Cosmic Puffin Festival
|Cosmic Puffin Music Festival|
|Location(s)||Mersea Island Youth Camp, Colchester, UK|
The aim of the event is to raise money and awareness for charities. Musicians perform entirely for free, with no fee, rider or fuel costs showing their support for the charities as well as the live music scene. The event is run and staffed by volunteers, most of whom come every year to both support and enjoy the festival.
The festival grows in terms of: bands/performers, workshops, children's entertainments, traders, food concessions and most importantly 'punters' year upon year - with many people attending year on year and each time bringing more friends. The family-friendly vibe, along with proper toilets and showers helps to make the experience even better and more comfortable!
First Festival (2008)
The first Cosmic Puffin festival was held from the 21 to 23 of March 2008. It was founded by Yammezz (Jamie Anderson) to help raise funds for (C.O.S.M.I.C.) in London, UK and the children's ward called the PUFFIN ward at the Basildon and Thurrock Hospital. Despite adverse weather conditions the Cosmic Puffin managed to raise in excess of £1000 to share between the charities.
The entry price was ten pounds, and despite the extremely adverse weather conditions (including high winds across the island and heavy snow) the event still went on. Many of the bands[who?] had to improvise their lineup as various band members[who?] were unable to reach the island due to the weather conditions.
The bands that played at the first Cosmic Puffin festival included Death By Desire, The Fancy Dress Party, Picturehouse Big Band, The Rhizomes, Saltdog, Dylan James, Darkfire, Hotwired, The Optic Nerves, The AC’s, The Hokie Joint, Purple Melon, WeirdGear, CODA, Skandal, Defferred Sucess, Laura Younger and The New Town Kings. Due to the weather there was very little in the form of other attractions for the first Cosmic Puffin festival, however there were circus workshops and fire eating/fire breathing displays
Most of the bands were filmed for free by a video crew from the music promotion company MyChoonz. The event was primarily promoted via MySpace and by word of mouth. On the 27th of March 2008 a website was created to help promote the event more effectively, to archive various media from the event and to sell tickets for future Cosmic Puffin Festivals. The website includes links to many Photographs and contains many videos from the event. Many of the bands[who?] donated tracks to a compilation CD dedicated to the Cosmic Puffin and the above mentioned charities.
In 2009 Cosmic Puffin Festival had 2 music stages (one called the COSMIC stage, the other called the MYCHOONZ stage). The festival focused on raising money for BLISS (for babies born too soon) and NAS (National Autistic Society)., both received around £1400 each. Entry price was twenty five pounds and included camping over the weekend of the 10–12 April. There were no disruptions due to weather over the weekend unlike the previous year.
There were around twice as many bands as the previous year, they included: The Fancy Dress Party, Ady Johnson, The Picturehouse Big Band, The Rhizomes, Lizzie B, Sista Suzi, Liz Williams, Kundalini Drive, Wobbly Squadron, Pro-rata (formerly CODA), Defferred Sucess, Automatic Slim, Hokie Joint, Skandal, The Iceni, Alunah, WeirdGear, Surfquake, Zubzub, The Optic Nerves, Cling, The Nanobots, The Starfighters Bob Calvert's band, House Of Thandoy featuring Mike Howlett from Gong and Basil Brooks from Zorch Zorch, DJ Weirditude, Peyote Guru, Spirits Of The Earth, Trev and Kev Trev Thoms, Peyote Mothership, Bruise, Nukli, Shom, Bubbledubble, Dream Machine, G-Delic, DJ Kozmik Ken, Electric Dub Guru, Xenon Codex, Assassins Of Silence (Hawkwind tribute band), Xoo, Dyframix, Wind Of Change and Litmus.
Other attractions included circus workshops, fire eating/breathing displays, John Row Storyteller and Poet, a hand-made willow labyrinth and a solar stage which invited people to perform improvised music sets.
After the second Cosmic Puffin festival, on 14 April 2009, an internet forum was set up for people to discuss their experiences and opinions of the event as well as making suggestions for future events. Once again many photographs and videos were added to the website 
In 2010 the festival had three stages and a dance room featuring DJs, it took place from the 2nd to the 4th of April 2010  The festival once again focused on raising money for BLISS (for babies born too soon) and NAS (National Autistic Society).
Acts included: Ady Johnson, Automatic Slim, Defferred Sucess, Dilute to Taste, The Fancy Dress Party, Hobo Chang, Hokie Joint, Lizzie B, Ministry of Loud, New Town Kings, The Optic Nerves, Phil Burdett Group, The Rhizomes, Sista Suzi, Surfquake, Vardo & the boss, Wobbly Squadron, Aurora, Bruise, Bubbledubble, Deviant Amps, DJ Weirditude, Dr Hasbeen, Flutatious, The Kozmik Ken Experience, Nuadem, Nukli, Pandemonium, Paradise 9, Peyote, Peyote Guru, Shom, Spirits of the Earth, The Starfighters, Temple Hedz, Treason and Trev & Kev.
Early bird tickets were on sale for £35 including camping for the weekend until the 15th of February 2010 Full price tickets were £45 including camping for the weekend. An extra £10 was charged for camper vans and caravans.
A Facebook group was established to compliment the MySpace page, the internet forum and the website.
Cosmic Puffin 4 was a bit of a disaster financially after the success of the first 3 due to a number of reasons (I like to blame the Royal family but it wasn’t all their fault). Due to the cost of the site at Easter, we moved the festival to an ordinary weekend a fortnight later. Bad move! This meant we only had 2 days for the event and it also meant that Cosmic Puffin followed two bank holiday weekends (Easter and the Royal wedding) and I think a lot of people were partied out. Although we didn’t actually lose money we only just covered costs because, by this time, the site was costing £5,000 for the weekend. Putting all that effort in and not achieving anything is very depressing and I was all for calling it a day but everyone else convinced me it was a glitch and that we should do it again.
Cosmic Puffin stormed back in 2012 raising £5,000!
In 2013 for Cosmic Puffin 6 we supported a new charity ALDLIFE and raised £10,000. This meant we could donate £500 to another local children's charity: Help Roxi Walk. I also personally raised £350 by selling my infamous dreadlocks, which were shaved off at the end of the festival.
Cosmic Puffin 7 is shaping up nicely with a couple of new ideas to make your weekend even more fun. We have organised some ‘silent disco’ equipment for the dance tent so they can spin discs for you for as long as they can stay awake rather than having to stop at the outside amplified sound curfew of 11.30pm; the Breaking Out Stage will be hosting a comedy slot later on in the evening when their bands have finished; and last year’s Trivia Quiz was such a roaring success it will be happening again.
- Official Cosmic Puffin website
- Help Roxi Walk website
- National Autistic Society website
- BLISS website
- ALD Life website
- Mersea Outdoors (Cosmic Puffin Venue) website
- MyChoonz independent music promotors website
- Official Cosmic Puffin Facebook group
- "Wild weather for Easter weekend". BBC News. 22 March 2008. Retrieved 30 April 2010.