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IMG_6736This was a really enjoyable discovery and definitely the first time I’ve attended a festival in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. With a very local feel, Shuffle is clearly born of a desire to reclaim the location (before impending redevelopment) with a genuine spirit of community led by the St Clement’s Social Club. ‘Day of the Mind’ was the extended centrepiece of the festival, and eccentric outfits, white coated scientists, wildly ambitious bubble blowing and a Danny Boyle-curated film programme sat alongside pop-up bars and quirky interactive workshops, all nestling within crumbling Victorian architecture, overgrown shrubbery and boarded-up windows. The setting provided much of the fascination and there was a lot of explanation about the site’s history and the local groups that have used it, including an unusual shrine to the actress Anna Wing. The site also gave the programming the chance to focus on science and the brain, but Carboot Disco Bingo and Total Eclipse of the Head 80s hair restyling also had their place. An eclectic mix with an authentic feel and an excellent website – and the bonus of Mr Boyle wondering around looking at the stalls.

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