BEYOND featured heavily at this year's Greenbelt Festival, with three events including the Communion Service. The chosen festival theme, Dreams of Home, was encountered powerfully by more than 10,000 people who turned up for the annual Sunday morning gathering. The multi-coloured ribbons being hoisted above the main stage and congregation formed an all-encompassing tabernacle that has quickly become one of the most iconic images from the festival to date. However, there have been plenty of reviews and commentaries in the post-festival media about Communion, so this space is largely to reflect on our two other 'events'.
THE GAME OF LIFE
For those of you who were at Greenbelt, you will have noticed Beyond's version of The Game of Life near the village green. Set out on the ground, the large triangular 'board' outlined a number of various paths through life. Beginning with birth, the player would flip a coin to determine whether their next move was to the right or the left, repeatedly flipping the coin on each square until the ultimate, inevitable death. Multiple possibilities ensured that each journey encountered was entirely unique and left completely to chance. Who was to say whether you'd grow up in a loving, church-going family or be adopted at the age of two? Would your later life follow a prescribed, stereotypical path given your earlier circumstances, or would you defy expectations and break the mould? The progressive stages through the game induced laughter, sorrow and surprise in equal measure as the unpredictable journey would flit between the serious and the trivial, the sincere and the flippant.
Players described their journeys afterwards with varied interpretations. Some found themselves able to sympathise with certain choices that different people make as a result of their circumstances. Turning to drugs, alcohol, Christianity, Islam, marriage or whatever it was, seemed wholly appropriate for some unsuspecting players, given their fictional background. For others, it was far more interesting to play again and again, comparing the divergent walks of life. Of course there were as many responses as there were players, but one profound uniting factor prevailed: that ultimately, they would all end up together at Home. Whatever Home is.
As you would expect, isolated images will never do the game justice as they are plucked from an all-important context. But for those of you who couldn't be at Greenbelt, below is a taster of what it involved. Our Saturday night event Unsafe Space will probably be best summed up in photos, so please check our next post. It will include 'post-secrets' from The Unsafe Safe.