That Was The Twin Peaks UK Festival 2017...Part 3
The doors opened at 9.30am - ok 9.45am, and the beautiful familiar faces of the Peakies began to enter the venue. This year we added an extra special tier of tickets, the Blue Diamonds. This was purely to celebrate this very special in the world of 'Twin Peaks' and allow us to give the Peakies a truly memorable experience. Many of the VIPs who come every year became Blue Diamonds with a lot of them asking "Why not Blue Rose?" ~Well that would be easy! We wanted Blue Diamond in reference to 'Twin Peaks: The Return' as the same motel is used in that as in 'Fire Walk With Me'. In real life it's the Mount Si Motel but in 'Twin Peaks' land, it's the Blue Diamond motel!
Once the Blue Diamonds and VIPs were through the doors we opened the doors for the Regular ticket holders. Each year I'm always so pleased to see the same faces coming back for more of the craziness we throw at them! The Peakies walked into music filling the air, donuts wafting from every corner, the merchandise desk already swamped with people eager to get their hands on the Showtime merchandise, and of course the rich aroma of David Lynch Coffee dancing it's way through the corridors from the cafe.
The first hour of the fest is always for the Peakies to get their bearings, to explore everything that has been laid out for them. So the ground floor consisted of the Town Hall (the main screening room), merchandise, the cafe and the loos - very important! And downstairs you were transported into the darker world of 'Twin Peaks', the Roadhouse (Bang Bang Bar), the Train Car and of course the Black Lodge. And if you travelled upstairs you found yourself
in the Great Northern Hotel. This would be where the signings were taking place as well as the exclusive Blue Diamond and VIP Bars. And the first thing that greeted you in the foyer of the Great Northern was a mountain of donuts, and one of my favourite things of the festival this year, the stunning totem poles!
I always look forward to saying hello to the fans at the beginning of the festival and this year there were others who wanted to say hello too! James Grixoni (Deputy Jesse), Alicia Witt (Gersten Hayward), Ian Buchanan (Dick Tremayne), Madchen Amick (Shelly Briggs), Kimmy Robertson (Lucy Brennan) and John Pirrucello (Deputy Chad) all very kindly made videos to say hello to everyone which was great because as we are a non-profit outfit we only have a certain amount of budget for guests but this way we were able to get more 'Twin Peaks' actors involved. If I had my way I'd have everyone there!
And then we were straight into the Lynch Inspired Short Films. It's no secret that this is one of my favourite parts of the fest as I'm always in awe of the work that the fans create, whether its a painting, a costume or a short film. This year we had some great films and as always we have a mountain of submissions that it was hard to choose which ones to screen, but we went with the ones that were clearly Lynch inspired but were also offering something a little different. Apparently we chose well as we had some great feedback about the films.
Next came something that I had been looking forward to - an exclusive Q&A with Executive Producer Sabrina Sutherland. Sabrina has worked with David Lynch for
over 20 years, since the second season of 'Twin Peaks', and so has a real insight on not only the way he works but also him as a person, something most of us have never had the pleasure to experience. As a producer, I was also very interested in hearing about the production process and the journey of 'Twin Peaks: The Return' and also Sabrina's career as a whole. She didn't disappoint. What followed was an hour of insight, humour and honesty. Sabrina is David Lynch's eyes and ears and her job is to deliver his vision. She was interesting, engaging, and to be honest I think we all could sat and listened to her for a few more hours. She's also incredible humble and was genuinely baffled by why people would want to hear from her, which only made her more endearing and interesting to listen to as she was speaking with openness while all the time 'keeping the mystery alive'. She's a total pro and a genuine delight.
The first signing session to get underway was for the Blue Diamonds, VIPs and Saturday only Regular ticket holders. This signing session coincided with the first shows of The Murder of Laura Palmer in the train car. So the idea was you would get your signings and then head down to your murder show (or vice versa). One thing I always try and subtly encourage at the festival is for the fans to create their own festival. We are non linear, there is no right or wrong thing to do at the fest. You can watch a screening and then a murder, or take part in an art class, or simply chill and share a coffee and donut with your fellow Peakies. It's YOUR festival to enjoy your way.
One of the highlights of the Saturday was The Call of the Owl - a live Owl show! We contacted The English School of Falconry and explained what we wanted to do! Luckily they completely knew 'Twin Peaks' and understood! And so several Owls joined us on the Saturday and what followed was one of the most stunning events to ever happen at the festival. Owls flying around the space, landing in the crowd and an experienced falconer educating the crowd of the different species of Owls. In this case, the Owls were definitely just as they seemed!
Saturday evening rolled around quick. Nearly 1000 donuts had been consumed, people were high on David Lynch Coffee, friendships were being made, autographs had been signed, murders had been committed, art had been drawn and it was time for the headliner -
James Marshall playing live for the crowd! This was something I'd been looking forward to for a long time and it was made even more special when our US based good buddy Damion Champe came to London to join James on stage. After an exploding keyboard incident and a very impromptu costume contest, the gig got underway!
Watching James on stage was thrilling and the thrill got even higher when Michael Horse cooly breezed onto the stage and treated the audience to some traditional Native American singing - something which stunned the crowd into elated silence. And then, cue Amy Shiels taking the stage and we all knew that could only mean one thing - James was going to give everyone what they wanted; a live rendition of 'Twin Peaks' ballad 'Just You', with Amy as his back up singer. It was truly a special moment in the festival history.
After James and Damion left the stage we screened the incredible documentary 'David Lynch: The Art Life'. If you haven't seen this documentary, you should. It's a beautiful insight into Lynch's world and mind and an education of what has inspired him throughout his life. We are also happy to screen this as Sabrina Sutherland was also the Executive Producer and we wanted to show our support to her as well.
For those who had seen the doc, there was the Quiz downstairs in the Roadhouse. Now, if there's two things I've learnt over the years, it's to stay away from the Quiz and Twingo - I don't deal well with violence! But more on that tomorrow!
And so Day One drew to a close and if I'm honest my heart was very full. Full of love for the crowd, for my team and for our special guests. My stomach was also very full. Of donuts.
Part 4 and Day Two of the festival to come!
Photos - Soulstealer - Emilie Declerck - Amy T. Zielinski - Sin Bozkurt