Over this past week and a bit, I had the privilege, NAY – the honour, to participate and watch a festival – with it’s purpose rooted in community, love and togetherness – spring from the earth over three days and emerge as a place of solace for those that may find themselves there. I looked on as several white tents, one knitted tee pee and a wide array of spaces popped up with ease by the hands of an immensely caring group of people, working together, as one. The South Country Fair, celebrating it’s 30th birthday, is where I found myself this weekend, for the very first time.
My relationship with the fair started by happenstance. Having fallen into the lap of the love of my life, who helps a lot with the fair, I became immersed almost immediately in all of the hard work and time it takes to run this music festival. I was adopted into their weird little family, almost instantly. This group of people who chose to spend their time helping this festival come to fruition, without pay, and without a desire of recognition. These folks are there because they want to be, and because they love this place. I was briefly privy to the work that goes into booking bands, and making sure they get here with ease. What it takes to feed hundreds of people, and I’m pretty sure I still don’t appreciate the extent of it. The behind the scenes people helping with garbage, port-a-potties, recycling, the medics, the emergency responders, the stage crew, the sound guys. Everyone! An unbelievable amount of effort went into making sure the show went on, and it did. Despite tumultuous weather, sagging tents and a tornado warning, the show indeed, went on.
And then you’re immersed. It’s the weekend, music is playing, food trucks are humming, people are hula-hooping, sometimes you’ll even see people on stilts, people juggling and most of all, people having a good time. The sound of laughter, of children. Genuine smiles plastered on the faces of everyone. Kindness oozing from almost every single crack of the fair grounds. No ones working. For a brief period of time, worries fall away and bliss takes over. And while you’re here on the weekend, you enter this big bubble of love and light. Of acceptance and appreciation. You find, your people. Your tribe. You think: “So this is where you’ve been, fuck you for taking so long!” But, as people will probably tell you, what a wonderful feeling once you’ve found it. I feel incredibly humbled to have been able to share in a piece of this big pool of love. To you: The people of South Country fair, my heart will forever be full.
All photos taken by yours truly