– Could it be magic? –

by Sally Northeast, co-creator of Comms Unplugged

Magic. Is it really a thing? We might use it to describe a perfect moment, or a feeling that gets you right in the gut, or maybe even something others would label a happy coincidence.

CU19 sky over marqueesThe word magic is being used a-plenty in connection with this year’s Comms Unplugged. It denotes the way the sky perfectly set itself up – this year, like every year without fail – to mirror our cheerful little logo.

It reflects the moment the heavens opened as our incredible keynote speaker Jonny Benjamin reached the low point in the heart-felt account of his journey to face his mental health struggles.

Magic was the arrival in the field of brand new #unpluggers, wide-eyed and timid, who were immediately greeted with offers of help and advice from their fellow field-dwellers, ready and willing to help pitch tents, build fires and lend a hand.

It’s the way our fantastic ‘resident’ singer-guitarist Tom Clements dealt with the rule of no amplified music after 10.30pm, deftly switching to acoustic and continuing to play as the eager unpluggers sat on the floor like first school children, hanging on his every word and chord.CU19 Tom Clements unplugged

It’s the joy of sharing the great outdoors, the fresh air, the sights, smells and sounds of beautiful Dorset, with a bunch of people you didn’t know before you arrived, but who suddenly feel like friends you’ve known for years.

Magic is the delicious alchemy that happens in the Perfect Pig’s curry pot, or Fiery Fox’s wood-fired pizza oven, or Love Cake’s Dorset Apple Cake.

It’s the focussed attention you can give to speakers when you’re disconnected from your phone and other devices, allowing you to really listen and connect with the people sharing your marquee.

CU19 rock decoratingAnd it’s the delight at discovering new wellbeing activities – anything from painting rocks, to yoga (laughter and standard!), to taking mindful walks or spotting Dorset’s bird species, learning the power of essential oils or how to plant your garden so it will attract bees.

It’s the moment an unplugger pulls a hand-crafted giant Comms Unplugged deckchair out of his Smart car. Or the quiet calm of another as he builds a fire every morning and night for his fellow campers.CU19 giant deckchair

It’s the bursting pride you feel, and the enormous love and respect you have for your co-organisers, as you stand together and view this beautiful, emotional, downright crazy but wonderful thing you’ve created together.

It’s all the little moments – too many to describe – that make up the big ball of loveliness that Comms Unplugged has become.

So if you don’t believe in magic, if you think I’m talking a load of mumbo-jumbo, I challenge you to resist the charm and fairy dust that is, without doubt, sprinkled around that field in Dorset. Go on – we’ve already booked for 2020. #CUinthefield?

CU19 #teamunpluggedComms Unplugged is a learning and wellbeing experience for communications professionals organised by Sally Northeast, Georgia Turner and Darren Caveney. Save the date for #CU20: 10-12 September 2020. Tickets will be on sale in the new year.