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In 2019 I helped to create Woody Farm Fest on Woolengrange farm in Co. Kilkenny. As far as we knew this was Ireland’s first off-grid festival and it was designed to deliver a positive response to climate change challenges. Music, art, food, and sustainability contributed to the not-for-profit event which we established to raise money to plant more native Irish trees and woodlands.

This one-day event aimed to promote environmental awareness whilst having a bit of fun. We provided a full day of entertainment with live musicians and DJs, locally sourced home-grown food, solution-focused environmental discussions, an eco-farm walk and talk, renewable energy demonstrations, and an art auction. In the end, this event raised a massive €8,000.

My roles during this festival gave me a great deal of experience in team management, collaboration, creative focus, and timekeeping. I was involved in the set-up and take-down process and provided the graphic design work and social media activities. I also set-up some of my artworks and created a number of artistic experiences dotted around the farm. This farm had been my home which I had maintained and created, in collaboration with nature and with the help of Workaway volunteers.

A silent art auction was set-up and run by Lighthouse Studios, Cartoon Saloon, and Blackstack Studios in one of the larger sheds. Their members created all of the artworks on sale which they donated freely to help support the festival.

The artworks that I presented included a giant recycling robot called ‘Recyclor’, a theatre space with a costume room, sculpture of the Moon, and set of wooden wings. I also cut, sanded and hand-painted a mountain of signage. It was honestly a crazy few weeks and I discovered real anxiety for the first time in my life. The farm was also my home at the time so there was no getting away from the preparations. Soon after the festival the wheels fell off the relationship that I was in and faith sent me packing. It was a tough life lesson that thought me a lot about friendship, managing expectations, work life balance and taking care of my creative self-confidence. Heartbreak is never easy but life is sweeter now that I have found my own path. There were some wonderful times throughout this process and I wouldn’t want their memories to be tainted by the ending.

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