Glastonbury Witch Trials

Glastonbury Witch Trials

Move over, Michael Eavis – there’s a new festival in Glastonbury, set up by a woman the local police call the ASBO whisperer. April Kerrow is the founder of the Glastonbury Witch Trials 2012 – a festival by witches for witches. Mookychick was so intrigued it went to Glastonbury to learn more.

Normally we associate witch trials with persecuted old ladies and social hysteria. One woman, self-titled witch April Kerrow, is reclaiming the concept of witch trials this year with the Glastonbury Witch Trials – a festival by witches for witches. If you’re a witch worth your salt, you’re invited to come to the first ever Glastonbury Witch Trials this Eostr.

“Glastonbury is full of odd types who say they like animals but don’t eat meat,” says local farmer John Pillsbury. “About the oddest thing about April is she smokes a pipe. And says she’s a witch.”

Jillian Woodruff, owner of the Mysterious Pasts bookstore on Glastonbury High Street, also has good words for April Kerrow. “I know lots of witches but April’s got a wonderful aura to her,” says Jillian. “People listen to what April says.”

The Glastonbury police have also been using April’s services on a regular basis. “We call April the ASBO whisperer,” says Deputy Chief Constable Gerald Squires. “If she’s free she’ll come down and have a chat with the young kids in the holding cells. They don’t come back in a hurry. If April’s a witch, then frankly every police department should have one.”

But what does April herself say? It took some doing, but Mookychick arranged an interview with her to find out more about the Glastonbury Witch Trials.

So, April – You say you’re a witch?

“Yes, I’m a witch,” she says calmly when we go to meet her, propped up against the gate of her cottage, looking wind-weathered and every inch her 43 years in her dungarees as she smokes the filthy-smelling pipe that apparently never leaves her hands.

What gave you the idea for the witch trials?

“Well, it’s like that gay boy on the League of Gentlemen, I’m not the only witch in the village am I? It’s time to stand up and be counted as witches and start helping each other out – and other people too. Witching’s a job same as any other, and aside from all the fancy stuff I like to see it as part-time social work. If you’ve got any sense and don’t want to see the wrong side of a ducking stool one day then you won’t charge money for what you do, either. But witching’s a job that’s got to be done and it’s got be recognised if life’s to go back on an even keel. It’s wrong, what them persecutionists did.”

We take it you won’t be persecuting sister witches at the trials?

“Don’t be daft, we’ll be testing each other and seeing what we can do. To my mind, a witch has got to have more than a few tricks up her sleeve. She’s got to be able to make people think a certain way when needed, and leave off meddling with people when it’s not needed. She’s got to prove her worth at the practical skill of her choice, to show she’s still got her feet on the ground even if her head is in the air. She’s got to have some command over the elements, so there’ll definitely be feats of prowess with fire, earth, air and water. And mud. You’ve got to know all about mud in Glastonbury. Practically a fifth element round these parts.”

Who will judge the Witch Trials? Is there a crown for the winner?

“It ain’t a competition, exactly,” says April, sucking on her pipe. “It’ll be more of a pow-wow. A chance for witches to meet other witches and learn what’s what. We’ll have some workshops, some trials – the local farmers will be pitching in to help set them up – and some displays of prowess. I figure we’ll soon know which witch is worth her boots though, and which witch could do with a few less rose candles and a bit more grounding in how to stop babies screaming with colic.”

How big will the Glastonbury Witch Trials be? As big as Glastonbury Music festival?

“Don’t rightly know,” says April. “I’ve been working with some decent women from all over the place to make this happen so it could be a good size, I reckon. France, Amsterdam, Uganda, Japan, Yugoslavia… There’s going to be a lot of countries taking part, mark my words. Them Eastern Europians are forest folk at heart, all obssessed with witches hopping around in huts made of chicken feet, or some such. There’s one Japanese witch who’s very good with mountain and stone and ancestors. Very good indeed. I’ll be interested to see her stuff, alright.

As it so happens, I’ve been chatting to Micheal Eavis, he’s a friend of mine. Mike knows how things like this work with his old Glastonbury Festival, so he’ll be helping out with crowd control. It’ll be fine. You’ll see. If there’s no room for you, you’ll just have to figure out what to do about that. Sneak in, or go away again. It’s your choice. I can’t say as I care either way.”

Will non-witches be allowed to come?

“If you come, you come,” says April. “There ain’t no charge. You might learn something.”

Will the Witch Trials be pushing for media coverage?

“No. ‘Course not. Cuz I ain’t announced it, you dunder,” says April tartly. “You’ll come if you’re invited. If you’re not invited, it’s because you ain’t coming. And if you find out where the Witch Trials are even if you ain’t invited and turn up, then good for you. You’ll find it, if you can. You’ll be there if you were meant to.”

And is this really true? Or is it an April’s Fool?

“Time’s up,” says April. “Got things to do. The clue’s in my name…”

Without saying goodbye she turns and stomps up the path back into her cottage, leaving the smell of dark, rich apple tobacco hanging in the air along with a basketful of unanswered questions.

Self-titled witch April Kerrow is setting up an international Witch Trials this year in Glastonbury to reclaim the persecution of years past

Festival organiser and farmer Michael Eavis will be helping with crowd control at the Glastonbury Witch Trials, leaving his daugher to focus on the more renowned Glastonbury Music Festival