly in. However, across the weekend we managed to get loads of happy passengers up in the air and gazing down at the wonderful surrounding scenery of Tiverton nonetheless. It was so great to be involved in these mass ascents and see visitors grinning from ear to ear with a glass of champagne in hand as the run rose or set.
There was even a hopper balloon participating – which is a form of ballooning where a single pilot sits in a chair below the burner, rather than a basket, and floats through the skies. It’s an adrenaline-rich form of flying, but is a lot of fun, and after all, the more kinds of ballooning, the better!
Everyone loved seeing the balloons get rigged up in the main arena and take off elegantly in a rainbow of colour with balloons of all shapes and sizes. We even had many messages about visitors who had enjoyed watching the balloons glide through the skies above their house as they had breakfast before heading to the festival site!
The Fire and Light Show on Friday and Saturday night was a true headliner for the festival. A real spectacle to see like no other, several balloons and their crew from across the South West came together in the main arena along with model balloonists and fire-juggling (and even fire breathing) circus skills performers to put on an astounding show all synchronised to specially arranged music. On Friday there were loads of balloons arranged in a diagonal line with models and circus performers, and on Saturday we all mixed it up with slightly fewer balloons along with baskets, where the audience could really see the flames roar, and even more model balloons and circus acts!
As we puffed and burned, model balloons floated , puffing their miniature burners and letting down brilliant parachutes, and the fire performers displayed their daredevil acrobatics, the crowd was awash with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’. Fire lit up the skies and, according to the visitors, looked just stunning against the stars and a full moon. Both nights were great and we loved being involved!
Music was a huge part of the festival this year, and we loved heading down to listen to the amazing live acts between balloon flights! There were two stages – the Origins Stage, which showcased local budding talent, and the Main Stage, where popular acts entertained the crowds. Friday night’s music geared up with Ten Zero One as we rocked out with the crowd, and the atmosphere built throughout the evening as the crowd went mad for headliners Mad Dog Mcrea. We even caught a few of the hilarious acts at the Comedy Night from the Origins Stage!
On Saturday we sat by the Origins Stage with a delicious coffee from the Beanbug Coffee Trike and listened to the haunting melodies of Kiera Osment and the acoustic-folk tunes of Ellie Jacobs. Later on, we headed over to the Main Stage Zuri Aura and the head-bobbingly brilliant headliners Cut Capers.
On Sunday at the Origins Stage we enjoyed the rhythmical acoustic songs of Josh Kemp and boogied to Gypfunk. By the Main Stage we caught awesome artists from the well-renowned Land of the Giants to DJs such as Hidden Riddim. We can’t tell you enough how great all of the musicians we saw were, and we had such a great time listening to established and new artists throughout the weekend!
Another aspect of the Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival that was absolutely excellent were the workshops. We watched in awe as members of the public learned how to handle majestic birds of prey with Dartmoor Falconry, listened to the catchy pounding beats of the Chai Chapel’s Japanese and African-inspired drumming workshops and caught some impressive potential talent with their beatboxing workshops and open mic events. There were also some future footballers in the Alternative Football World Cup, where inflatable beach balls were used to create a tournament of entertaining games that were great to watch.
The STEM workshops and Learning Dome planetarium (run by a pilot!) were also a great success with children and adults alike, learning about science, engineering, technology and maths in extremely fun ways – even with life-size Angry Birds! Throughout the day it was a delight to see many people juggling and hula-hooping on the grass in the circus skills workshops which lit up the site in an array of colours and big grins. Pete the Poet got many visitors thinking creatively with his fantastic poetry workshops, even creating a beautiful collaborative balloon painting which was auctioned off, raising £500 for the festival’s charities!
Another great experience were the public interactions. Each day, several balloon crews assembled in the main arena and over 100 volunteer members of the public of all ages were invited to come in and form teams, helping to rig a balloon up. This was a great way to let the visitors learn about balloons and how they work, finding out how to inflate the envelope and then get all the air out at the end. Getting the public involved in ballooning and finding out about how the balloons work, to share the great fun of the activity with everyone has always been one of the festival’s key aims, and it was certainly achieved this year!
It was a great team building activity too, and everyone was smiling as they raced to get the balloons ready. A competition was announced, so we all worked at top speed to get the balloons ready as the rest of the crowds watched with bated breath. We always love taking part in the public interactions because we get to meet great new people and spread the word about this brilliant activity!
The Tiverton Balloon and Music Festival was certainly one to remember, and such a great event to be a part of!