Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hats off to HaarFest

It's now been a month since Fence Records' second HaarFest event, and I think I'm just about ready to regather my senses, think up a local-news-style headline, and cast a teary backwards glance over the week's events.

HaarFest is Fence's more relaxed sister-event to the now well-established Homegame. Where that festival now has about forty-five acts, crammed into several venues over one weekend of concentrated chip suppers, pear cider and hedonism, Haarfest harks back to the event's earlier days, with the music only running in one venue at a time, and with quaintly diverting activities like sack races and geological walks to fill lazy days. And pear cider.

I was running a felt hat making workshop this year, which ran across two days, to meet demand. Yes, people were mad for making felt hats, it turned out.

The premise was similar to that behind last year's successful googley-eye workshop; to start with a simple idea that then provided a jumping-off point for participants to go bat-poo-crazy with: in this respect, the results could not have been more satisfying!
HMS Ginafore had dubbed the workshop "Hardsparrow's Madhatters Hat Party", and so I felt duty bound to provide party rings and pink wafers, but a majority of these actually ended up as integral elements of people's headgear. We first made simple felt hoods, but these really began to come alive when the workshoppers started adding their own embellishments and design-twists!

You can see pictures of some of the hats on the Fence forum here.

Madhatters in Cellardyke Town Hall.

The hats were subsequently worn as part of a pageant on the Sunday, with King Creosote and HMS Ginafore leading a colourful musical procession, winding its way from the Fisheries Museum to the Cellardyke Town Hall, where a ceilidh dinner-dance brought the week's events to a climax. Later that evening, the last of the bands played, before King Creosote treated those still wobbling to carefully selected gems from his extensive collection of Eighties vinyl.

Confiscate KC's early Eighties vinyl at your peril

Sadly, I missed the church tea, the sports day, the playwriting workshops, and the Pictish Trail's musical pub-crawl, but the fascinating geological tour of the Cellardyke shoreline, and the usual sterling line-up of musical wonders (see video, top) more than made up for that. I'm sure there were other things too, moonlit swims in the Cellardyke pool, Seamus Fogarty on stage in a biscuit and feather-covered felt hat, rescuing toads, wandering around beaches in Pittenweem unable to find Jo Foster's art installation (had it washed away?).. but not much of it comes back to me with any clarity now, lost amidst the usual jumble of laughter, music, good times and drinking that constitute a Fence event! So, a big thanks for all the hard work of the organisers, and to all the inspirational hat-makers, and godspeed next year, when Haarfest will hopefully once again roll to shore.

Seamus Fogarty wears silly hat (photo by Ade Brown)

The "Cellardyke Rose"

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