Another year has passed and another slice of the Twin Peaks UK Festival has upsettingly come to an end. My mind is still in a whirlwind from everything that happened and there is still so much to process once again. There was laughter, tears, dancing, reunions, and even a marriage proposal but sadly, all good things must come to an end. Join me as I reflect on another outstanding year at the TPUKF.
After last year’s festival, I reached a decision to share a personal story regarding my own mental health and how the festival had given me a newfound positivity in life. It was the first time I’d spoken publicly about my struggles and even now (a year later) the reaction to that article has been completely overwhelming. There were people who had waited a whole year just to come and thank me for the article in person. I couldn’t believe it. If that article spoke to or helped just one single person then I had succeeded in my message. I never expected the heartwarming reaction it did get.
In the build-up to last year’s festival, I was facing a tough mental health battle. My own mind was trying everything it could to stop me from attending. I went through the worry that I wouldn’t be accepted. All the people I was going to meet there were just Facebook friends from the Twin Peaks community. What if they didn’t like me in person? What would I do if I panicked or freaked out when I was so far away from home? I began convincing myself that I wasn’t strong enough mentally to attend. These thoughts almost stopped me going.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t having similar thoughts about this year’s fest. Those old thoughts take on new manifestations and you begin to find new reasons not to go. Sometimes the high level of thoughts racing through your mind can create a fog in which nothing seems clear. You begin to feel out if it, your heart races, and you feel like you could faint. What if that happens in the middle of the fest? One thing that I learned from last year’s fest was that I wasn’t alone in feeling like this. It’s an important thing to remember.
Lots of people suffering from various mental health problems often feel alone in their struggles. It can prevent them from speaking out and seeking help. There are so many people in the Twin Peaks community who feel this way and I was one of them. Coming together through our love for the show is a step towards finding those like-minded people. Whether we only speak about the show with one another or eventually choose to be more open about our troubles: having just one person to speak to is far better than none.
A customary part of the fest is a huge meetup at a local pub the night before the event officially begins. I remember last year being too nervous to go inside and spent so much time outside shaking and smoking before finally plucking up the courage to enter. This year- despite being on edge- a lot of those feelings had gone and I couldn’t wait to get in there. The feeling of love and acceptance when you first walk into that room is a really beautiful thing. It didn’t matter whether it was a familiar face or a new one, there was a hug waiting for you in every direction you turned. Even Jake Wardle himself popped down to see us all and say hi.
It genuinely felt like none of us had been apart for a whole year: we were home.
The festival itself was a whole new experience. A larger venue at the Stoke Newington Town Hall meant there was more to explore and discover and this year I was a VIP. As I stood waiting to enter the venue I got a lump in my throat as festival creator Lindsey Bowden smiling face appeared at the doors to greet us. There were many moments over the course of the weekend in which I had a lump in my throat. They weren’t through sadness. I’m quite an emotional person and I never really know how to deal with my feelings meaning I can cry quite easily when I’m exceptionally happy. This was one of those moments, I was just happy to be back there. Lindsey’s smiling face wasn’t the only one to greet us.
After a welcome speech, we were treated to a video containing messages from various cast members congratulating the festival on its 10th birthday. The highlight for me was Kimmy Robertson and John Pirruccello’s hilarious little skit. She wanted to show off her new ginormous bean bag chair and (without realizing the camera was rolling) proceeded to repeatedly roll off the chair as it was too big. She then turned the camera off before recording her message. It was beautiful and ridiculously funny.
The same can be said for the sketch sent by Rebekah Del Rio, Mary Reber, Jill Watson, and Co. In it, the gang recreated various scenes from the show including Sarah Palmer’s kitchen break down, Laura staring at the ceiling fan, and Alice Tremond opening the door. It was so perfectly done and the crowd went wild for it.
Other contributors included Dana Ashbrook, David Patrick Kelly, Ian Buchanan, Sabrina Sutherland, Lenny Von Dohlen, Sean Bolger, and James Marshall. I think it’s such a huge testament to Lindsey and how much she’s loved that people took the time to record and send in these messages. It meant the world to us as fans so I can’t imagine how she might feel seeing and hearing such kindness from the stars.
During the 2018 festival, I got to see the second part of Thor Amli’s incredible film series: The Summer House at Pearl Lakes. It was such a joy to see it on the big screen and this year we were treated to part 3. I genuinely can’t put into words how breathtaking it was and how many emotions it stirred up in people. The sounds felt out of this world and created such an atmosphere that I was honestly on the edge of my seat. I had no idea where the film was going to go and what was going to happen next. I don’t want to spoil too much for those who didn’t attend the festival but please go check it out when it arrives online (October 15th on Vimeo), you certainly won’t be disappointed.
One of my favorite parts of the festival is the performances put on by the Double RR Club. Benjamin Louche and Rose Thorne are two extraordinary people and the work that they do is just phenomenal. Their charity- Cabaret VS Cancer– is so important and if you can make any sort of donation—no matter how small— it goes towards helping people going through the hardest times that life can throw at you.
I was blown away by last year’s Double RR Club performances and it was hard to see how they could outdo themselves. But boy did they? I have to say that one of my favorite performances was The Hey Las. Dressed as Candie, Mandie, and Sandie the girls performed three songs from the show while the threat of The Woodsman crept closer and closer resulting in a blood-splattering finale. I actually got goosebumps throughout the whole performance it was so expertly put together.
I cried once again when I heard the powerful voice of Em Brulee, I laughed at the TP belly dancing, I danced to Julee Cruiseship, and I hid behind my hands when the 119 girl pushed a huge safety pin through her forehead. The creativity in these performances is insane and really does have to be seen to be believed. The Double RR Club never disappoints, I just wish I could watch them all year round.
This wasn’t the only entertainment as we were given an owl show, performances by bands such as Aloha Dead and Thee Windom Earles, a few rounds of the infamous Twingo, the outstanding David Lynch disco by DJ Yoda, and so much more. There genuinely isn’t a dull moment and even during the times that there’s a scheduled break you will always find something to do.
The guests this year was a line up of the shows bad boys with Kenneth Welsh, George Griffith, and David Warner all attending. They might be bad boys on screen but you honestly couldn’t meet three nicer guys in real life. I got to speak with David Warner about his work on Mary Poppins Returns (my personal favorite) and he was genuinely touched that I’d asked about it as it wasn’t something that got brought up with him a lot. Surprisingly George Griffith is just as mysterious as Ray. He keeps the mystery of the show alive by giving very little away about it. Even during the Q&A session, he chose his answers carefully and gave only the tiniest details away leaving us all thirsty for more.
It’s hard to describe how incredible Kenneth Welsh is. From the minute he arrived at the venue he became the life and soul of the party. Whether it was doing owl calls during the owl show, dancing with Thee Windom Earles, or telling incredible stories from his career: he was simply amazing. We got to speak at length with him about his work on Twin Peaks so keep your eyes peeled for that interview coming really soon.
Even Madchen Amick appeared on the big screen to answer our questions in a pre-recorded video. She answered a large number of questions including one from myself. I asked her: In The Final Dossier book we learn that Leo Johnson died shortly after the events of the Season 2 finale. How do you think Shelley would have reacted to that news and why didn’t hers and Bobby’s relationship survive? They were a match made in heaven and it’s sad that she appears to have ended up with another bad guy. Will Bobby be the one to save her again? Her response was really interesting.
Dana and I were really bummed that Shelley and Bobby weren’t together. I mean, man we were rooting for ’em. So we kept going to David “Are you sure? Are you sure? What if like, in the end scene they’re making eyes at each other?” And was just like, “No. They’re not together. They’re not together”. So, I think what David was doing was commenting on those bad cycles that we get into sometimes and that we just keep repeating them over and over again. And Shelley just, for whatever reason as I don’t know her and Bobby broke up, finds herself back with another bad guy. She’s going through that cycle again and then you see her daughter doing the same thing. I think it’s an interesting commentary on that so you know, you just do what David tells you to do. Happily!
Obviously I think Shelley would have been relieved that Leo died. She was quite tortured by him, so yeah. But hey, maybe maybe there’ll be a Season 4 and maybe Shelley and Bobby will get back together. What do you think?
She then winked at the camera and the crowd went wild. Why oh why did my question have to spark a few more Season 4 rumors? I’m really touched that she answered my question and that the reaction from the crowd was so exciting.
A new attraction this year was the Black Lodge experience which was both incredible and terrifying. In it, actors portray characters from the show such as Philip Jeffries, Diane, Laura, Pierre, and more. As the body of Laura (wrapped in plastic) was dragged up a long corridor of the Lodge, I was forced to follow before being led into a series of side rooms. Each room was full of interactive experiences that were rather unsettling. The final room was the most interactive as various members of the Lodge made you dance with them and with other guests. I have to be honest it really put me out of my comfort zone but something about the performances just made me keep dancing—it was too dreamy.
After the festival had ended none of us wanted to say goodbye to each other so we ventured to a pub to keep the celebrations going. It was during that time that my partner–and fellow 25YL writer— got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Naturally, I said yes. It was the perfect ending to a perfect festival. The following morning when we were discussing things he told me that he wanted to propose in a place that means the most to us which is why it was during the festival surrounded by some of the most special people in our lives. And it is true, the festival means so much to us both (probably to everyone who attends) and it’s a place that we hold dear in our hearts. One thing we already do know is that it’s going to be totally TP wedding.
The goodbyes are always exceptionally hard. Despite being so close we only get to see our festival friends once a year. In the days after the festival its hard to adjust to not having those people around you on a daily basis. The post-festival blues are a real experience, one that quite a lot of us go through. As hard as it is to get through them it reminds us all how lucky we are to be involved in this warm and loving community. There’s never any hatred or bad feelings, just an outpouring of welcoming love that flows through us all like electricity. We can get each other through the dark times, it’s what family does, and we are a family.
It might be another year till we all see each other again but when it happens it will be like we were never apart. The Log Lady once said that “negative emotions can cause severe problems in our environment and to the health of our body. Happiness, usually classified as a positive emotion, can bring good health to our body, and spread positive foundations into our environment”.
So whenever things in the world get dark and heinous, let’s try to remember the happiness we experience when we’re all together. Let’s keep spreading that positivity and support until we see each other again… in the trees.