Ben Taylor who started his awe inspiring mission to throw the most amazing party love festivals on the planet, is celebrating 25 years of doing so in mid July 2018, at the next Give festival. I have written about the Kimberley festivals we attended from 2007 to 2011 (see previous blogs), and I believe I got across how magical they were for me and my husband Jake, giving us a scintillating, retirement past time and providing us with a playground in which to flirt our socks off. When Ben DJs, the venue is packed and everyone goes a bit apeshit with glee, (see photo below); it is an absolutely exhilarating experience. He really can whip a crowd into a frenzy – the true art of a DJ. I can’t wait till the next time.
Ben Taylor, as well as being a DJ extraordinaire, and House of Honey events organizer, is also a documentary film maker in often exotic locations around the world. In his busy life, he has also supported his wife Kate, a successful, innovative and brilliant editor, by looking after their family as an erstwhile house husband. He is now a devoted grandfather and looks great in his specs when he DJs. Age comes to us all.
From 2012 Ben’s parties were called Give festivals- to continue his vocation of inspiring people to give to each other. The venue at Stanford Hall is a gorgeous stately home. The great thing about Stanford Hall is that us Golden Oldies can have a beautiful room in the historic house. Whatever people say about age being just a number- we love a big double bed and bathroom. Our camping days are over. Getting up and down off floors is becoming more and more difficult. We had great fun camping in our time, but very happy not to do it anymore. And we love visiting the great party tents which the young ones decorate and make lavish.
It is so glorious that people can come together for 3 days, and after an uplifting opening ceremony, dance to the best DJs, enjoy a variety of entertainments and give each other gifts. I usually bring cherries from our garden. If I meet a Give virgin, I make sure I pop a ripe, red, juicy cherry in their mouths. (Popping one’s cherry takes on a delicious new angle on flirting!!) Or I bring some of the hundreds of organic cucumbers from the garden. This has been the subject of much hilarity. This year the lovely Jordan and his husband Nicholas has made scrubs made from eucalyptus sugar / lime-coconut / lavender-coconut, so people who are camping can enjoy a cleansing, revitalising scrub when grabbing a shower; such a thoughtful gift and just and example of the generosity and imagination of Givers.
Poonie, Ben’s sister who I wrote about in the Kimberley blogs, succumbed to cancer in 2014. She made 100s of lovingly crafted gifts to be given after her death, at the Give 2014 festival. It was a poignant year. Poonie was my great role model, and an example of a happily married woman who flirted outrageously, absolutely loved having a good time and who discovered a profound spirituality. (much more about Poonie and her influence on me in my upcoming book ‘Sexy at 70’- a Spiritual Quest). I love Poonie and she was such a wonderful part of 21 of the last 25 party years. I miss her.
Iain Easy, is a veteran of the last 25 years and is a generous, fun loving man. His great gift is to build a tree house. Here is one in construction at Stanford Hall.
This is a dedicated labour of love and as a master builder he makes a solid, safe construction. One can climb up and drink cocktails while listening to the crazy beats of DJs who play below. It has indeed become a favourite venue for DJs to play, as it is magical dancing under the trees and stars.
Shelley Fairy and her Fairy Love stall are also regulars. Shelley always puts up a paddling pool where punters can wrestle with nearly naked fairies in a bath of glitter (reponsibly sourced of course). Such fun.
Of course I love the dress up stuff and start to make party getups, sometimes months before the event. Here we are in the white year.
Probably the best year was pink where Jake helped me make an elaborate headdress to go with my pink outfit. I literally did spend months designing and envisioning this outfit down to the exotic boots, and loved every minute of it
Last year was rainbow. I loved rainbow and adored making this costume. It was also an excuse to wear a bikini. (great for a 70 year old!)
So 25 years hey? An absolute milestone. Jake and I missed the rave scene- we were busy being successful business people, revolutionising the UK energy efficency platform, bringing up 4 children and running Enlightenment Intensives. We were also planning for our retirement where we wanted to have a reasonably remote and self sufficient, lifestyle in our older years. We moved to the edge of Exmoor in 1999, the year in which Ben would have been running his 6th Kimberley festival. With the invitation and encouragement of people like Y’Aacov and Susannah Darling Khan and Julie Devine, in 2007 we started to attend the Kimberley extravaganzas and sampled seven of them, before they became the fabulous Give festivals. As well as enjoying setting up a large productive vegetable and fruit garden, and installations such as solar panels and a windmill, we loved embracing the rave scene. As I have said in earlier blogs, our relationship flowered at these events, as people saw us as hope for the future. We were golden oldies whose passion for each other was obvious. We were also retired, so could spend loads of time preparing for these festivals and then relaxing and unwinding afterwards. So Ben a huge thank you to you and your team for making our retirement so far, pretty amazing.
As for the future who knows. We adore our lifestyle as smallholders and adore being together in our piece of paradise. This means it is harder and harder to leave, Jake especially so. You will see me flouncing about in my age inapproptiate attire, for a while longer, as I love creating costumes and showing off. I’m thinking red velvet shorts with matching red velvet pillbox hat- mmmmmmm. Yes I do like it hot!!!! Can’t wait.
Love you Ben and this 25th anniversary promises to be a stonker. If you heven’t booked a ticket yet come. http://give.house/. I am also starting to collect names for my book, ‘Sexy at 70- a Spiritual Quest’ which pretty well documents our party years. I need to know what you would prefer, a book or a Kindle version. Email me at email@example.com to be on the list or come find me at Give, and I will write your name down.