With heavy rain and 70,000 festival goers creating knee deep quagmires and acres of mud at the Leeds Festival held at Bramham Park, the Festival Angels, many from local churches, say they were more in demand this year than ever to provide help, somewhere to shelter, hot drinks and a listening ear.
More than a hundred and seventy Festival Angels came to serve at the August Bank Holiday weekend music festival. Their central hub, the Prayer Café was always busy, sometimes serving a hot drink every 6 seconds to grateful visitors wanting a warm, dry and welcoming place. Many campers were in need of somewhere dry to warm up with a cheap early morning cuppa after a damp uncomfortable night.
This year some Festival-goers found themselves sitting alongside a monk from the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield who joined the Angels to spend time meeting and chatting with young people.
The Festival Angels are volunteers aged 18 - 80yrs drawn from churches from across Yorkshire and beyond. This year the ‘Lost Property’ Angels, available day and night for the lost and found, welcomed visitors bringing in their finds, consoled others for their loss and joined in the celebrations with the 268 happy campers who were successfully reunited with their belongings.
The Detached Angel teams toured the vast campsites both night and day looking out for anyone in need of a helping hand or a listening ear. Whether it was helping someone put up a tent or keeping someone company who felt lonely in the crowds, the Festival Angels were there.
Nic Sheppard, one of the team, said it wasn’t just the Festival –goers who benefitted from the work of the Festival Angels. “Easily overlooked and feeling very forgotten were many isolated Security Staff whose eight hour shift in pouring rain was greatly lifted by a visit from an Angel with hot drinks, biscuits and 5 minutes for a chat.”
More information at www.leedsfestivalangels.org.uk including a great little film of Festival Angels with an interview with the vicar of Thorner.