Gettin’ my SWIRL on…
The ninth Shakori Hills Spring Grass Roots festival brought music, art, rain, hippies, families, and so much more together in a culture-filled, weekend extravaganza. Early Thursday morning, I arrived to the festival grounds, checked in, loaded my gear out of my car, and hitched a ride on a tractor to the camping area. I found a nice, little spot to pitch my tent in the camping area coined “Middle Earth.” Although we weren’t actually in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional world, the attire and facial hair of many-a-folk begged to differ.
Being that it was my first Shakori Hills Grassroots festival, exploration of the festival grounds was essential in order to orient myself throughout the weekend. While meandering about, the sounds of music diffused through the air and entered my ear balls resulting with my “festival switch” being turned on. Everyone has a festival switch, even the most uptight Philistine; although more often than not when the switch of the Philistine is turned on, it results in his/her head exploding. Anyways, my “festival switch”…oh, yes. When the switch is fired on all stress is forgotten, and you are left carefree in a world surrounded by some of the friendliest people you can possibly imagine.
After orienting myself around the 72-acres of meadow and forest, I decided to truck it back to “Middle Earth” to get some banjo-time in before I head into the music. Before I could touch my finger to a string, two strangers, in the distance were magnetized to the wood and skin of my banjo. These weren’t any two strangers, but rather a man in drag and a woman with tons of tattoos and piercings. They also carried with them some dancing utensils including: one set of fluffy orange balls and a set of iron triangles. So, I sat there and played my banjo while these festifreaks (not in a derogatory way) danced about—a good way to start the music!
Now, it’s somewhat difficult to paint a picture of what this large event was all about, but I will try and hit the major events through the photo album. One thing the photo album doesn’t illustrate is the weather and slop. Thursday and Friday brought some severe rains to the area, resulting with the festival grounds turning into a bog. In a nutshell it was NASTY…
The festival hosted many workshops including a blues workshop with Captain Luke, Whistling Britches, and Ironing Board Sam, as well as a Cajun music workshop with Eunice, Louisiana’s Pine Leaf Boys. Educational workshops such as sustainability workshop and square dance workshops were some of the others.
Festival goers gotta eat…Many food vendors set up trucks and stands for the festival attendees’ pleasure. There was barbeque, Mexican, crepes, and even breakfast. My personal favorite food item was a sandwich entitled “The Veggie Thing.” This sandwich was loaded with salad greens, onions, salsa, and a little slice of love (the secret ingredient). After stuffing your face with the festival food, it may be necessary to wash it down with a tasty beverage. For this very reason, a North Carolina native posted his soda truck in the food village. Bob Muse of Indian Trail, NC is the co-owner of Hillbilly Bob’s Soda Company, and executive soda-maker. This soda was the best damn soda I had ever had, and the best part was it was served in recycled Bush’s baked beans’ cans.
Although mother nature decided to make it rain, festival goers were not phased at all. The spring festival was a good vacate from sanity, and thankfully, the fall festival will open up the door and welcome us festifreaks, soon enough!
So with that…Peace, Love and Swirl (the symbol for Festival as coined by Griff Blakewood of Lafayette, La)!