We’re back. And oh, did we have a good time. I’ve finally figured out which instrument I play best at music festivals — it’s the spinning wheel. But more on that later. I know you like pictures. Who doesn’t?
Bethany, Lala and I drove up on Thursday morning. My absolute least favorite thing about a music festival is picking the camping spot, and it’s something I usually get stuck with. I tried to be philosophical about it — there would be enough space, and we’d find it. And so we did, after driving around and kicking up dust and getting stuck once (we thought the sign that read "Grateful Dead End" was a camp name, not an actual indication that there was no way out and very little room in which to turn around).
Because of course you need a camp name. Ours is technically Camp Vegemite, although we go by Camp PACE, because we always mark our campsite with a very large, very gay-looking Italian peace flag. (It’s not a gay flag, although when I went to Italy right after this war started and saw them flying from almost every window, I felt very welcomed, I can tell you.)
We found our site. It was on a pretty good slant, but big enough for all six of us and all four of our cars. I know, we should be ashamed. But we all came up at different times….. So the first order of the day was hanging the flag so the trailing camp members would be able to find us.
Luckily we brought along a monkey to take care of this:
It’s always smart to use a bike for a ladder, I think. And yo, the hammock ROCKED the camp.
The music was pretty good. Not as good as other years, and Bela freakin’ Flek played TWO NIGHTS in a row, when just one was just a bit too much (technically, yes, he’s a genius. But he leaves me cold).
We loved in particular Devil Makes Three, a band I’ve adored for years now. And we loved our new find Nathan from Winnipeg (winner of the worst band name ever, they sound like the Ditty Bops but are actually even better, and have richer songs, and are just cute as heck).
There was knitting done in, even in the heat.
Lala knitted, too. Check out the guy pointing at her.
There was goofing with the sisters.
And some more.
Lala was a cowboy.
As was my dad.
And there was spinning! Hoo boy, was there spinning. I’m used to hanging out with Lala and her little dogs. When you’re with a five-pound long-haired crazy-tongued chihuahua, you’re used to being a celebrity. Everyone wants to talk to you. That’s one thing. Another thing altogether is the attention you get when you spin in public, especially in an environment as friendly as a music festival. Everyone stops to ask questions or tell stories or stare and point. The menfolk, in particular, are the most fascinated. Women smiled more and ventured things like, "What is that? I knit, are you making yarn? My mother had a spinning wheel." Men, however, say things like, "Dude! That’s amazing! How does it work? Does it come apart? How does it fold? What’s the gear ratio? Can I push this thing? What do you call that over there? How does the tension work? How much did it cost? What’s it made of?"
And the kids like it, too.
My favorite moment was when I was spinning in camp and two boys came through, one about ten, the other about seventeen. The ten-year old said, "Whoa. That’s TIGHT!" The seventeen-year old said, "Damn, that’s HELLA tight." I seriously thought this was so great that I got all tongue-tied and said something like, "Heh. Yeah. Cool." They wandered off, still saying "tight!"
Major coup, that.
(I take this moment to yet again realize that I am living in such a good time — knitting and bluegrass are in vogue, and spinning is becoming known, thank goodness. I will be out of vogue again, and probably sooner rather than later, but I’m used to being a big nerd, and I’m SO enjoying this time.)
I was spinning from some brownish/green/orange merino I’d bought from Carolina Homespun, making a double-ply sport-weight. I didn’t bring enough bobbins, so after I’d plied a couple, I wound them right off the wheel into center-pull balls, no setting the twist or anything (ooh, the cheek!). Then I cast on for a sock for my La, which I worked on at night in the dark, listening to main stage. It was really fun, being able to show curious people not only the fiber and the yarn on the wheel, but also the knitted object.
Didn’t it turn out nice?
Last thing: The gal that camped next to us also arrived on Thursday, and we laughed about her big blow-up monkey (Camp Jug-o-Monkeys). Later, Lala heard herself introduce herself as Christy to someone. Lala said to me, "I wonder if that’s my best friend Christy from sixth grade, from Illinois. I haven’t seen her in twenty-five years, but I bet she would look something like that."
I, of course, thought she was stark raving nuts, and intimated as much, but she wouldn’t let it go. Christy’s a pretty common name, I thought. New Baden, Illinois, is pretty damn far away and TINY, and she hadn’t seen her since she was eleven or twelve.
Turns out it was her. Camping RIGHT next to us. I’m to be chided for not believing. See Lala for the full run-down, but it was truly the neatest thing. Not only was it the same person, but Christy had turned into someone really great, someone with good taste in music and blow-up toys. She could have turned into anyone, you know? What a good surprise it must have been to find out that your childhood friend wasn’t just your friend because you lived on the same block, but because they really were inherently nice.
Oh, and I’m so done with portapotties for another year. Four and a half days are just too much, and I have a pretty high tolerance.
And air mattresses are insanely great.
Oh, yeah, and I’m learning the fiddle.
I think that’s it.
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