Well, it took me a day or two longer to get back into the swing of things after our Festival adventure than I had planned. There were 4 days worth of dusty funk to wash off of everything and a brief interlude with a flu bug to get over. Still, I am ready to report that we had a swingin' time! As always, it was one of the best parts of the summer by far.
Our compound was way back in the far right corner of the car camping area, a bit of a walk from the main stage area but protected on two sides by the woods. We start with a core group of friends and family and usually wind up with some wanderers joining up during the weekend. It's such a wonderful group of people to camp with. Each team plans a breakfast or dinner for the group. Let me tell you, this bunch can cook! We eat incredibly well with beautiful meals that are pleasing to the eye as well as the stomach.
Of course it is a weekend filled with music, wonderful music. It's hard for me to pick out my favorites. Many bands were caught on the fly by as I was chasing Pony Girl through the woods or on our way to see Lucky the horse.
Frazey Ford from The Be Good Tanyas was a favorite of many, Blind Boy Paxton seemed too accomplished and soulful for his years, Heartless Bastards rocked, and the headliner Bonnie Prince Billy (Will Oldham), was a pleasure to see and put on a very animated show! With over 40 bands it's hard to catch them all or choose the best. One of my favorite shows was Michael Hurley in the woods, an intimate gathering in a magical setting to listen to a legend.
Another enchanted musical moment was 'round the campsite, several of us playing and singing, with a random banjo/mandolin/guitar player wandering by to sit in. Sweet!
For the kids there is a circus, with hula hooping, stilt walking, juggling, puppet shows, crafts, and high wire acts! So awesome and not just for the kiddos.
Besides the amazing amount of good music, Pickathon is a festival that is unique in many other aspects. It's commitment to being as sustainable as possible went up a notch this year. In a joint effort with Kleen Kanteen, the makers of stainless steel water bottles, they produced reusable stainless steel cups for the beer gardens. You purchase a cup for $5.00, permanent markers and stickers were provided for personalizing, and you use your cup for the remainder of the festival.
A washing station and drying rack were available so that you could leave your cup next to the bar and retrieve it for your next beverage.
This eliminated over 35,000 plastic cups from going into a landfill! Along with that, no bottles of water were sold at the festival. It was announced that you must bring your own water container. Certified drinking water was brought in and there were filling stations throughout the property. You just fill up your containers at no extra cost, perfect. This eliminated over 15,000 plastic water bottles from being chucked into landfill! More solar power panels were added this year as well.
The food vendors were fantastic, though admittedly we did not need to use their services much due to our camp kitchen. All food at the festival is sold at "fair market value" meaning, prices may not be jacked up to outrageous cost like so many festivals. There was much organic, vegan and vegetarian options, a little something for everyone.
Oh, I almost forgot...biking to the festival was highly encouraged and many people did just that!
All in all, this is one of the most special festival events that I have been a part of. The sense of community and wellbeing is overwhelming. A perfect family tradition. There is a bit of bittersweet sentiment when it comes time to pack up camp and go home. We look forward to next year, which will be our 7th year going as a family! Thanks to all the bands, Pendarvis Farm, the organizers, and the countless volunteers that make this happen!
Whew! That was a long post and I still have yet to see the bottom of the laundry pile. I'm off to tackle it. Take care my friends.