The churchiness was largely post-Evangelical; the politics firmly left-of-centre. The Mail columnist Peter Oborne had a respectful audience for his knowledgeable talk on the Middle East; less so later on, when he attempted to defend the Mail in the company of the activist Jack Monroe, who was libelled by one of its columnists, Katie Hopkins. Monroe had been greeted with cheers when, earlier in the day, she had been asked how to end poverty. “Stop voting Tory, for Chrissakes.”
She was talked about in the food queues (the best measure of success at the festival); and so was Charles Handy, the 90-year-old economist; the Revd John Bell, who spoke about his sexuality for the first time; the rich Muslim programme of music and worship in its dedicated tent; the Revd Kate Bottley’s illustrated talk on body image, again in a dedicated tent, this time for women; performances by the singer Kate Rusby and the singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner — and also a quartet from St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Others mentioned were Baroness Warsi, Harry Baker and Chris Read, Cole Moreton, Lee Bains III, Natalie Bennett, and Sarah Corbett.
The chief topic of conversation, though, was the main Sunday eucharist, where the festival’s inclusivity was brought into the heart of the service. As well as signers from the charity Livability, and prayers from the L’Arche community, there was a reading via live audio link by Tanya Marlow, an ME sufferer, lying in her bed in Plymouth.