Bungay Balls Up 2013

For the latest details of upcoming juggling festivals visit the Juggling Edge Events Listings.

The 14th Bungay Balls Up

18-May-2013 to 27-May-2013

The Bungay Balls Up is an exceptionally chilled out festival held annually at Hulver farm in Suffolk. Photos, reviews & more can be found on the Bungay Balls Up festival website


I was all packed on Friday night, so Saturday morning I just jumped in the car. I stopped off to enjoy breakfast with Jemma on the way through Tunbridge Wells. After that I had a really good drive up, I appear to be finally learning the way! I arrived on site at about midday & started doing the rounds saying hello to the various people already on site. I managed to pitch my large tent on my own which wasn't the mammoth struggle that I expected. After setting up my home for the week I felt the work involved warranted a quick nap, which turned into me sleeping through much of the afternoon. I awoke to find a small lake in the living area of my tent. It appears my collapsible water container leaks :-(

In the evening I did a bit of solo juggling before Abbi turned up with her volleyclub looking for a game. Abbi, Charlie & myself joined together to form an elite squad & we weren't competitive in the slightest.

After all that activity it was time for a lounge on the sofas where Kat instigated a game of Cards Against Humanity. Players hold cards with phrases that can be used to answer questions. Players then take turns to ask a question from a pile of question cards that the other players have to answer with something that they think will make the questioner laugh to gain a point. There were a lot of very enjoyable sick & twisted answers.


After a really good sleep I had breakfast in the sun. Then I went to the marquee & juggled for a while. I went back to my tent for a bit of a nap, woke up & chatted to my new neighbours Andy & Sandra plus Jason & Ewan who were also welcoming the new arrivals. In the afternoon I helped Ewan, Sam, Sam, Dee & Mark build the hot tub, which involved an excursion into the fascinating world that is Farmer Paul's shed. After finding all the components we discovered that the set up had been tweaked from previous years with the addition of a battery powered pump which added an extra layer of complexity that I really don't see as an improvement. Still we managed to cobble it together after applying a lot of brute force to most of the fixings. Sadly no wood to get it going for the evening though.


The day started off with rain so I spent most of the day juggling in the marquee. Alberts were starting to come together, left hand shower still awful, (6,4x)(2x,4) was feeling good too. I read my book for most of the evening. I went to bed relatively early because my knees were really aching for some reason.


Tuesday morning I had to cook breakfast with one hand & hold the tent together with the other as it took a battering from the wind. For safety reasons I abandoned ship & went to the marquee for another long juggle. My left hand shower was beginning to settle down but slapbacks were still troublesome. I took a break from juggling to join Petra, Andy & Ewan for a game of Torres, which is a tactical castle building game where you gain points for building towers & positioning you knights as high as you can. Frustratingly I finished a mere 7 points behind Ewan. In the afternoon I joined Mandy, Gary & Ben for a thorough beating at croquet.


I woke up early, had breakfast then went back to sleep for a few hours. I then juggled for a while working on 3 in one hand with a club balance. I also managed to wear myself out with a single handstand. I spent some time comparing a few tricks with Carl & managed to flash 4 ball mills mess on the first attempt which surprised both of us. After a quick lunch I returned to join Abbi for some volleyclub, Void joined us soon after & played his own no spin version of the game which was highly amusing. After a bit more food I joined Jason, Andy, Mark & John for a game of Kubb against Sandra, Christina, Lynne & Tessa. The game involves an enormous amount of arguing & a little bit of throwing wooden batons at wooden blocks. In the evening I spent a lot of time reading my book & chatting with friends round the woodburner. Dee was sharing her lemon flavoured vodka which some people were wary of because it did smell distinctly like washing up liquid. In the main marquee a mob lead by Ewan, Andy, Sandra & Jason were demanding a trick from anyone who happened to walk through. I got away with doing a quick handstand for them. LP made a gymnastics ribbon from a juggling club & a load of gaffer tape which was almost as effective as the real thing.


Can't remember much about Thursday other than I picked up a set of 7 flouzies & managed several respectable runs.


Despite the constant rain for most of the day I was really pleased with my wet weather gear which kept me toasty & completely dry. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. It got me thinking that outdoor clothes stores should come equipped with wind tunnels, not mirrors in the fitting rooms. It was a good night's gaming. I joined Abbi, Dawn, Sam, Jon, Kat, Cathy & Sam for a game of Taboo. It took me a while to get into the correct lateral mindset & more importantly slow down. Abbi had to clamp my hands down to stop me gesticulating in early rounds. I was very pleased with my clue, "oriental people fly on these" for "carpet". After that we played the wonderful Dixit. The game uses a deck of beautifully illustrated fantasy picture cards. Players take turns to select a card then give a clue about the picture, the other players then have to select a card that also somehow matches that clue. Then everyone has to try to guess which card belonged to the player who gave the clue. Sam's anthropomorphic pigeon impression was fantastic. During Dixit, Cat & Karina poked their heads into the cafe to say hello. They had said they would come up if the weather was good so I didn't think they were coming, but it turned out they had a bit of a nightmare journey up that took six hours (should take less than three hours from where we live). Six hours? Wow, you'd have to be really unlucky to have a worse journey than that...

After the gaming it was time to warm up with a feature length volleyclub session. I'm not sure how I ended up on the 'oldies' team, but we had a lot of fun shuffling positions every time that Andy scored a point. There were also a lot of creative uses of the larger holes in the net.


After a bit of nattering to various people Cat, Karina & I took a trip out to the Huntsman & Hounds to meet a couple of friends of mine. We enjoyed an excellent meal which for me finished with a chocolate lumpy bumpy. When I saw it on the menu I had no idea what a chocolate lumpy bumpy was but I knew that I had to have one. We popped into Halesworth for some more supplies to see out the week. For me that meant cider & biscuits while Karina picked up a sleeping bag & a toy caravan. Back on site many more people had turned up before the evening show which was good to see. I interrupted Void & Lynne's scrabble game to film a quick trick for the upcoming BKA forum collaboration video.

The Show

Little Paul compèred this year's show, twirled a gymnastics ribbon & harnessed the awesome power of the Siteswaphone.

Mark & Shona performed an energetic static trapeze act. Young Libby performed a couple of tunes on the violin, back outside Frankie & Franco performed a well choreographed piece on the moon trapeze. Elma performed a very happy hoop routine. Natalie Randall performed a beautiful dance routine that really took me by surprise. Guy Smith performed lots of cheeky moves with hats, then some great contact staff with his hat stand. onte, Guy, Ewan, Ron & Charlie swamped the stage to perform the Bungay trick which was an impressive sight. Aurelien sang us a song with his guitar. Gale Francis performed her hoop manipulation routine that I really enjoyed at the BJC open stage show. Ken Carlisle performed a very impressive technical diabolo routine. Dave Kelly performed two spots, the first saw him juggle with a stringless racket, a small tennis ball & a large football sized tennis ball in lots of interesting combinations, he then closed the show with his stringed rackets & balls. He was much more solid than when I last saw him perform at the Milton Keynes convention.

Immediately after the show there was a lot of playing with gymnastics ribbons. I found sprinting as fast as you can while waving the baton over your head oddly satisfying.

After the sun went down I took my first dip in the hot tub! I soaked away my aches & pains for ages while enjoying Denny & Elma's karaoke, & chatting to Charlie, Mark, Guy & aerialist Frankie. It took a while to convince Frankie to join us but she eventually got in & was an instant convert. Interestingly she wouldn't put her hands under the water for fear of softening her callouses which were really important to her.


I slept until midday, had something to eat then slept again, then ate again. It's a hard life. I juggled for a bit in the evening, then joined LP & J for a few rounds of Martian Fluxx. Cat & Karina joined in too before we moved on to playing No thanks, after a disastrous first hand (87 if I recall correctly) I then redeemed myself with an extraordinary -10. I chatted with Bungle next to the woodburner for a while before we both joined Abbi in the hot tub. One set of companions left before I was joined by Sam & her friends who sadly I have forgotten the names of. We stayed in the tub chatting until 4am when the sun started to brighten up the horizon which was lovely.

Trying to fall asleep while the dawn chorus is in full swing is quite difficult though.


It was a lovely sunny day for taking down the tents. I said my goodbyes & left the site at just passed midday. I heard a bang as I drove down the farm's drive so I pulled over to check what it was but I couldn't see anything wrong. I started down the road but couldn't feel anything wrong but I became aware of a grinding noise shortly before hearing a metallic tinkle as something fell off my car. I pulled over again to find that my left front suspension appeared to have collapsed. I called the AA to come & take a look. While waiting it was nice that so many jugglers stopped to check that I was ok & see if I needed any food or drink. When the AA mechanic turned up an hour later it took him about twenty seconds to announce, "you've got a broken coil spring, you're not getting that back on the road today". After another half hour wait another AA van that could tow my crippled Ka back home turned up. It was interesting to watch the towing apparatus that unfolds out of the back of the van being set up. I waited until after my car had been successfully winched up onto the trailer before letting the mechanic know that I work for the company that makes the winchline for it.

It was a very long journey home which included a change over to another van at Brentwood services where the first mechanic had to change a tyre. It would seem that, "You should call the RAC!" is the AA's equivalent of, "Where's your other wheel?"

After ten & a half hours I finally made it back home. Not exactly a successful finish to the festival, but because I had enjoyed such a chilled & relaxing time I was able to take the misfortune with considerably more good humour than would otherwise have been possible.