Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Losing Entry - 13 Reasons I Love the Winnipeg Folk Festival (TT#12)


Thirteen Things I Love About the Winnipeg Folk Festival

This was my losing entry to their contest. I'll get over it. But it will take the combined efforts of Michael Franti, Eliza Gilkinson, Nanci Griffiths, Joan Armatrading, Ray Davies, and all their friends to make me feel better.
Hope to see you at Birds Hill Park next weekend.


I could talk about the vibe, the tribe,
(1) the fields of friends in tie-died splendor,
children of all ages with painted faces,
who move and groove in the groves
and the trees in rain and shine,
(2) united as one collective of souls
brought together briefly each summer season -

but I'd rather talk about the reason we gather -
the weaving of magic through music -
voice and 6-string and drum skin and fiddle and banjo and double bass
and 12 string and kora and mora musica than ever thought possible -
(3) gathering all the colored threads of cultures and continents
to bridge all divides for all classes
gathered on the grasses
of the most sacred place on the planet
for 3.5 glorious days.

(4) And the magic flows onstage too -
musical strangers become family, friends and even lovers
for a song or two right
before our very eyes,
as the workshops give our invited guests
a place to stretch, to laugh,
to show off, to admire and be admired -
holding their own, stepping in, stepping up,
sharing a lick, a trick
or a tremulous harmony,
(5) making something unexpected happen
and pulling rabbits out of their musical hats.

(6) Mainstage is a feast, served up in courses like a banquet -
to ten thousand place settings that use tarps for tablecloths.

I would rather talk about the music
because that's matters most to me -
songs of healing and heartbreak,
songs of injustice and making things right.
Lamentations of peoples pushed down and pulled up
by their boot and bra straps
with a triumphant shout.
(7) Salvation found in the sound
of an acoustic guitar on Sunday morning -
or was that Saturday night?
Ballads of times long gone by -
though the human story stays the same.
(8) Dance tunes from all corners of this great blue marble
that lift the heart with the high stepping of each foot
and spirits are joyful linked as the dancers
whirl and twirl together
with arms encircled.

I would rather talk about the music
(9) because folk music has meaning -
words that overcome - that overwhelm -
that makes us aware of the need
for change in our inner and outer landscapes.

Folk music is always about something -
living, laughing, having fun,
love lost and found,
(10) or maybe even that peace be given a chance.

Folk Festival music comes in many styles,
(11) but one Folk Festival size fits all -
the joyful, the hopeless, the rebellious, the reserved, and
those who just want to have a good time.

I love the Winnipeg Folk Festival because of the music.
(12) It gives me hope, and sweetens my dreams.
The sound of the music never really fades from the Festival site -
it lingers on the breezes -
held by the trees for safekeeping til next summer.
I've heard it.

(13) Each year, the Folk Festival makes my heart a promise -
and keeps it.

(C) Susan Hurrell - Winnipeg - 2008
(yes, I back dated it to Thursday - the losers were announced Friday morning - so I am time-shifting just a little. Don't hate me because I can screw with the space-time continuum)


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