The Festival of Joy began as an event to celebrate the joyous care of community and people in 2002.
It is held in the Blue Mountains Community Gardens, and organised by the gardens volunteers.
In 2005, among the avenues of blossom hanging in full bloom from gentle arcades of overhanging apple tree walks and quince, hazelnut and plum groves about 1,000 people strolled and partook of the free entertainment and cheap wholesome food for a day.
Council kindly arranged for the use and construction of a substantial stage area, and many groups and performers sang and played their hearts out to an appreciative audience, surrounded by a poplar circle decked with specially made streamers and flags.
There were tents handing out information on community groups and some free healing sessions in another.
One highlight was the unveiling launch of the classically inspired and beautifully built labyrinth, laid over many months of hard word and loving care by the regular group of gardening, meditating folk who come the gardens on Fridays. (The gardens are open every day, and many visiting groups come, but this is the day the regulars are sure to be about)
Children with candles suspended in start lanterns, made on the day in a workshop up one end, trailed down the slope above the creek and in procession to the labyrinth, and a dance troupe performed on the labyrinth in the gathering dusk.
A great papier mache ball, painted white, turquoise and gold was filled during the day with wishes and blessings from the days visitors, and with fanfare was set ablaze, igniting all wishes with divine energy of spirit and matter, releasing them upwards to God.
The labyrinth was launched, walked, and blessed by visiting monks in robes of buddhist, hindu and other eclectic spiritual pathways, and we went home feeling happy and satisfied that people had come together with such ease for such a happy relaxed day.
Some of the wonderful people involved in organising the last Festival of Joy included: Gill Brame, Michael Byrt, Richard (& his dog Elsa and volkswagon Veronika), Nigel Glassey, Geoffrey Smith from the BMCC (local Council), Supapon, Sava, Christine, Amelie, all the performers, Rob Hanley (so many wonderful others) Janet Woodworth and many others. We thank all those who came, and were involved.
[more pictures on flickr]