We paid our endlessly-long-line-up dues, got our wristbands, and were granted entry into four days of chaos, fun, Porta Potty unpleasantness, love, over-heating, joy, and amazing sound. We kicked off in our usual way, with friends, cider, beer and wine, and then tentatively tested out our dancing feet with Corb Lund. We let Emmylou Harris lyrics tap into our dark places and make us weep, and then infused the Afrobeat sounds of Amadou and Miriam into our psyches to recharge.
In the evening (I can’t remember which one), a cool breeze coming off the now-damp grass, the sounds of The Barr Brothers baptized us in beauty. Perfection. In the hot afternoon sun, we happily bumped into each other and (less happily and accidentally) swapped sweat with total strangers to the energy of Arrested Development and a stage so full of talent and humour that I vowed to continue returning to this spectacular music festival on this spectacular hill in this wonderful city until I’m too old to navigate the hill, even if my friends tire of it and I need to go solo.
I know, I’m easily mesmerized at the hands of musical magicians, but still: I don’t think it is possible not to be at least partially hypnotized at some point during this extravaganza of sound and beauty.
Of course, participating in four-day events as rich and sleep-deprived as this means reaching upper limits of pleasure and the sudden bloom of at least one bit of conflict. (I have a pathologically low tolerance for conflict and emotional withdrawal, and consequently wept through the entire gorgeous set of James Vincent McMorrow.) But workshops like La Bottine Souriante, Lennie Gallant, Martin Joseph and the Paul McKenna Band—all crowded together on one little stage and playing together—infused enough joy and energy to make it all worthwhile. Later, the gorgeous sounds of the gorgeous Bahamas from about five rows back was divine.
After a month of daily severe weather we saw not a single drop of rain or hail all weekend, nor a single lightening bolt, and despite mosquito warnings, I used no repellant and got not a single bite. I gorged myself on pleasure, on sunshine, on Fat Franks and cider and other wonderful foods, and on beautiful, beautiful sounds and beautiful and happy and wonderfully weird people. And I’ve squirreled a bunch of it away for the barren winter a few short months ahead.