Two years ago, long-term Oxfam stewards Gavin and Carrie let slip that they were having a very low-key wedding the week after Shambala. Fellow volunteer Fraser wasn’t going to let them get away with it:
‘I suggested that we should have a surprise wedding for Gavin and Carrie at Shambala, and the whole Oxfam team got involved. It still makes me smile to think about it.’
Fraser borrowed a marquee and plastic champagne flutes. Friends rallied around, stringing up bunting, making bouquets, a cardboard and hazard tape wedding cake, and wrote a song on the ukulele especially for the wedding.
‘I thought we’d been called to an urgent meeting!’ Gavin the groom recalled. ‘I had no idea what was happening until we stepped into the marquee and a crowd of over a hundred Oxfam stewards in fancy dress cheered.’
‘I now think of the surprise Shambala wedding as our “real ”wedding!‘ added Carrie.
The master of ceremonies was Fraser, dressed in a panda onesie, and the bride and groom had a “lucky dip” of festival-themed vows picked from a cardboard box. Loom band wedding rings made by stewards on their night-shift were exchanged, and then Carrie and Gavin were hand-fasted, using Oxfam lanyards. For their honeymoon, the happy couple were treated to a grand tour around Shambala on a golf buggy!
Last year was their first anniversary, and the tables were turned. Every steward at the festival was invited to the party. Once again, we grouped together to prepare a buffet, a new ukulele song, jugs of party punch, and the happy couple had made up goody bags to deliver to the stewards who were on shift.
‘Stewarding with Oxfam is so much more than just volunteering for your ticket. Carrie and I have clocked up about sixty Oxfam festivals between us. It’s like being in the biggest, craziest family in the world! My first Shambala was in 2007 and I’ve not missed one since. We feel like we’re part of something very special here’ – Gavin.’
A big thanks to guest blogger/Oxfam Steward since 2006/Shambala mega-fan Anne Grange of Oxfam for this blog!