Extinction Carnival: A challenge to cut the crap!

As voted for by you Shambala’s 2019 carnival theme is: Extinction Carnival. Set to be a riproaring hootenanny, celebrating creatures lost or on their way out, and pulling on the great tradition of a New Orleans Jazz funeral.

Especially because the theme demands it, we’re issuing a challenge to all Shambalans to cut the crap this year. Every year you are all utterly resplendent as you march around site on Saturday, the enormous creative effort put into each ensemble is evident. However, creating some of those serious feats of costume-making often involves a trip to the craft shop or bargain high street store where plastic tat is abundant – we’ve been guilty of it too! It’s definitely a blind spot for the UK independent festival industry committed to cutting the waste and plastic that threaten animals habitats.

As our RAW Foundation bottles state on their backs, we know 90% of plastic is not recycled properly and that by 2050 it is predicted our oceans will contain more plastic than fish. So, in our ode to our fellow earthly inhabitants, we thought it would be fitting to avoid toxic materials, say no to creating waste and not buy into a culture of costume disposability. So dressed as disco dinos and down n’ dirty dodos, we want to make sure we’re safeguarding those under threat of the sixth mass extinction event.

Responsible (glad) Rags

We asked Carnival Workshop Tent boss Hannah for some tips. Here’s how to get seriously creative with repurposed junk:

  • Carnival Workshop is for life, not just Shambala. The focus at Carnival tent is making something you can keep and cherish post-festival. Hannah’s children have rooms decked out in colourful carnival finery brought home over the years. Waiting ’til Shambala to make your outfit not only saves you luggage space, it means you’ll only be using the (recycled) materials we provide, you can meet people making and -this one’s on us – a ready made excuse for not getting your act together on time!
  • Scour your local charity shops. Home of the forgotten, the hidden gems of ages past and generally atrocious patterns rife for festival wardrobe repurposing. You can support your local charity shops and find the raw materials for dressing-up come Shambala. Think outside the box – could that shirt provide you with a yard of good fabric and the wings to your passenger pigeon? Could that rhino figurine be fastened onto a fascinator? This site finds your nearby stores in one click – easy.
  • Find a scrapstore near you. Off cuts from industrial waste and left over items from bust businesses adorn the shelves of the scrapstore. Every time you go in you will find something different.
  • Riffle through your own cupboards. What hasn’t seen the light of day for a while? Can you reuse costumes from previous parties? Do you really need another new glitter sequin shawl this season?
  • Think about what you’re using and from where Natural materials are a sure way of reducing the impact of your festival garb, however, do pause to think about more hidden impacts of  these. Feathers look great, but repurposing old plastic craft ones will definitely be better than buying into a feather industry which harms bird populations and requires a lot of energy for it’s supply chain.

Here are a handful of tips for doing something about onset mass extinction (while looking fabulous doing it)

  • Cut out palm oil – pretty much all palm oil farming, ‘sustainable’ included, poses a serious threat for keystone creatures like Orangutans, plus the countless other species inhabiting the forests being razed for palm oil crops. This goes wider in avoiding products that adversely impact threatened species.
  • Get involved in your local citizens science projects. Monitoring the wildlife we have around us is a really clear way for scientists to work out how to protect and safeguard the creatures next door. Unfortunately, funding isn’t always abundant for research on the less sexy of endangered species. Crowd-sourced data collection becomes a really important tool in creating knowledge around animal populations.
  • Make your home wildlife friendly. Having a bucket of still water, with some algae thrown in can vastly increase the wildlife using your garden or front porch. Make bug hotels for critters to make a home in. Plant flora that attracts bees, such as lavender, sedum and sage.
  • Lobby, make a noise, rebel! This isn’t an issue for the individual – we’ll need mass engagement and mass mobilisation to fight mass extinction. We need to make sure governments and corporations are taking responsibility and putting protective measures in place to preserve wildlife and their habitats.

Check out Louis Masai’s artwork which spotlights endangered species. Louis designed our limited edition bee tees this year, with proceeds going to Friends of the Earth.

We can’t wait to see what carnivalesque delights you have in store for us! Meet by the Lake on Saturday at 5:15pm.

Shambala Team x