Saturday, August 20, 2016

Roots and Blues Festival, Friday Night

From Rebecca:

"I added my name to the back of this festival
chair: Ceilidh 2016"
"My first time to the festival.  Aunt Bonnie gave me
a $20 bill, told me to spend it and to come
back and tell her what I had purchased."
This year Arta didn’t come to the Roots and Blues Festival.

We banned her until she can do 12 hours in the hot sun.

So Bonnie and I headed off as the only two adults for our small group: Duncan, Ben, Megan, Ceilidh and Connor (David’s friend).


 Six teens or teen-wannabees. They all had programmes, chairs, blankets, money and had been instructed in festival protocol.

Not a full instruction, because when the band Digging Roots asked us to come to the front to participate in a round dance, I couldn’t shame a single one into joining me.

But I got up there myself.

And ended up having my groovy dance captured on the big screen for the pleasure of my little crew. I can still boogie.

My favourite band this time was Digging Roots whose first song, “I’ll Cut My Hair” was about residential schools.

The second song, “Highway 17” was about missing and murdered indigenous women. They were just great. I bought their CD, along with 17 others. This is my once a year event to support musicians. Every year a big purchase appears on the VISA bill. It is always the same thing. Me with my festival purchases.
"My festival chair is before me.
I am packed and read to go." 

The Secwepemc welcoming at the beginning of the festival was a relatively quiet affair.

A prayer from an elder and a flute song by one of their relatives from the Navaho nation who has married in the Secwepemc.

I had already been told that the big elders gathering is this weekend in another venue, so I know most indigenous people are elsewhere this week-end, unfortunately.

The flute, though, was amazing.

 It sounded like he had two flutes going at the same time.

 It is a particular wooden flute that does have two openings at the top.

"My sunhat doubles as an umbrella."
I also loved having him there because the Elder’s introduction and their use of him as part of their introduction was a reminder that people from different places can become part of the same community, which felt a bit like an introduction to settlers to understand themselves as people who can learn to belong to the community.

The bonus is that the community will continue to acknowledge where they come from and draw on their skills as part of the new community.

"This is my fourth Roots and Blues Festival."
Bonnie and I walked past the flute player later in the evening and I grabbed him to tell him how much I had enjoyed his music. Bonnie asked him how he managed to make two notes at the same time and so he pulled out his flute and started playing for us again. I had assumed he made the notes by changing his finger position on the flute but it turns out it is in his embouchure. That was fun. I keep being reminded, say hello to people.

There was a funny thing that happened in the evening.

I went to check out the aboriginal art booth at the festival. I admired the goods. I started a conversation with the artist and his partner/wife. There was a beautiful woven cedar hat there and cedar roses on the table. I told them I have a cedar rose that someone gave me after they took their first workshop (the rule on the coast is that you have to give away the first one that you make).
"I am looking forward to the
flavoured lemonade at the festival.
Raspberry to be specific."

There was also a small pair of earrings with cedar headbands.

I told them I loved the hat but that I have a friend who is starting to make them and so I might end up buying one from her, but that I would buy the earrings, since they reminded me of my friend, Carla Point.

He said, “Carla Point! That is my cousin. And those other earrings are by Mary Martin, who is Carla’s cousin, too.”

So I have a selfie of me and Ernie to send Carla. It turns out he lives near Campbell River where Steve is working on the new hospital. It is a small world.

"And now into town to pick up my friend, Connor.
Festivals are more fun in twos and threes."
I showed Bonnie the earrings.

She took them and put them on her ear lobes and she went back over to browse at the aboriginal art booth, getting no eye contact with the owners and not mentioning anything to see if they would notice the earrings.

 It took a while.

She saw them whispering back and forth. Finally they said, “Excuse me, did someone just give them to you.”

As usual, there was an amazing sunset over the festival.


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