Fun up on the farm: BarnCamp 2011
Well I've just about recovered from BarnCamp 2011, which was held once again at the beautiful location of Highbury Farm above the village of Redbrook in the Wye Valley. This was the fourth year of this event organised by HacktionLab, the tech-activist collective I'm involved in.
After much blatting about Oxford and Bristol picking up equipment and food, we arrived on-site on Wednesday afternoon (8th June) at around 4pm and, after offloading the van, which was packed to the gunnels, had a mellow evening down at the splendid Boat Inn, across the Wye in the Welsh hamlet of Penallt.
Thursday is where we kicked into gear big time, setting up the main marquee that was to be used as a workshop space, setting up the tattered old Bristol Wireless party tent, to be used at the kids space (aka BairnCamp) and tidying out the barn, the main entertainment, workshop and general hanging out space. Lots of cables were connected up and lots of straw bales used to build tables with.
At least half of the people arrived by Thursday evening and Friday was spent in an all day hack session on Drupal and aggregation, hosted by Be The Media, as well as a session on Radio, hosted by the brand-new Catalyst Radio project. I got involved in playing music around the campfire on Thursday and Friday nights, most enjoyable, and great to jam with Ben, Mick and Martian again.
The day continued with lots of other stuff, on Bitcoins, TOR, soldering 12 volt lights, games of chess, Ben's Wild Food Walk - which I went on and which after snacking on sorrel, jack-by-the-hedge, wild garlic, St John's Wort, ground Elder, clover and a few other plants I can't remember, we ended up back at the Boat with a packet of pork scratchings - as about as wild as you can get with food!
The evening's entertainment was pretty good, and marked the launch ceremony of Catalyst Radio. After a rather weird performance from the Vague Sketch, we were charmed with some songs in Spanish all about death and stuff like that and then we were subjected to a History of Raveoke, which was hillariously funny, and a hardcore techno session with fractal visuals to boot.
We awoke on Sunday to the pouring rain, but unpeturbed, we carried on with another set of workshops, ate lunch and said our goodbyes, to a BarnCamp that once again was an excellent and enjoyable convergence space, and once again went past too quickly.
Excellent food from the Highbury Farm kitchen, excellent cider and ale from the on-site bar, a load of inspiring people, workshops and ideas, and lots of exciting proposals for the future.