Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Fertility Festival In Review

I have been delayed in getting any writing done this week as the universe has been sending me a lot of people, particularly mamas, who need my energy and my ear to help them through tough times. While this can be exhausting for me, I humbly embrace anyone who needs extra love and continue to give as much as I can. But for now, I am spending the time working on writing and getting reconnected with the rest of the world who I unfortunately don’t get to actually see on a day to day basis.

Last week, on Friday night, me and my family headed up to the gorgeous Summerhill Pyramid Winery here in Kelowna. I was excited and nervous to be performing new material for the first time in about a month. It is also the debut of some more current work which is taking a shift away from where I was creatively pre-Lennon. 

The sun was shinning and the weather was sweet, Lennon definitely moved her dancing feet to the rhythm. There were vendors and artisans selling handcrafted necklaces, wallets, and even an amazing crystal and semi precious stone stand.

Dancing time

All the vendors and artisans

Amazing stones and crystals

Spread across the vineyards were interesting paintings, sculptures and installation art pieces. Lennon particularly liked this giant hanging yarn and steel arm and hand. It was pretty sweet.

Checking out the arm art
We settled in near the stage I was to be performing at later in the evening. Lennon had so much fun dancing to the music and making friends with pretty much anyone she could find. Wineries aren’t the most baby proof areas and we spent a lot of our time running up and down the hilled area, keeping her out of the veggie beds and away from the parking lot. 

Dance party time with new friends

More vendors and party people enjoying music and sunrays

Looking out over the winery and the lake, as well as the veggie beds Len kept trampling on.
Eventually we worked our way down towards the kekuli where Lennon promptly found water and proceeded to climb up and over this cute little bridge a hundred times. It took some firm persuasion to convince her that the kekuli drum circle and fire were pretty sweet too. 

Crossing the magical bridge over and over and over and...

Daddy always has baby's safety in mind.

Smoke pluming from the top of the kekuli.

The bridge.

Finally entering the kekuli

Friends, fire, and drums = good times
After a complete and total meltdown over not being allowed to go swimming in the creek, we screamed our way up to the pyramid to check out what was going on up there. We were surprised by how quiet it was in the kekuli and figured that because it was still only around 6, the festival would start to get busier a bit later. Yet when we finally made it into the pyramid, it was even more dead than the kekuli. As we were walking up these eery stairs leading to the pyramid, I bumped in to the organizer of the festival. This was the game changer for the night.

Took a breather here on a swing after Lennon's fourth meltdown. At least the view was wonderful!

The pyramid

Art outside of the pyramid

Cool welcome letter as you enter the pyramid 
Crystals at the top of the pyramid
Stairwell to where? Didn't feel like heaven.
He hugged me, saying hello and remarking at how big Lennon has gotten. Then he asked me if I had gone up to perform poetry. 

I stared in confusion. I wasn’t suppose to be on for another hour and forty five minutes. What was I missing?

I told him that I was on at 7:45, right before my friend and local jazz musician Leila Neverland. He let out a sigh.

“Oh, I changed the schedule around. It just seemed to flow better. But you can still go on before Leila.” 
He quickly left, either awkward in his moment of admitting a large oversight in his organizational duties, or because he didn’t know what to say to a clearly confused and about to get emotional woman.

So I had missed my set because it was changed without me even knowing? I pulled out my phone and searched for the event info on facebook and sure enough, in between Wednesday evening when I had last checked the event page and the night of the performance, the schedule had been changed. A lot. I was no longer performing on the cute grassy hill while the sun sets. I was instead inside the wine shop, tucked away in a strange corner of a room full of pillars where the vendors had set up. And my performance time was for 2 pm. 2pm!!! I would have been at home, looking after Lennon, posting a blog about how excited I was to be a part of this sweet and innovative festival. Needless to say, I was pretty pissed off.

Firstly, because I was excited to perform and had missed my chance and there was nothing I could have done to change that. I wasn’t given the courtesy of a phone call, or an email, or even a simple facebook message saying check the schedule for changes. 

Secondly, because I had been shifted around and ignored, then told way after the fact, and still treated as though it didn’t matter. I was a totally insignificant part of this festival as a whole.

As an organizer of many events, rule number one is to keep the artists or performers happy. If you have no one to put on the show for your event, you don’t even have an event. I wasn’t the only person who was shifted and forgotten about. Many others complained of confusion over where things were happening and at what time. 

I was bummed and mad by the time 7 rolled around. I wanted to leave. And at the same time I didn’t want to leave at all. I had prepared these poems, bought a smoking hot dress, and actually put makeup on my face for the first time in quite awhile. I was here to perform and there were people here to see me perform. 

So I waited it out, unsure if I would go on before my friend or not. But when 8 arrived and my friend began to set up for her set, I made the leap and conquered my hurt feelings and pissed off demeanor and acknowledged that as a performer, the show had to go on.

I performed three poems instead of my planned six. As I mentioned, the stage I was on was in a room with low ceilings meaning terrible sound bouncing off of every wall. It was artificially louder than the room was busy. This is often a difficult aspect of performing poetry at a festival. The louder it becomes, the harder it is to hear the words, which of course is the point. To top it off, the room had 4 large pillars right in the middle, making it impossible to stand anywhere and see well. James told me he would just get in my line of vision and then someone would move, blocking him completely. 

With all of these adversities in my way, I found the performance was actually quite successful. Those that could hear and wanted to hear laughed, nodded, pondered and thanked me for my poetry. This is why I continue to get on stage and continue to share my work. Even if only three people enjoyed it, it is better than sitting at the base of my closet never seeing the light of day.

We had to rush out almost immediately after my performance which I find to be terrible performer etiquette but I didn’t have a choice. It was 9 already and Lennon was losing her mind while I performed (resulting in James not seeing any of my performance, which is maybe the fourth time this has happened) so we had to take her home and put her to bed.

Goodnight Summerhill

All in all, the event wasn’t a total failure but I had higher hopes for the festival. It felt unorganized and unenthused. The past two years had a far greater turn out and contribution from the artists in the area. I know they were competing with a music festival in the woods that night but hopefully the organizers take away from this event and its outcome many new approaches and ideas for the future. I would love to see this event be the cultural contributor it once was.

As for the future for me? I had applied for a position in a cool eco art collaborative project but unfortunately only made it to the short list. I will continue writing new poems for my manuscript and work on organizing everything I need to submit poetry and plays for publication and contests. Expect a post following my journey to get published!

Also, a recipe for vegan/gf rosemary flax crackers and a photo blog of our upcoming trip to Vancouver tomorrow! 

Have a wonderful long weekend Canadians, and to all the rest, enjoy your weekend and see you Monday!

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