Summer of Festivals
Every road-weary music person craves a day when he or she can throw it all down on a Summer of Festivals. There has always been a glimmer; the glimmer is some future day when one needn’t drive through the wastes to find Every Nice Night. The glimmer is a hope for a Summer of Festivals — a season of sun when one is flown from party to party, to play music and to celebrate without passing the distance between. Well that season is right here, right now. There is no other place I want to be!
My summer began several weeks ago when I clambered aboard a Westjet craft to revisit YMIR, British Columbia. The Tiny Lights Music Festival is everything I remembered from last year and scads more. Stranger and more concentrated, this unforgettable party filled up every odd nook of my being. Every nook of the town was filled with music and oddness too. The crumbly schoolhouse, the stunning wooden church, the fall-apart community hall still sporting its pristine Economic Action Plan sign…we knew it would be great and it was! We rode those rising blue arrows sky-high.
I was housed in the Emperor Suite of the YMIR hotel with various wayward friends. The hotel is a huge, rickety old place filled with plenty of haphazardly hung art. I think I described it before. Well it’s still there and even older, ricketier, better, etc. It’s still run by an old man who seems only slightly put out by having this jangly fiasco thrust upon him yearly. He doesn’t seem to mind too much!
Sometimes the fellow tells you to stop what you are doing and go to your room but it’s not so bad at all because the rooms are cool.
I heard all kinds of music and performed my own songs with astounding companions in various outlandish spaces. I even hosted my famous ‘Making Things’ abstract art and music workshop under a big gazebo tent. Shawn and Carla, the festival organizers, are carrying a not-so-tiny torch and it is burning ever brighter every year.
Next, I was at the Campbell Bay Music Festival. This place was even more lovely than I had heard. The whole thing took place on Mayne Island, BC in a valley on hill. That sounds impossible and it is! I didn’t even know Mayne Island existed, but there it was. The rolling hills went down to a sunny bay. When the sun set, every strand of every person’s hair was moving to the rhythm every breezy night. In the latest hours, a secret forest stage opened up and the people danced some more. Like ewoks. We all did. After the Ewok party, friends and I were invited to celebrate on a boat, but when we reached the water we realized the boat was in the middle of a lake… we would have to paddle out in a little canoe and none of us were in any condition to do this sort of thing. So, dismayed, we threw stones at the water instead. That’s when we realized the lake was full of phosphorescent algae. Every time we made a splash, we created glowing green galaxies in the water. So we messed around there for about an hour. It was completely incredible and unnerving.
The following weekend I visited Moncton Folk Festival, which tookplace on a vast Holiday Inn courtyard. The property actually made for a strangely perfect and incongruous festival grounds. The party was rich in hospitality, immaculate east-coast tunes and fantastic naps.
Next I flew home for Hamilton’s “Because Beer” festival. I could not resist being involved in such a seductively named event. It was a very well put together shindig spearheaded by my friends at Sonic Unyon. It really was Because Beer but the stage and the music and the people were instrumental too. I got to hear songs from my pals Salty Dog and Sensae among others, so that worked out just fine!
Next I will be at Wolfe Island Music Festival on August 7th. That’s near Kingston and it’s two days after my birthday, so I’ll be able to legally drink! Join me! Then on the weekend of August 14th I’ll be performing at the Fred Eaglesmith Picnic. I’ve always thought it would be fun to hang out with that guy. This is my chance.
Finally, on August 21st I am flying to Fort St. James for the Music on the Mountain Festival. I have played this one before and it was great… A bunch of hard-lefty northern BC friends getting perfectly inebrified. With the political winds changing as they are I’m sure we will all get drunk with power too. My summer of festivals is well under way and it has grown a squirmy and wiley brain of its own! I hope to see you inside my summer of festivals brain.