Reflecting on the Big Shakeout

By Kenny Stocker

We were well past the point of no return when we decided the Big Shakeout was a mistake. Everything was committed, but we were queueing up in line to bail.

Lemmings are born every day and wether they know it or not, they are going to have to face up to the spectre of a very long fall into oblivion. The choices are painfully simple; jump out or man up. Fortunately in Ilkeston high clifftops are few and far between and so the Big Shakeout had to go ahead, worst case? 9 people get to have a very exclusive, expensive party, 250 guests have the worst weekend of their lives and the company you have built up over the last 7 years disappears into the ether.

3 weeks on and the dust has settled over our little festival. The stress and uncertainties that had been building up over the months of preparation have been released, and our fears of failing have been extinguished. No one had to jump, and come Sunday evening we were able to stand proudly, together, with our heads held high. See for yourself but I thought it went pretty well!

Personal highlights for me were being able to chat with and absorb some of the enthusiasm the likes of Mike Mowbray, Andy Clark, James Blake, Ed Oxley, Adge and Sharon, Bob and Ally brought to the event. The dedication shown by all the Alpkit staff and all of the contributors to Word Of Mouth with Niall and Andy. Team Alpkit Pete Rhodes, Beth Monks, Johnny P for getting involved, our friends from Scotland and all those who had travelled from the farthest corners of the UK because they got it, and they wanted to be part of it because it was part of them.

Regrets? yeah there were some courses we couldn’t run: photograph courses with Keith Sharples and Lukasz Warzecha, bouldering masterclasses with Shauna Coxsey and James Garden. Early days perhaps.

And finally where did IT come from? It is true you are influenced by where you have been, who you have met and what you have done. We are not ashamed, nor bashfull in crediting those who have influenced us because these guys are the true heroes. Gérard Pailheiret (now sadly no longer with us) and Francois Lombard who have guided the ICE and TAB events that have stimulated us, and inspired us to stop thinking about the consequences and to just do an event we can be proud of. Nicoletta, Nicola and the rest of team MelloBlocco who showed us that you can attract a group of individuals together communally in a beautiful location to share an event and party together over a weekend and not be ashamed of sharing the love and passion for the isolated pockets of introverted activity we do week in and week out. Keith Crockford from the Hard Rock Fest for showing us that if you get a bunch friends and like minded individuals together with good music, and interesting stories you are going to end the weekend with more friends and an annual bookmark in your diary.

We were well past the point of no return when we decided the Big Shakeout was a mistake… thanks to everyone who had got us to that point, it is not a place that is reached easily.

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