The Oak Tree Project


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This is the story of the oldest tree on the Glastonbury Festival site, in the back corner of the Green Kids field, within the Greenfields. It is over 500 years old, and we in Green Kids Area have always felt incredibly proud to be its “guardians” during festivals times.

Like all good ideas the Oak Tree Project started as a little acorn – we planted the seed, it is being nurtured and cared for, and evolving into a story. As the thoughts grew we asked Michael if we could put it on the website, and he agreed. Our hope is that, like the tree, and like the Festival, the Oak Tree project grows and grows for many years to come. We would like for everyone who has memories, associations, funny stories, photos, or any other comings and goings with the Oak Tree, to send them into us and we will add them to the collection here, as a permanent reminder of the beauty of time and wood.

We welcome any contributions to any part of this story.
Please email them to oaktreeproject@glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

July 2016:

This message is to the lady who is in charge of the green kids field where the 500 year old oak tree is. This lady, so sorry I cannot remember your name, you have long grey hair, and you were so kind to me and you asked me to send you an email telling my story.

My name is Jackie, the mother of Darren. In 2014 my son Darren and his partner Kelly persuaded me and the rest of the family to go to Glastonbury – there was Me, my eldest son Justin, Darren, my daughter Latesha, Justin’s wife, and Martin, who is like family I call him my adopted son. I had never been to a festival in my life, I was 58, we stayed at E17 field in 2 camper vans, it was an amazing experience.

2016 would have been Darren’s 40th year and my 60th year; so we decided to go again but this time stay in a Tipi. Darren paid for the Tipi, and we planned to go as the whole family. At the end of November Darren died suddenly of a heart attack, which has and still devastated us all.

I decided to bring some of Darren’s ashes to leave at Glastonbury. At that point I didn’t know where I would leave them.

Then when I was looking at Glastonbury’s official website, I spotted the Oak Tree Project, at that point I knew exactly where I was going to leave his ashes.

When I came to Glastonbury I wasn’t sure where the tree was, but I knew I would find it, while walking around Glastonbury I noticed another splendid tree near the site where Arcadia is, I then began to feel anxious and unsure exactly where the tree was.

In the evening around the fire at the tipi village I was asked by a gentleman called Ray what I had come to see, I told him some of the bands I was hoping to see and also relayed to him Darren’s story, I also told him of my worry about the exact location of the 500 year old oak tree, bless him he Googled it and told me the tree is in the green kids field, I thought this very appropriate as this was my kid, and I know Darren who lost his own son Dre 20 years ago at the age of 14 months would take him to see it.

So on the Sunday me and my daughter Latesha made our way through the mud to go to the green kids field, unfortunately I didn’t see Latesha stop and I assumed she had gone ahead, I couldn’t find her and I became tearful and panic. There were 2 stewards at the entrance of the green kids field and one bless him went to see if Latesha was inside, he came back with the Lady who runs the green kids field, she was so kind to me I just started crying, I also told them that Latesha was 27 year old. The lady said she thought I was looking for a small child, she took my arm and led me into the green kids field to the most magnificent tree that stood proud and felt like a Mother and alive, so alive. The lady told me that many people had proposed under the tree, had been conceived under the tree, and brought ashes and memories to the oak tree.

I dug a hole and put some of Darren’s ashes in the ground and covered them over; I asked the oak tree to take care of his ashes and add them to the roots that she has, I spoke to Darren and told him that one day Latesha will bring some of my ashes to be with him and the amazing 500 year old oak tree.

The 500 year old Oak Tree is a testament to all of us whether it be in a Spiritual way, an Environmental way, whatever way.

I take comfort that my son will forever be at Glastonbury, and I thank the lady who runs the green kids field for her caring, her making sure I was ok, and she allowed me to tell her my story.

Glastonbury is more than a Festival; it is a spiritual journey that feels safe free and true.

Yours Sincerely,
Jackie

January 2016:
I planted some up and here is a photo of them – I’ve got about 40 baby oaks that will be planted out in the spring. It was really lovely doing them, and I hope this year we get another good harvest. I feel really proud that we have got this far, and that we can plant them for the future.

What’s next ? –  Looking forward to seeing everyone this summer.  XX

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September 2015:
I came down to the site  on a quiet and wet weekend in September, and collected acorns from the Old Oak tree in Green Kids, and from the younger Oak trees in Craft Field.    I was very lucky it was a good year for the acorn harvest.   I collected about 200 acorns, and then spent the next month distributing them to everyone who had written in via this page – so they got sent to about 40 people around the globe – who will plant them and grow them.  Most they stayed in the UK, but some they went as far as Poland, Canada, Germany, and America.    It was the best year that I have known for the acorns.

June 2015:
Well, at the end of the Festival 2015 we sent off TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY SEVEN wishes via Yoko and her team to the Peace Tower in Iceland.  We ran Wish Trees on the Oak Tree in Green Kids Field; and on a dome in Green Crafts Field.   We were also able to put wishes on the Pagoda in Kings Meadow that The Dalai Lama spoke from, so we all felt very honoured and blessed.

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10 Jul 2014:
ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE WISHES FOR THE IMAGINE PEACE TOWER.
For the 2014 Glastonbury Festival we were lucky enough to join up with Yoko Ono’s IMAGINE PEACE TOWER project.  Each day under the Oak Tree we had some of Yoko Ono’s WISH TREES – everyone, young and old, was invited to make their wishes and put them on the trees.  There were some of Yoko’s IMAGINE PEACE pencils specially made for Glastonbury 2014, for people to keep.  It was so popular that we developed “outreach” wish trees in the Craft field and in the Peace Garden at the Stone Circle.  At the end of the Festival the wishes have all been sent off to be taken to Iceland to the IMAGINE PEACE TOWER that Yoko made as a memorial to John Lennon, and as a beam of light to aid World Peace.  Find out more at http://IMAGINEPEACETOWER.com

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10 Oct 2013: Hi Everyone – – a glorious clear autumn day.  I’ve just been on site and seen our wonderful Oak Tree.  It has the best crop of Acorns that I have ever seen in my life… which is quite a short life compared to the Oak Tree. So, if any one out there would like a few acorns to have and grow into Oak trees, send your postal address to me at oaktreeproject@glastonburyfestivals.co.uk, and then I will send some out to you.

There is plenty of adivce on the web about various ways of germinating acorns. The most important thing seems to be making sure they do not dry out before planting, and being very patient. You can start with it in a pot. Even if you personally don’t have enough room to plant out a growing Oak, there will be plenty of people at the Festival in a couple of years’ time who would love to take it home and plant it out for you….

Jos and Suzie, the Oak Tree Project.

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