Lights and love. Those are the things that stick in my mind after this past weekend at Edmonton Folk Fest. A great big bunch of people loving music and being kind to each other. Twinkling candlelight on the hill after the sun set. And lots of life lessons there for the taking. Here are a few that stick out in my mind:
Folk Fest is the place to be inspired to be yourself. You can see just about any type of dress or headgear. Everything from time warped hippies to urban casual to downright funky. No one is trying to impress anyone else. Everything goes. Imagine your day if you worried a little less about the opinions of others and a little more about expressing who you really are.
Rain or shine the show goes on. Human beings are meant to enjoy the outdoors. We share a connection with nature that we sometimes ignore by staying cooped up inside because it’s too hot or too cold or too wet. This year the weather was nearly perfect but it wouldn’t have mattered.
Dance when you feel like it.
There are always dancers at Folk Fest. People who get up and move to the beat. The best part? No one seems too concerned about how well they can dance. No one watching them really cares. People who dance don’t have a self conscious bone in their bodies. They are simply in tune with the rhythm. So if the spirit – or the music – moves you, get up and dance. And if you see someone dancing, no judgments.
Share the space.
Put more than 20,000 people in a relatively confined space and you might expect that things could get a little territorial. Not really. Seems that the folks at Folk Fest are all about sharing the space. Yes there are some basic rules to create some expectations around behaviour. I really like this one: Use polite discussion to resolve disputes. Not that I actually saw any disputes. Just goes to show that human beings have the capacity to cordially share the space on this planet when we decide we want to.
Enjoy music every day.
In the end of course Folk Fest is all about the music. Not just folk music but a diverse collection of artists well known and newly discovered. Everything from blues and R&B to gospel and new world, hip hoppin, rockin and blue grass. People are better when they are surrounded by music – all kinds of it. Music that lifts you up or calms you down. Music for shaking your booty or tapping your toes You gotta have music every day.
My biggest take away this weekend?
Just the reaffirming reminder that life is not all that complicated, people are basically good-hearted and we can create anything we set our minds to.