Thankfully, we live in a time where psychedelic music festivals are held annually everywhere from Saigon to Milwaukee, but I believe that none of these, nor the eclectic line ups of the infamous All Tomorrow’s Parties and I’ll Be Your Mirror festivals, if it weren’t for the Terrastock festivals.
From 1997 to 2008, the festivals were formed as a benefit for, as well as an extension of the equally influential Ptolemaic Terrascope zine, and featured a wide spectrum of contemporary and legendary artists from within the realms of psychedelic, experimental and esoteric folk music. At the time, these were likely the only events where you could expect someone like a pre-fame Neutral Milk Hotel on the same bill as acid electro-pioneers Silver Apples, the psych-grunge antics of Mudhoney and, the magic that was Pearl Before Swine’s Tom Rapp.
Simply put, Terrastock was a series of intimate festivals that were carefully and lovingly curated and hosted out of a deep passion for some of the world’s most unique artists, and the tight communities that follow them. If you managed to attend even just one of these shows, then you likely witnessed one or more performances that were a once in a lifetime experience.
Since the days of Terrastock, the PT’s founder, Phil McMullen, and other members of the PT community have put together several individual events that continued the festival’s original spirit. Most recently, Woolf Music, and this year’s iteration, Woolf Music II, possibly capture the Terrastock vibe the strongest.
Held over the weekend of June 8th at the Cleeve House, which was once home to Virginia Woolf, in Wiltshire, England, Woolf II features many Terrastock alumni, like The Bevis Frond, Sharron Kraus, Kohoutek, Kitchen Cynics and Jesse Poe (of Tanakh) with Kawabata Makoto (of Acid Mothers Temple). Other artists involved that have been covered previously here at RCU include Rowan : Morrison, Dead Sea Apes, The Left Outsides (Alison Cotton will also be performing a solo set). Additionally, the two-day event will have appearances by: Trappist Afterland, Alasdair Roberts, Ian A. Anderson, Byron Coley, Divisionists, Jim Ghedi, Toby Hay, Emily Jones, Dean McPhee, Mésange, Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh, Sound Of Yell, Stereocilia, Alex Rex, Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus, Silver Stairs of Ketchikan andThought Forms.
Another exciting feature of Woolf II, is the inclusion of a print fair, which is a”festival within a festival, that brings Phil’s love of music and printing together in one special place. Featuring workshops and demonstrations of letterpress and screen printing, there will be plenty of chance for you to all get down, get hands-on and get downright inky.” So fans of fanzines and other DIY aspects of underground art, music and literature (as well as fans of the PT in general, and its latest letterpress-created incarnation, The Terrascopaedia) absolutely need to experience this portion of the festival.
If you are into this kind of music and can make it to Wiltshire on the 8th and 9th of June, then I strongly urge you to not miss Woolf II. As Eric Burdon once said, “You want to find the truth in life? Don’t pass music by, And you know I would not lie, no I would not lie.”