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Sam Pedro at Borofest 2023

Borofest Returns – but the weather stages a mutiny!

Glass Tent at Borofest 2023
The Glassblowing Marquee at Borofest 2023

Allow me to begin by asserting that this isn’t my first rodeo – I’ve attended every Borofest since the second event in a magical forest back in 2018. The gatherings never cease to astound with their marvellous glass-blowing spectacles and a wonderful sense of community that defines these events. 

 

Regrettably, the MET office’s yellow warning for wind proved to be rather warranted this past Saturday. Not all events unfold according to plan, and this year’s Borofest served as a stark illustration of how even meticulous organisation and a devoted team can be undermined by bad weather.

 

This year, Jim, joined by Paul and Tony from the Tottenham Cannabis Club, along with the rest of the dedicated Borofest team, coordinated the event held in Overstone Park, Northampton. Uniting glassblowers from all corners of the UK and the US, the chief objective of Borofest is to highlight the exquisite art of functional glassblowing in all its majesty.

 

The glassblowing marquee was cleverly laid out, with a counter selling glass articles at one end and the glassblowers at the other working on various glass objects.

Ronin Glass on the torch at Borofest 2023

Scheduled from the 14th to the 17th of July, this year’s Borofest also played host to a diverse community of stalls and vendors selling a broad range of items, from tantalising burgers and pizzas to our favourite variety of seeds.

 

Strategically assembled in a large circle, the assorted stalls held allure for all and sundry, enticing attendees to peruse, socialise, and unwind.

 

I made my entrance to the festival around 11:30am on Saturday, intending to revel in the day’s activities and journey home the next day.

 

Immediately upon arrival, I made a beeline for the TG Botanicals tent to reconnect with familiar faces and set up my dab rig. After a brief stint, I ventured to the neighbouring tent, the primary Borofest marquee.

 

Stepping into this tent, I was rather taken aback by the sheer quantity of wares and activities packed within, with glassblowers tucked away in their dedicated spaces along the perimeter and onlookers engaged in conversation at the centre.

 

I leisurely ambled around each glassblower, initiating conversations and gaining insights into their craft. I discovered that due to a gas supply hiccup the previous night, the artisans had commenced their work later than planned, around 10:30am.

 

Glassblowers in attendance were Mr Wolf Glass, Fat Pigeon Glass (at their first glassblowing event!), Crow Glass, Benjamin Wells Glass, Ronin Glass, Sam Pedro Glass, Scarlet Impressions and several others.

 

I was engrossed in a chat with my friend and renowned glassblower Sam Pedro, around 12:30pm when a massive crash and ensuing pandemonium unfolded as the marquee was unceremoniously lifted from my right and sent soaring into the air, eventually settling some 20 feet away. This was a sizable marquee, and there was no stopping it once airborne.

 

During its flight, the marquee toppled a portaloo which was unfortunately occupied by one of the glassblowers, necessitating a rescue operation as the portaloo fell face-down. UK Rapper Stig of the Dump who was already on crutches made a brave but ill-advised attempt to secure the tent, resulting in his injury. Although he remained conscious and seated, an ambulance was required. Apart from these two incidents, it was rather miraculous that no one else sustained any injuries.

The Borofest community swiftly sprang into action, rescuing the trapped glassblower, summoning help for the injured man and securing the marquee, which posed a threat of taking flight once again. A collective decision was reached to dismantle the marquee and, through a combined effort, it was taken down promptly, preventing any further mishaps.

 

Unfortunately, the TG Botanicals marquee was caught up in the chaos, ending up a twisted wreckage some 20 feet away along with the Borofest marquee. However, by some divine luck, nothing was damaged, including my favourite dab rig, which had remained mysteriously undisturbed on a table in the tent.

picking up the tent at Borofest 2023
Borofesters holding down the marquee after the wind blew it 20 feet away

I embarked on a tour of the remaining tents, making acquaintance with the varied stallholders and rekindling ties with old friends who had gathered to savour the weekend’s festivities. Popular Cannabis Youtuber, Drewissharing, was also amongst the attendees, and we walked around the festival grounds in unison. The weather at this juncture offered a curious cocktail of rain, wind, and sunlight in a ceaseless cycle. Thankfully, we discovered a sanctuary in the form of an inflatable igloo, strategically positioned at one side of the site.

 

Whilst the remainder of the festival was spared the fate of the runaway tents, the episode undeniably cast a pall over the day. Several hours later, the power was cut and we were informed that the event had reached its untimely conclusion.

My thoughts remain with the injured man, the poor glassblower who experienced the misfortune of being stuck in the portaloo, and of course, the commendable Borofest organisers who were in no way accountable for the severe weather. 

 

This unfortunate incident will not deter me from attending next year, and I trust that Borofest will bounce back with more vigour for the 2024 summer season.

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    Borofest Returns – but the weather stages a mutiny!