This August saw the third Hellys International Guitar Festival take place at the Old Cattle Market in Helston. Once again Hellys managed to combine a dazzling array of guitar performances with a warm and fun atmosphere and a stash of creative talks and workshops. Reflexation Therapy was there for the second year running to work with performers battling aches, pains and nerves and to offer treatments to festival goers and team members who wanted a rejuvenating break.
Highlights for me this year included work with some extraordinary musicians such as the Hungarian guitarist Sándor Papp, luthier Graham Emes and lutenist and festival organiser Ben Salfield. I also met a few other therapists and ex-therapists; always a joy to learn from others and to offer treatments to those who usually give them!
Hellys is a wonderful festival to be a part of as it gets going and growing. It was great to meet up with last years team again, from the volunteers to the technical staff like photographer Alice Nightingale and videographer Dan Philbrooks. It was fun to see the excitement of the new Hellys H-factor competition building through the week as brave and brilliant local musicians competed for one of Kif Wood’s guitars. The winner Innes Rankin held the room spellbound in the final with his dark and dramatic style of playing as well as his diffident charm. Quirky poetry and music were back in the form of the relentlessly extraordinary Jonathan Coudrille, at one point accompanied by his new ballet dancing wife.
Whose music did I enjoy the most? My most memorable moments music-wise came not from the main concerts (although these were extraordinary: viva Andrea Dieci) but from elsewhere. Robert Franklin’s performance in the H-factor final was strikingly beautiful, perhaps more so as he fought to overcome nerves in round one before his sound could come through fully; and Alex Roche, returning to Hellys after his Masters in London played a stunningly moving piece by Mozart at the very end of his performance.
Of the non-guitar events I enjoyed hearing Daniela Norris, a former diplomat and writer, speak about her explorations in political and inspirational writing. She spoke compellingly of her dialogue with Shireen Anabtawi and their co-publication of the book Crossing Qualandiya: Exchanges Across the Israeli Palestinian Divide. Daniella shared some inspiring quotations from some of her favourite books, such as The Tao of Pooh (Benjamin Hoff), The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig). These are the ones Iiked best:
You’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are. – Benjamin Hoff
When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. – Paulo Coelho
We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world. – Robert Pirsig
Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse that the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with […] eternity. – Paulo Coelho
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. – Paulo Coelho
Hellys 2019 brought a greater diversity of guitar styles and events than its previous incarnations. The festival is clearly establishing its identity and place as a fun and inspiring music and culture event for Cornwall. Reflexation Therapy looks forward to Hellys International Guitar Festival 2020 and I’m definitely inspired to get back to my classical guitar, which I’ve shockingly abandoned of late…
If you’d like to read my blog about Reflaxation Therapy at Hellys 2018 click here.