Lestival 2

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The 2nd Leicester Convention 2009


After Plumsie asked so nicely Nicky & I made our way to Brockington College for the 2nd Lestival. We arrived on site just after 10:00 after a nicely traffic free drive up the M25 & M1. The college provided a fantastic venue with nice high ceilings, good light & trees growing inside too.

The kiosk was serving a nice cup of tea & various other snacks & refreshments at juggler friendly prices. Halfway through the day Physiomonkey was telling us that last year they had a load of goodies from a local Indian restaurant when it was announced over the PA system that the Indian food had just arrived. I enjoyed what Alan referred to as an Atom Bomb, which was a very tasty ball of various spicy things & potato, covered in a thin skin of dough.

There was quite a lot of juggling going on. Lots of people were doing various tricks balancing 2 clubs, one on each hand. Things like a 2 club split multiplex throw into the balance, half flips & arm curls. Jon Peat was juggling 2 balls on one foot. There was a chap riding a biverticycle down in the sunken studio. If you got the angle just right you could watch him ride along but only see the top wheel so it looked like he was peddling backwards but gliding forward on a regular unicycle which was pretty surreal.

There were a number of bounce jugglers too, apparently the raised bumps on the floor doesn't affect the bounce enough to be noticeable.

Nicky may finally be coming round to the idea that she is not cursed at backgammon after beating twice out of 3 games. Instead she thinks that Owen is a lucky charm.

In the evening the local chippy was enjoying a roaring trade from us jugglers. Back on site there were a number of groups on the picnic tables & out on the lawns enjoying the sun. Nicky & I enjoyed our chips with Andy, Mini & Emily & this for me was the best part of the festival. The most important part of a festival is the other attendees.

The Games

The games were held down in the sunken studio & presided over by Mini Mansell. They were the sweariest games I've experienced to date. The way the games were managed were dictated by Mini's limited attention span. The club balancing was cut short by making people balance the club on their shoulder which very few people could manage for more than 3 seconds. Most of the other games were shortened by inviting the spectators to throw balls at the competitors,

One of the most fun games was a race which began with a Le Mans start to the other side of the hall where you had to pick up three props then juggle back to the other side, up the steps, round a pillar then back down the steps & return to the other side. I'm a pretty good sprinter so I was able to get to my props first & being the good sportsman that I am, scatter as many of the carefully laid out clubs as far as possible, I was one of the first round the pillar but stupidly dropped among the melee of people coming up the stairs as I was trying to get down. The first race wasn't manic enough for Mini so the 2nd attempt was conducted under a rain of juggling balls thrown by the spectators.

The Show

In a break from the norm our first act was a troupe of Bhangra Dancers performing a medley of contemporary Bhangra including a tribute to Michael Jackson (did they know something we didn't) all of which was very good but they went on too long for me. Andy Wakeford did a very nice spot with two fluffy staves, which was smooth & well put together. However, he was mildly upstaged by stage hand Lily who used one staff to sweep the stage. Closing the first half was Jon Peat being his usual sensational self throwing 3 balls every which way amp; in various implausible contorting combinations while bopping to happy sounds.

The Void brought back the kendama act we saw at Bungay with a few alterations which went down very well with everyone. Recent circus school graduate Felix Feldman did lots of nice tricks with a book & 3, 4 & 5 clubs making good use of an unusual prop using the book to catch, grab & swing clubs, throwing the book like a plate & even using it as a blindfold. Very nice indeed.

Headlining the show were Sebastian Heller & Miriam Willems as The Football Jugglers, a classic big stage act with a mix of toss juggling, rolling, spinning & soccer tricks & some very impressive handstand & antipodism from Miriam. It was all very slick & very high skill but sadly the presentation was one of my personal peeves where every (pose & smile) single (pose & smile) trick (pose & smile) was followed by an applause point. At times it seemed to me that there were applause points for the applause points. But that aside they were very good.

It was a really nice festival apart & Nicky & I both had a great day.