Forget your set times and schedules, here's a piece of paper, Feist is playing next door
At the heart of PEOPLE Festival, an audience of a few hundred has gathered around the Woodlands Stage in a small grassy clearing to watch Damien Rice play “the hits.” There’s a gentle three-part call and response with ‘Volcano’, and an occasional ripple of laughter when participation becomes a little off-tempo and a little more off-tune. Through the trees to Rice’s right, a sort of UFO-cum-futuristic treehouse pokes out of the leafy branches. A small child is crawling excitedly up to it wearing an oversized rainbow-coloured mask, and bumps into the tree with a huge grin.
Opposite the woodlands, the Funkhaus (built originally as a radio broadcasting station in Eastern Berlin) towers as an impressive, monolithic backdrop. Were you to enter the building in the week preceding the Festival, you might have come across almost 200 visual artists, dancers and musicians roaming its corridors mid-rehearsal, weaving through the many different hallway studios in search of the next impromptu collaboration. Leslie Feist has Blu-tacced a sign-up sheet to a wall for anyone wanting to join a choir. Kristin Anna and Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) have become a blues band. Acclaimed filmmaker Vincent Moon is combing the grounds for an aesthetically pleasing recess in which to later kidnap an unsuspecting festival-goer for a one-on-one performance with their favourite artist. Communal long-table lunches and new friendships in the summertime heat make everything appear a little more like a remedial (adults’) kids’ camp than a gruelling preparation for a Festival that weekend.