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Dress for our Time at Glastonbury


We woke to Brexit news.

What a place to be when that landed.

A likely epicenter of outrage and yet the power of all that Glastonbury stands for; its ability to bring people together, to easily render us all the same, through mud, music and frankly, magic, somehow delivered many free of the immediate impact of the news.

Before Rokia Traore came onto the Pyramid stage wearing our ‘Dress for Our Time,’ a dress made out of a decommissioned refugee tent that once housed refugees in the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan, Damian Albarn had introduced the Syrian Youth Orchestra to open Glastonbury – black armband around his jacket sleeve, he delivered the indignation we were all struggling to get out of our throats. In the wings and standing in solidarity, I found a roll of black gaffer tape and strapped up my arm also.

Damian came off stage and held Rokia in a hug that seemed to last minutes – both their faces buried in each others necks, private though it was, it was symbolic of what we need.

They parted and we walked Rokia slowly over the cables and kit to the centre of the stage to where she would sing. Before she sang, she used her voice to say“ I stand with refugees, will you stand with me? “

Her music is transcendent and as people began to realize the poignancy of what she was wearing, the job that we came here to do, began to happen.

Through rain Rokia’s sound and the words of her song ‘Ne So’, written after her own visit back to a refugee camp in the country of her birth, gave this temporary city of tented people something else to connect to days before they would need to re-enter our changed world. “There’s no better place than Glastonbury to wear the incredible Dress For Our Time,” said Rokia. “We’re in the middle of a huge pop-up tented city and I’m wearing a dress made from a UNHCR tent which sheltered a Syrian refugee family for months. I’ve seen for myself the work of UNHCR supporting refugees from Mali and the difference that shelter can make to people who have lost their homes.”

May beauty, both expected and unexpected, love, expected and unexpected and sheer human grit and intelligence, get all of us out of our self made and toxic mud!

Please note this is an archive blog.


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