events / teachings

Beacons 2014

Just like last summer, I went to Beacons Festival as part of the Loosely Bound Zining Collective and offered zining workshops to festival goers each of the three days.

I took on the co-ordinator role this year, which meant I: submitted out application (which I counted towards my Live Projects module in second year); was the key contact for Beacons; got all the paperwork in place, eg risk assessments, public liability insurance, parking passes; made sure the volunteers from the Collective were up to speed on plans; ensured all the kit we needed to deliver the workshops was purchased and brought to the event; and handled the funding and budget.

I really enjoy project management and being organised, however it is different working with what is effectively a group of volunteers compared to a paid team. I was very thankful that the Loosely Bound bunch were very committed to delivering the workshops and didn’t have to deal with any MIA issues.

The only issue that I had was running up to the festival, I left it a bit tight to one deadline as Beacons were asking us for information we were not ready to supply, for example times of arrival etc. This was because all of us were working full time and were unsure of how we were planning our arrivals around our work commitments. I kept Beacons up to date with what was happening, why, and when we would know. This seemed to satisfy both them and us.

About three weeks before the festival we all met to organise ourselves. We identified items we had from last year that we could take, what we needed to replace or upgrade from last year and what new items we needed to follow the additional print theme this year, and what other resources we needed. We allocated people with different tasks and because I would be invoicing Beacons I was to purchase the majority of the new items. Because of my interest in handmade graphics I also said I would create some posters to hang in the tent to advertise the activity. We also discussed how we would deliver the zining experience and how to deliver on our chosen theme and workshop title Paper+Print+Peaks.


To help get inspiration for the posters and other decorations we had talked about, I started a Pinterest board that followed our theme of peaks, ie the triangle from the Beacons logo.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 15.50.35

In doing that I found this picture….“Important” by Fred One Litch


This gave me the idea to use rows of triangles and type. I thought about how to make the poster and the materials laid down the restrictions:

  • You paper I had available to me was wallpaper lining so I could only go 900mm wide and the length couldn’t be more than 1500mm because of the height of the tent and the ways of fixing it so it doesn’t hit the ground
  • It had to be hand made, so no printing
  • Festival goers would have old magazines to cut up so my triangles should come from them
  • Type needs to stand out against the collage so black was the most obvious in chunky style, sans serif for ease of cutting and extra weight

I did some thinking of the keys messages and some counting of letters and some measuring of resources and concluded that I could lay out rows downward pointing triangles and use the negative space to fit in the title of the workshop. I didn’t sketch out the design other than enough to do the sums – I just got on and started cutting and sticking.


I should really have sketched it out more, as although the poster isn’t bad, it would have looked better a little something different between the big ‘zine’ and the start of the triangles – maybe a row of smaller triangles, or the diamonds like the poster ends with.

I very carefully measured my paper so I would start on a straight line, but that straight line didn’t last long; with every row the triangles moved right a little. Again better forward planning and giving myself a little more time to do the whole project would have helped.

Likewise for the type – more forward planning would have helped as they are very irregular. I would say if it was for anything but a very handmade kitchen-table type activity the posters wouldn’t have worked, but for a zining workshop, for festival goers who may never have zined before, or my not want to be super focussed or neat with an activity, they gave the right impression.

I made the posters at home, hand drawing and cutting all the shapes.

The final poster looked really good in the tent and provided a great backdrop for photos and filming as it looked modern and creative and gave context.

whateverI thought the tent would need a second poster, one with a call to action. Thinking about the triangles in the first poster, and the collaborative bunting zine we were making, I decided to do a triangle poster. I love the bright colours in this images that I had collected on Pinterest and thought it would be great to do an exciting, colourful and inviting poster to help tell people what to do in the workshop if someone from the Collective wasn’t able to speak to them and help them.


I hand cut out all the letters from coloured card. I had designed it using a computer and printed the letters out, cut them out, then stuck them to the coloured paper and cut them out again. I added some line features made from Washi tape to finish the poster off. I carefully thought about what I wanted to say on the poster, then tried to break it down into decreasing lines, and then measured it all out carefully. I started running out of time and patience so I stopped cutting out the centres of the letters.

The positing of this poster in the tent was really good. It was at the back as you come in and pointed straight down to where a row of people sat on the ground on cushions zining. I wish the poster had been bigger but it was within the constraints of the resources and if I’d add two sheets together it would have caused too much curl.

As it was I really struggled with the curl of the backing paper. I glued a couple of layers of mounting card at the bottom and top of each poster as well as using pegs to weigh it down, but there was still a lot of curl. I even store the posters overnight in the reverse roll but the desire for the paper to curl was very strong.


In terms of the actual workshop, we prepared for people to make a mini tepee that they could decorate, a piece of reversed bunting that they hung up in the tent with everyone else’s to make a collaborative bunting zine which we would later publish as a proper zine, or they could make a more traditional z-fold zine.

The bunting worked really well and people even brought their friends and family in later or the next day to see their’s and the new ones that had been hung up.

Last year we offered much longer workshops, but this year we only did 11 to 2. We had to throw people out and grab arts equipment off them so we could tidy up in time for the 2/2.30 performance that was happening in the tent. I think longer workshops would have went down really well.


I got my first ever DSLR camera not long before Beacons so decided to take it along to the festival to test it’s filming ability and develop my own growing interest in filming making. I shall write a separate blog post about this.


One thought on “Beacons 2014

  1. Pingback: Beacons: the movie | KJG that's me

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