Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dirty words

The good news about Folklife is that the weather was fantastic. Just about the best four days I could have hoped for. Unfortunately sales didn't follow. It was my second worst show ever. I can't blame the economy; the festival just wasn't a good fit for my type of work.

For example, I have never seen so many people eating out of trash cans. And not just eating, but relishing the hunt for half-eaten morsels of food. This was not about being poor and driven to the indignity of dumpster dining... this was a whole new attitude I admit I don't understand. There was pride in digging through the garbage, pulling out a treasure, and rubbing it on their faces.

It totally squicked me out. How bourgeois of me.

So in between the constant drumming, Peruvian flutes, saxophone, and main stage jamming, I felt like I was under aural attack. By themselves, these sounds can be beautiful, but together they make chaos, cacophony, noise. 36 hours of constant sound.

I have never been so happy for silence.

On Sunday night I closed my booth for the night and walked around the outskirts of the festival. At 8:30pm, the place was packed with young people, bouncing hacky sacks between their feet, strumming guitars, pounding the bottom of buckets with their hands, dancing barefoot in the grass. I admired their carefree attitude. It looked like an awful lot of fun.

I stopped at the beer garden and drank my Mirror Pond slowly, watching. Like the picket fence between us, a huge gulf has always separated me from that world and the one I've chosen. I do not let loose like that. I do not make instant friends with everyone I meet and find myself having crazy adventures with a reclaimed burrito. Nor have I ever worn a sign scrawled with the words, "Free Hugs."

And that's okay.

But maybe this weekend, just for fun, I will walk barefoot through the grass and see if it still feels just as good as I remember.


George said...

Goddam hippies have no appreciation for real art.

You should have put your photos in a garbage can, and then told people they had to pay 50 bucks to pull them out.

Maya said...

Yes, walking barefoot in the grass. Doesn't really get any better than that!

I don't know how you dealt with that noise! I couldn't wait to get out. I love music and would have loved any of those acts on their own, but all competing like that is insane!

Christy said...

George, you're funny.

Maya, I'm so glad I got to finally meet you. I just wish the crowds and the noise weren't so darn overwhelming.