That’s right – having planted the inner circle of our festival grove with native trees, and with a plan to plant two outer rings over the next two years, we received the go-ahead to erect a standing stone in the centre, in time for this summer’s festival, to commemorate the 10th Green Gathering in the rolling meadows and woodland of Piercefield Park.
We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate both our 10th Green Gathering in this precious place, and also the first wondrous coming back together since the pandemic.
This will be a memory stone; a huggable stone; a stone we can lean against when we remember friends who’ve died, when we grieve for lost biodiversity, and when we celebrate life with our community.
To us, the tradition of standing stones is one of this country’s best. Across the UK, they’ve stood since before churches, before town halls, before governments. Most of them are shrouded in mystery (and one day will ours be too?!), but as a result, tantalising folklore and legend abound wherever stones stand. Were they erected as calendars? For ceremonies? Did they represent simply the market posts for gathering traders? Or are they the frozen forms of giants who once walked our lands?
Whatever the reason they were originally created, stone circles and groves have been places for gathering, celebration and ritual for centuries. They can mean whatever you need or want them to – and ours will do that for you too.
From early Celts, gathering in secret at Callanish on Lewis regardless of new laws prohibiting doing so from the church, to the modern day where revellers and travellers continue to gather at Stonehenge for solstices despite bans and blockades over the decades, standing stones seem to bolster our defiance. Laws may change, governments come and go – but the stones remain standing, resilient and present for us throughout the years.
In keeping with the history and landscape of Piercefield Park and its surroundings which are dotted with grottoes and follies, there is a Welsh cultural tradition of erecting standing stones. It’s not just the 30 you can find scattered across the Brecon Beacons; they’ve been erected in modern times too. For example, a full stone circle was raised in Dolgellau for the 1949 National Eisteddfod of Wales.
The Green Gathering itself has a history of adding places to focus energy on its festival sites, having raised stone circles in two locations previously. As you probably know, we pride ourselves on being a low impact, leave no trace festival – so here’s the one reminder we are willing to leave that shows that together – you and us – we gather and create something special in this little corner of the world.
The crowdfund target has been raised to cover the costs of purchasing, transporting and planting a beautiful hunk of tough, ancient granite in the centre of our Grove.