Hi friends. We have a lot to catch up on, Wi-Fi isn’t always reliable on a traveling bus you know. Especially not when you are battling for bandwidth with 12 other people. But, none-the-less I am back and ready to share some more of my journey with y’all.
So, let’s recap, I’ve been from Ohio(Midwest Reggae Festival) to Pennsylvania (Philly Folk Fest) to North Carolina(Music on the Mountain Top). So far I’ve noticed that it doesn’t matter what festival you are at, people LOVE to hula-hoop.
As a professional, uh hem, festival goer at this point, I would have to agree with the locals, and say that there was something unique about the Philly Folk Fest. Some of the first campers I ran into were 3rd generation campers. They are not joking around about their dedication. I also talked to a girl who was writing her senior thesis on the camping culture at the folk fest. Not even mentioning the attractions.
On a transformed hay field in Schwenkesville, PA, as the roar of the audience dulls; across the fence in the campgrounds, the real entertainment comes to life. Walking down the ‘streets’ of the campground you can’t step more than 20 paces without hearing a pyramid of musicians. You could literally track the energy as it was carried down the lane. As the strumming of the Irish traditional is slowed, you can hear the hoots and hollers of a newly formed super group.
There is no stage, no line-up to follow, no expectations. It is just one giant interactive workshop of fiddles, handclaps, banjos, and harmonies.
This is not to down play the wonderment of being at a festival in the mountains however. Music on the Mountain Top not only was held in the Blue Ridge portion of the Appalachian Mountains, but also was where I was introduced to the concept of a Earth Mandala. Veronica, a crewmember that has been with the roadshow for about 5 years explained to me her inspiration for creating mandalas. It simply came about after she saw a feather strategically placed on the end of a tree branch. It was someone else’s vision of displaced combinations in the natural world that inspired her to continue this art. She informed me that various other cultures have used Earth Mandalas as centerpieces, if you will, for celebrations and group reflections. As for my experience, it brought together people from all age groups to be creative and build something beautiful together. The Mandala was a natural altar without the boundaries of membership or wallet. A magnificent compliment to the echo of blue grass in the background to this scene.
As we made our last round before leaving our allotted camp space, I heard music from a radio, a foreign sound at that point of the week. That rock-n-roll was noise pollution.