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Tommy Thompson's new festival firm succeeds
A former postman from the district has handed in his mail sack to launch his own business making teepees for luxury campers at music festivals.
Tommy Thompson’s teepees have been used at festivals throughout the UK this summer by everyone from the new wave of glamorous campers to reiki therapists and musicians.
He launched Camping Under the Stars last year and now puts his tailoring skills to good use stitching together the large amount of fabric needed for every teepee he makes.
He said: “I worked as a postman for 11 years. But I have got a quite a few friends involved in organising music events and I had an epiphany one week and started making teepees to hire out at festivals.
“It was a bit hard to do initially because I had to finance most of it myself and do it in my spare time. It took a while to get to the position I am in now where I have got quite a few orders coming in.”
Mr Thompson’s teepees are based on a design used for hundreds of years by Sioux indians in North America. They are up to eight metres in diameter, can comfortably sleep six people in three double beds and are furnished by Mr Thompson with ethnic carpets and sheepskin rugs. Each teepee takes one week to make and needs two people to put it up.
The canvas is so large after it has been stitched together that Mr Thompson hires a badminton court so he can lay it out flat to cut out the teepee’s shape.
“It is hard work making them,” he said. “The fabric is quite heavy, especially when you have got so much of it to get under the sewing machine. That is where my tailoring skills come in.
“The teepee poles are 23 feet long and are like a Christmas tree when they arrive. All the branches need taking off, the bark needs to be stripped and the pole needs sanding and oiling with linseed oil.
“I have had a lot of help from my friends to meet the order deadlines and I don’t think I could have done it without them.”