ANRÁNFEST was, quite simply, awe inspiring

Torbay Weekly

In last week’s paper we publicised a food and music festival being held at ANRÁN on the Tidwell Farm estate in picturesque Landscove.

The farm, parts of which date back to the early 1700s, is named for the Chinese characters ‘an’ and ‘ran’ which mean 'a place of peace and tranquility'.

The barns on the property were built to last by local artisans of Devon and Cornish stone, and remain pretty much as they were way back then, when it was a dairy farm.

The event took place on Sunday and bank holiday Monday, and was held a year later than originally planned by owners Edwin and Mike, to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West and Cancer Research South.

Demand for the services that these organisations provide has always been high. Sadly it will, I am sure, have escalated during and post lockdown.

A friend from my village, Marldon, Tor Tar, runs her one-woman business, Seascape Ceramics, from a studio on the estate.

All of Tor’s pieces are influenced by our beautiful coastline. Like our beaches and coves, each item is unique.

Like the Tidwell Farm barns and most things made from natural materials and crafted with love, each is also built to last.

Tor invited me to join her and some of her Torquay-based friends at the festival on Sunday evening.

I had been to ANRÁN once early last year to see Tor’s studio, and had briefly met Edwin and walked the stunning estate, encountering a friendly gang of pigs, some recently freed battery hens and two amusingly amazing alpacas on route.

I also visited and stocked up at the organic shop where vegetables and flowers grown on the farm are sold.

It was love at first sight, so I was really looking forward to returning, and spending an evening listening to some live music and eating Asian food which, as Tor pointed out in her invitation message are 'two of your favourite things, Katie'.

To say that the evening exceeded my expectations would be a huge understatement.

ANRÁNFEST was, quite simply, awe inspiring.

When we arrived we were guided by a smiling host into a well organised parking field, and then we walked down to the entrance past the tallest sweet peas I’ve ever seen, sunflowers that looked as though they were straight off the set of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical Oklahoma! and, of course, my old friends, the pigs.

We were greeted and given Glastonbury-style wristbands, and then we wandered into wonderland.

They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and I only have 600, so I’ll direct you to Instagram to get a true impression of what Edwin and Mike had worked tirelessly with a group of equally generous local companies to create.

Sufficed to say that I felt upon arrival as though I were in a French square, was then transported to Kuala Lumpur via Japan, Thailand and India, and as for the Cow Shed that had been converted into a jazz club for the night? I have no words, except to say that had Billie Holiday or Jamie Cullum appeared, I wouldn’t have been in the least bit surprised, and that I certainly exceeded my daily 10,000-step target on the dance floor, with a Cheshire Cat grin upon my face.

Thank you and a massive well done to Edwin and Mike, two humble, creative human beings who, as well as running a profitable business, are using their gifts to do what they can to help their community, local and global, to be a better, more healthy, more inclusive place.

For images and videos visit my Instagram page or theirs @rose-coloured-katie or @anranfest. Tor is @seascapeceramics. I wish you a peaceful, healthy and joyful week ahead.