Cosmic Puffin Festival
|Cosmic Puffin Music Festival|
|Dates||First May Bank Holiday weekend (Annually)|
|Location(s)||Mersea Island Youth Camp, Colchester, UK|
The Cosmic Puffin Music Festival is a charity music festival held during the May bank holiday weekend each year on Mersea Island at Mersea Youth Camp, near Colchester in Essex. It was founded in 2008 and has been celebrated each year since.
The aim of the event is to raise money and awareness for various charities. Musicians perform for free to show their support for charity. The event is run and staffed by volunteers, most of whom come every year to both support and enjoy the festival.
First Festival (2008)
The first Cosmic Puffin festival was held in 2008, from March 21 to March 22. 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, or 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. 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. Many of the bands had to improvise their lineup as various band members[who?] were unable to reach the island due to the weather conditions. Also because of the weather, there was very little in the form of other attractions for the first Cosmic Puffin festival, though 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 March 27, a website was created to help promote the event more effectively, archive various media from the event and sell tickets for future Cosmic Puffin Festivals. The website includes links to many photographs and 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 two music stages (one called the COSMIC stage, the other called the MYCHOONZ stage). The festival focused on raising money for BLISS (an organization for babies born prematurely) and NAS (National Autistic Society)., both received around £1400 each. Entry price was twenty-five pounds and included camping over the weekend of April 10 to April 12. There were no disruptions due to weather over the weekend unlike the previous year.
There were 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.
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.
In 2010, the festival had three stages and a dance room featuring DJs from April 2 to April 4.  The festival once again focused on raising money for BLISS (for babies born prematurely) 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.
A Facebook group was established to complement 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 three due to a number of reasons. Due to the cost of the site around Easter, the festival was moved to a different weekend two weeks later. Bad move! This meant we only had two days for the event and it also meant that Cosmic Puffin followed two bank holiday weekends (Easter and the Royal wedding). The festival lost money
Cosmic Puffin stormed back in 2012 raising £5,000!
In 2013 Cosmic Puffin 6 supported a new charity: ALDLIFE; and raised £10,000. The festival donated £500 to another local children's charity: Help Roxi Walk. Founder Jamie Anderson also raised £350 by selling his infamous dreadlocks, which were shaved off at the end of the festival.
- 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