Peace Camp: 'A heavenly sunset, a sky full of stars'

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Peace Camp, a celebration of love poetry and landscape involving beautiful coastal locations around the country, and part of the London 2012 Festival, came to an end tonight. Write Out Loud’s Ann Foxglove witnessed the installation in Cornwall from the clifftop overlooking  Godrevy island on Saturday night. This is what she experienced:

"Gosh! A bit of Olympic culture coming to Cornwall - I really didn't want to miss it. But looking at my bus timetable it seemed almost impossible to get to Godrevy for the Peace Camp. Luckily for me I bumped into a friend who was going along to help as a steward so I offered my services and got a lift there - as well as her lovely company - and the chance to wear a high viz jacket for the evening.

For those who haven’t heard about it, Peace Camp is part of the 2012 Festival and was dreamed up by Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw. The original Olympic ideal was for a truce between nations for the duration of the games, and a flowering of love generally. Sounds good!

Eight encampments appeared simultaneously at coastal locations from County Antrim to the tip of Cornwall, from the Isle of Lewis to the Sussex cliffs. Godrevy was chosen as one of the sites for this event. It is an island in St Ives Bay and home to an iconic lighthouse. Thirteen golden glowing tents were placed on the island and as night fell they certainly exerted some magic. Of course, the beauty of the evening helped – a heavenly sunset was followed by a sky full of stars and the lapping of waves, with just the occasional sea bird calling.

At the other sites you could walk between the tents and from each tent an audio would emanate, so you could listen and then wander about freely. At Godrevy the installation was on the island, and we were on the headland looking out to sea and to the island. For those wanting more aural stimulation there was a soundscape of images available on headsets. This included an interesting selection of love poetry – my fave, The Song of Wandering Aengus by WB Yeats.

As stewards we stood on the footpath - we had a clicker to count how many attended - but as we left before the end I don't know how many people were "clicked", although I would say between 100-200 turned up while we were there. We explained the idea of Peace Camp, although many visitors already knew about it from the website. We were there for health and safety too, even if just to advise people not to go too near the cliff edge in the dark. 

Peace Camp lasted from dusk until dawn but my friend and I were allowed to leave at midnight as it had got pretty quiet by then. Stumbling back to the car in the pitch darkness we agreed it would be nice to get warm again – and that we’d had a fabulous experience!

Peace Camp finished tonight but you can contribute to a virtual online Peace Camp. Visit to add a poem or photograph, a comment, message or dedication. This will enable the British Library to create an online anthology for their archives. The audio is also available to download – well worth it!”

Photograph: Ann Foxglove


◄ Drysdale, Wyton and Poetry Factory to read at Cheltenham

Climbing Postcards: Judy Kendall ►


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Ann Foxglove

Mon 23rd Jul 2012 20:19

Thanks Greg. I really enjoyed the experience! Should have said that twelve tents were orange - one tent was white - but I don't know why.....

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Greg Freeman

Mon 23rd Jul 2012 12:55

Thanks for this atmospheric piece, Ann, which has thrown some light on these mysterious installations. A great picture as well, even if Write Out Loud maybe does not show its full scope!

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