PeteFest: In Memory Of Pete Handley

July 26, 2015

PeteFest orange festival pete handley ginger music bodle street greenPeteFest orange festival pete handley ginger music bodle street greenPeteFest orange festival pete handley ginger music bodle street greenPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefestPeteFest is a festival which was created in honour of my friend Pete who died last year. I’ve posted quite a lot on Pete so long-time readers (thanks both of you) will be familiar with this part of my life, and if you’re following me on social media you probably saw me posting bits last weekend.

Pete’s wonderful parents had already told us: no sadness. The weekend was not for mourning, for grieving, for tears and choking up. The weekend was for celebrating, for smiling, for fun. For embracing and for making a lot of noise. For beer, for sunshine, for cake and for getting involved.

Everything there has said repeatedly; it was awesome. The music was diverse and interesting, the sun was shining, the people were friendly, the pints were flowing. The theme was orange; orange bunting, orange shirts, orange and ginger cake, ginger beer, orange balloons, orange ribbons. Even on an aesthetic level it made the whole weekend brighter; my camera got confused by the higher than usual levels of orange and tried to contort everything into being sepia. 

Pete’s family are to be hugely commended for the festival as a whole. Their attitude and determination really dictated the whole festival; I don’t think a single minute passed without seeing smiles and hearing laughter; people dancing, joking, making friends, catching up or sharing a moment. To have a space to meet people we otherwise would not have met without having to outright make a big emotional deal out of it, is amazing. The organisers put in months of work and it really showed.IMG_0063james and laila WOLF PACKPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefeststeph laila tapeparade petefest pete handley blog festivalPeteFest orange festival pete handley ginger music bodle street greenPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefestPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefestPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefestI lost 3 people close to me last year, all unexpectedly and all in their 20’s. Pete’s passing is the only one that has caused people to come together; creating festivals, awards, legacies. I’m not done posting about it or figuring it out (will I ever be?) but that’s not what PeteFest was for. PeteFest was for being happy.

For me, it was a weekend of confronting truths and being surrounded by friends. I intersected with the festival in a lot of ways and it was hard not to see what was happening through those multiple filters: I attended the festival, I played a (small) part in organising it, I performed several times under several guises, I helped promote it, I manned the social media and I made a small attempt to document it with my camera. I was a weak link; I turned in some truly awful performances which I subsequently felt disgusted about, and I also got very drunk. Luckily I had all my friends around. Besides, any festival that ends with the barmen buying you a pint is a success Pete too would have approved of.

I wrote so recently about my wonderful friends and they were all there at PeteFest. I had my closest friends from school days. I had James and Danilo, the remaining pillars of my personal and irreparably broken triumvirate. I had the people I think of as family and I had my actual family, however that goes down. I’m perennially the one with my crap least together, but for my part I fell asleep surrounded by all my oldest and dearest friends; all the people who know me best and care for me most sleeping in the same tent. I remember thinking as I fell asleep; if I don’t feel safe here and now, where and when will I? And that was PeteFest.PeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefestPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefestPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefest

Alongside the festival there is also an award set up in Pete’s memory. You can read more about it here. I know a couple of you have written to me in the past that you were so moved by previous blogs that you decided to donate, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. That I have readers I have never met who are so kind and generous and giving is really incredible. Thank you so, so much for your support and for your love.

Pete further discussed in these posts: 1, 2, 3, 4.

I’ve shared mostly photos of my friends and myself on this blog as I thought it would be weird to share photos of people I don’t know on a personal blog; but it’s weirder I feel that way as a) all the photos are mine and b) they’re all publically on the internet anyway. So if you’d like to see more they are all up on this page. If you’re in one of these photos and don’t want to be – please let me know and I shall remove it immediately.steph laila tapeparade petefest pete handley blog festivalPeteFest party band evening saturday performance at petefest

19 comments so far.

19 responses to “PeteFest: In Memory Of Pete Handley”

  1. winnie says:

    This is such a lovely way to remember a dear friend and it shows how awesome your gang of friends are! This is so sweet and heart warming and I am sure if he could have been there, he would have been laughing and cheering you guys on! So so lovely x

  2. permanentprocrastination says:

    This is so so nice. What a great idea. Rest in peace Pete.
    Tegan xx – Permanent Procrastination
    Btw check out my sweet Lightbox Giveaway if you haven’t already!

  3. Great event! Awesome pics!
    Have a nice day!
    Natallia Jolliet

  4. Denise says:

    You have more than two readers, com’on 🙂 But I liked the funny note, both of us 🙂 I am so glad that there’s this fest now, Petefest. I think this is like gathering all the nice memories, a bit every time and thinking of the great guy he IS, because death doesn’t end a life – ends the life in the future, but not what it was, he lives through the memories of his family and friends. And that’s the right celebration for that. As his parents said, no sadness. The pictures look great and I love your cat ears, you look so sweet and beautiful! I hope people feel honored to be in the photos and don’t ask them to be removed – on the contrary, whoever is in a picture here should feel honoured, to participate! Lovely initiative and nice that you helped planning it too!

  5. anne-marie says:

    bravo, to think of your friend
    Now, it is increasingly rare to think of friends, family members, dead or alive

  6. What a lovely way to remember someone.

    Lizzie Dripping

  7. What a wonderful way to celebrate Pete. Is this something you will do every year?

  8. sarahjane100 says:

    This is such a lovely lovely way to remember your friend and a really great post. You look so cool too!
    Sarah-Jane xo //

  9. Reshma says:

    This is such a great way to remember your friend and really celebrate his life. Seems like he was surrounded with some amazing people in his life.

  10. Kim says:

    what a wonderful and joyful way to honor your friend!! I love that the color scheme is a nod to it too, just lovely 🙂

  11. Kati says:

    What a fantastic way to approach such a sad thing. Congratulations for everyone involved in turning a sad occasion into something good.


  12. Priya says:

    This is amazing! What an incredible way to honor your friend. I’m sure Pete would have absolutely loved it. I loved what you said about falling asleep and feeling safe surrounded by those people…now that I’m older and I’ve moved away from home, I’m always searching for feelings of contentedness like that!

    ♥ perfectly Priya

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