by PAMELA HULSE ANDREWS Cascade A&E Publisher
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~ Marcel Proust (French novelist, critic and essayist 1871-1922)
It’s hard to believe that I would compare a brazenly weird survival camp to a mainstream harmonious music festival. The first, Burning Man, is in the middle of the Black Rock Desert, a hot brutal setting where the elements alone can measure your strength of fortitude. The other, Sisters Folk Festival, is situated in a quiet, comfortable town with pleasant amenities that allow you to settle in comfortably.
But coming from one to the other within a few short days allows me to reflect on why I like both and how the experiences are mutually rewarding.
The music at Burning Man is full barrels on cabaret…a quarry of mixed blues and rock’n’ roll, leaving no upbeat and weathered genre unturned. Whereby the Folk Festival is a well-planned bevy of unabashed Americana music from blues to honky-tonk to classic country and good ole’ rock’n’roll.
There’s much to like about both, although the Folk Festival clearly is all about the music and Burning Man is more complicated combining survival, connection and expression through amazing works of art turned into invigorating flames.
It seems silly to compare them if not for jumping from one to the other so quickly, hardly taking a breath from the hot crazy desert scene to the harmonious selection of the agreeable western town of Sisters.
Still the similarities remain with me and here is what I want to share:
There is something about being exactly where you want to be when you want to be there that makes people happy…and happy people I encountered at both places. Not just hi, what a nice day this is happy, but the kind of impression that you want to hug just about everyone you cross paths with. The kind of happy that if you lost your ticket or forgot where you were staying, you knew everything would be just fine. The sort of happiness that inspires a new adventure around every corner.
Second, the people who made it all happen, who spent all the hours and days before the event to make sure that everything was in place and your experience would be grand. Those people are really happy…even being exhausted they are still jovial, accommodating and welcoming. You want to say: I’ll have what she’s having.
Third, gifting. Yes, you are required to purchase a ticket to both events (although the mere $100 for Sisters Folk Festival is much more of a bargain that the $400 for Burning Man that includes only the desert dirt you get to camp on). But still they are both like a big family picnic, the guiding principles seem to be to share, enjoy and embrace the action.
At Burning Man cocktails and grilled cheese stands, enhancement workshops including drum making and pasties classes, hair-washing stations and art installations are gifts provided by Burners for others to enjoy.
At the Folk Festival the gift is the music, an abundance of exemplary sounds provided all day and way into the evening so that over a three day period The Road Goes On Forever and the Music Never Ends (Robert Earl Keen).
In a world of disasters, contradictions and complexities, it’s nice to find people doing happy things!
See photos of Pamela’s 2014 Burning Man trip here