Swedish Buscraft Festival

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Nov 29, 2010
Dalarna Sweden
Hi Guys 'n gals, it's been awhile since I posted something, but I wanted to share my experiences from the Swedish bushcraft festival held last weekend.
I copied it from my blog, so that's why it all looks a bit funny.

Bushcraftfestivalen 2017 - day 1, friday

Before I tell you about how I experienced the festival, a note; some of the pictures used in these posts are not mine. I chose to use them either because they show a lot better what things were like or simply because I had no alternative, because my phonecamera messed up. I asked and got permission by the photographers, for which my thanks.

Friday september 25th;
A small group of 6 people, myself included, had arranged to visit this bushcraftfestival and spend the night in my armytent. Unfortunately that group dwindled to 3 literally the night before departure. Too bad really, since I had really hoped to meet up with those that were unable to attend! But that should not damped my spirits and on friday afternoon I met up with Olli and Emma, loaded up the car even more and headed toward Gottröra, between Uppsala and Stockholm. The weather on the way in did make us a bit anxious; dark clouds and we could see showers of rain everywhere around us. The forecast had not been good early in the week, but improved greatly as the festival drew nearer. Could the forecasters have been wrong.... again??
On location we were shown where we could put up our tent and as we had spread out the cloth we were told to move. A minimum distance of 3 meters to our neighbours was mandatory. So we moved everything and gave it a second go. WHich turned out to be a good thing! The "camping" was actually a meadow for cows..... actively used! There were "small surprises" all over the place, but our new place proved to be clear of those.

Home away from home.
My phonecamera has started to get a life of it's own;
it messes with the images, changing colours and sizes!

I don't know where my mind was, but we proceeded erecting the tent incorrectly, as some folks were so kind as to point out and telling us the correct way of erecting such a tent. I had only done it twice on my own and the others never before at all. In the end we got that damn thing standing in a more or less acceptable way and we wrote it down to a learning experience.
After everything was in place, and me getting some disdainful looks for my level of comfort, we headed out on a "reconnaissance mission", see what the festival had in store so far..... which was not all that much at that time, since everyone was still busy getting set up and ready, including the salesstand crews. Food was being prepared, but I had brought my own, so that was of no concern to me anyway.
I had packed relatively lightly, leaving most "bush-essentials" at home, figuring I would not need them..... including my hatchet. I did bring 10l. of water, just in case and to avoid hauling it over a campingsite.

The image is Olli's, taken on location!

Olli was so kind to present me ( and many, many others) with a small present; real woodscoffee, roasted in Dalarna at a local microbusiness. It had a distinct dark flavoured smell and I was eager to try it, but that would not be today. This is how he described the contents; Dark roasted coffee, roasted by Tunestands kokkaffe. 60% brazilian Santos, 40% Colombian, 0% nonsense. Hey, that works for me!!

During the scouting out of the area my foolishness in packing lightly was brought to my attention. I had forgotten to bring a small frying pan! I had sausages, hamburgers, chapati bread, salad..... but no means to heat the meat! So I went looking for a kind soul, who had such a device and was willing to let me use it. As said earlier, warm food was being prepared, but it simply did not appeal to me. It was then that my eye fell on a gathering of tents that was arranged like a small camp.... with all the bells and whistles one would imagine in and around such a place, including off course a fireplace in the middle. And not such that. There were of course all the tools needed; pots&pans, knives and axes, skins and..... squirrels??? Yes, there were 2 squirrels hanging there, which by the looks of them, had exchanged the temporary for the permanent not too long ago. Looked like roadkill to me.... A bit of a bizarre kind of decoration, but they went well with the other skins.

There's Elle for you with babek in the back.
Picture is made by Tommy Levin.

Anyway.... Bustling about that little camp was a quite colourful young woman, who we would later get to know as Elle. Now there was someone with a passion for cooking over an open fire!! And we somehow got stuck there. The smells coming from her cooking might have had something to do with that, I suppose..... She prepared all sorts of dishes, all the while hardly being short in words or movement and she whipped up the most delicious bits of food with simple ingredients, gladly and constantly passing them around for everyone to taste. I did not get a chance to ask or use her muurikka (that's a concave metal disc with legs to put over a fire and fry on. Look at the picture), but it turned out I did not need to!! However she was not alone in doing so. Beside her was an at least equally "colourful" person, whom I already could identify before we even had met. That person was a heartwarming, hearty and joyful man, going by the name of Babek. Now there is a person, whom you can not dislike, try as hard as you might!! And he too passed around food bits for everyone to try, this time with a middle eastern flavour to them.
So as I said I got stuck there and quite a few more around me. The evening progressed, we talked and laughed and tasted, had a few beers and met with more people and potential new friends. The atmosphere was very relaxed and open and as I
lowered myself on an open spot, I found myself sitting next to a charming young lady, whom I recognised too via that despised and yet wonderful medium facebook; Ida and her dog Luna. Apparently Luna liked me quite a bit, seeing that she ended up laying across my lap for quite some time that evening. The evening progressed, the list of names I learned and kept forgetting, grew longer and the temperature dropped quite noticeably! At around 23:00 I called it a night, thanking all for food and good company.

Some of the goodies presented to taste.
These actually were not Elle's, but another lady's.
Forgot her name (of course),
but know it was estonian smoked cheese and bread.
Picture by Ida Olsson



Nov 29, 2010
Dalarna Sweden
Bushcraftfestivalen 2017 - day 2, saturday

The day did not start too well. Well, the night to be more accurate.
It got cold. Temperature dropping to just a few degrees above freezing and most, including me, apparently only had summer sleeping gear. It already was quite cold when I hit the sack, so I kept most of my clothes on, remembering my lessons from the Gyllbergen-meet, but still it was not a warm and cosy night. Due to some beverages the previous evening I had to get out in the middle of the night and walk a bit toward the toilets. A thick fog covered the area. So not just cold, but very damp as well. Not the best of combinations. After being relieved and having circulation going again, it took a while before I fell asleep again, but that happened nonetheless.
The sun rose to clear skies, quickly burning away the fogs and rapidly increasing the temperature in the tent. I slept in kind of late, so after a quick breakfast I headed out toward the festival grounds again. Lots of things to see and lots of workshops/classes to attend! There were workshops on fire, whittling, hide tanning, tracking, talks about bushcraft, integration, emergency preparedness, using a cooking pit and much more. Scores of stands with the practically obligatory sharpies and shinies a.k.a. knives and axes and even a gunsmith with black powder weapons. I love that stuff!! Of course there were some big names, like Paul Kirtley, Harry Sepp and Lisa Stenton adding their luster to the spectacle. Well, you saw the programme in an earlier post, probably.

There's one of the squirrels being prepared for tanning.
Picture by Olli

One of the first things I went to do was a workshop regarding hide tanning, given by Mikael, another one of those people that add a dash of colour and flavour to happenings like this festival. I listened and watched, but could not complete his workshop, because of other overlapping workshops. But I did get to drop in, watch and ask on several occasions, so I still did learn a lot!

Olli in the race, seeking
honour and glory for Dalarna!

After that I dropped in at Paul Kirtley's workshop for a short while, before heading off to a talk on tracking, which started a bit later. I planned to go back to Paul on sunday anyway.
After a belated lunch it was time for the Swedish Friction Fire Championship. A burst of frantic activity ensued after the participants had received their materials. If I recall correctly the first flame emerged within 15 minutes! Many red faces and tight muscles were seen under the blazing sun. It had gotten pretty warm by now.
The next talk I attended, was one given by Babek about integration and diversity. Now you might be thinking it was all about immigrants and as I you'd be wrong in that assumption. Yes, that was a subject, but also indigenous youths and even adults and how we all interact. That was the integration and diversity he wanted to address. I must say Babek is not just a very likeable guy, he is also spirited, enthusiastic and laid back, but most of all he was able to inspire.
By then the time had come for dinner and I was ravenous. Whole pork and lamb, slow roasted over an open fire. Add some potatoes, bread and sauces and a man feels well fed. After dinner it was time for Lisa Fenton's talk about her studies on bushcraft and things related. I had listened to her 2 years ago on the first national bushcraft meeting and I wanted to hear if there had been any developments. Besides I am a succer for history and her studies contain plenty of that!! Stuff like this in the end always ends up costing me cash and making me look for room on my bookshelves.....
Not that there weren't any books to buy on location, although I had expected more, really. Which is just as well, keeping me out of trouble!!!

Dinner in the making!!
After that it was once again time for socialising and leisure, which was seen to with great enthusiasm by many! I did end up in the same corner as the night before catching up with old friends and new ones. The short night and the beers persuaded me to turn in rather early that night.... in shrill contrast to some (or many) others.
During the day we had seen to it that we had some logs for the tentstove and we intended to use those if necessary!! But that night was not quite as cold as the previous one, despite crystal clear skies, displaying a grand starry night. One would almost forget the proximity to the urban world around, but cars and planes did break that idylle on a regular basis, unfortunately.

This for me was one of the highlights of the festival; meeting with others around the campfire, having a bite to eat, sharing a beer or two and hear each other's stories or sharing knowledge.
Picture by Ida Olsson



Nov 29, 2010
Dalarna Sweden
Bushcraftfestivalen 2017 - day 3, sunday

Now the last day of the festival started of with a bit of an incident. one of those night owls previously mentioned, was dear Olli, who decided to call it a day at 04:00am. He thought it was pretty cold, as it actually was again, as well as very damp, so he figured he'd fire up the tent stove. Now the wood we had taken, appeared to cut quite recently and it had been laying on the ground. So not.... entirely dry. He also decided to use some cardboard to get things going, which had also been laying on the ground and thus even less dry than the wood. Result; a tent completely filled with smoke!! And that woke me with a bit of a shock! So I got up and opened the tent window, whereas Olli had opened the door and flapped it in order to ventilate. In the meantime I got the fire going and the resulting draft cleared the tent of smoke within 5 minutes. In that same amount of time the temperature within the tent had risen to almost comfortable levels. That was faster than I had expected!
We went back to bed and Emma had slept through it all..... Olli volunteered to keep an eye on the fire..... but dozed off within 5 minutes. So I added another log and lay there, huddled in my sleeping bag, listening to the soft roar of the flames, watching the flickering of the flames through the air holes onto the tent cloth, letting my mind go empty and after a while I dozed off again, too.

We weren't going to stay all day, but agreed that we'd leave a bit after lunch. We'd attend the last workshops and pack in between them. For me that meant seeing Paul Kirtley's workshop on fire. he explained how we can create a blazing fire out of a dead standing tree with knife and firesteel..... and of course a saw to take the thing down and cut in up. It involved batoning, making feathersticks and ending of with lighting them with a firesteel. I got some great advice from Ian, one of Paul's associates. Thanks for that!
And between packing, eating lunch, talking to folks a last time we also checked out the cooking pit. There was no small surprise to learn that eventually the stones therein reached a scorching 450C and that a large piece of rump steak was wrapped in moss, put in between the stones and left to cook over time.... just like that. 1 to 1,5 hrs for every kilo of meat if I understood correctly.

Picture by Way Out at the Casström stand

Harry Sepp talking about he book he co-wrote....
after he had made a whistle out of a soda can!!

A big thanks to Johan Forsberg, Tobias Karlsson, Bushcraft Sverige, Babek Toloe, Elle Nikish of Elles utemat, outdoor photographer Ida Olsson for "lending" me her dog Luna, Mikael Åkerman for some highly entertaining lessons in hide tanning, Lisa Stenton, Paul Kirtley, Clive Swombow and all those others, both working and attending for a great weekend!
Don't know you all, didn't meet you all, forgot many names, but know that your effort was and is greatly appreciated!!!


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