We are now into 2016 and I’m not sure I have reached acceptance. Before we left there were many conspiracy theories about how Fest would continue or how the torch would be passed and I honestly was hopeful. Very Hopeful. Maybe it was all part of the denial that lives in my bones, but again, now, not so much. I have heard a lot of things through the fern gully, but I won’t get into all the theories and rumors and second hand accounts passed my way, but I will say this.
I know that around February or March I am probably going to feel really sad. I already had a moment in Nov. 1st when the artist submission deadline came and went and there was no place to submit and usually around May I start to really feel the weight of the world, but it is then that I go to that place called “August is Coming.” I knew that no matter what life dropped on me there would be a week. One week where I could shed all that outside business and just be. Yes it was work, but it was some of the best work I’ve done in my life both inside myself and on stage. The women who saw my shows at Michfest, saw something very, very special.
What shall we do this first week in August this year? What shall we do? There have been many suggestions thrown out there and I know there are some plots and plans brewing in the minds of many women so I’ll be here waiting for the signal to go up. In spite of my sadness, I know that the loss of Fest will surely open doors for all of us. It will allow us to do something else with that block of time that maybe we would have never done if Fest hadn't ended. This end has forced us, or at least me, to rethink how I connect with friends and family day to day. No longer can we take for granted that we’ll see each other in one space like that again.
|Post-Fest armband flow|
I have a lot of friends who go to Burning Man and when Michfest was closing they couldn’t believe it. “No way!” they said. “Way,” I said. I told them and I’ll say it again, do not take your community gatherings for granted. Do Not! I have mourned the loss of community before and it sucks! Do not assume they will be there forever. The only thing constant in this world is change. Make no assumptions about what will be. Hug and kiss your friends and family. Love them up and make it count. We are in a strange time, tied to devices that lead us to believe that we are connected when we are not. I say this to you as much as I say it to myself, do not take for granted that you have time to see people. If you feel like you need to see someone or talk to them do it now. Do not wait. Do not wait.
My heart breaks for the loss of this community gathering. As I write this I am a little teary. I never expected my heart to feel this way. I never could have imagined what would happen to me on that land. Never could have imagined.
There are so many names that I did not call in these blog posts, not because I didn't meet you and hug you and care for you, but because if I start to write MY whole story of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival I will surely have a short memoir on my hands. Although I went to 9 festivals there were so many things I never saw or experienced on the land. Every year I would say, "I'm going to attend __________ workshop," but I would or could never make it due to my own busy schedule. Well, I made it to a couple and even taught one, but really I missed a lot. In fact this past Fest was the first time I saw Fairlyland. The first time and it was amazing! I know as you read my story you have many, many stories of your own. Tell your story.
I am blessed to be part of an artistic and activist community that grew out of the dirt. I am so thankful to have this experience in the record of my life. I am so thankful to Hanifah for inviting me into this circle. I am thankful to Cassandra for casting my breasts. I am thankful to Lisa and Terri Lynn for saying yes to blaKbüshe and all the women who made up the ladies contingent of my band through the years (Julie: keys, Vicki: percussion/vox, Alex: guitar, Ganessa: bass, Ki Ki: vox, Achuziam: vox, Viva: guitar, Pamela: guitar, LaFrae: drums, Lucianna: drums, Christelle: percussion, Maritri: vox, Tiffany: vox, Cathleen: sign interpreter, Kelly Horrigan: design, styling & makeup, Micah: styling & design, Shelly: styling & makeup and Gaetano: styling & design). I am thankful to the craftswomen who carried their goods to the woods. I am thankful for Susan and Golden Rod for believing in women's music. I am thankful for all the hands the built that city year after year from scratch only to break it all down and store it away for the next year. I am thankful to all the hands that cooked food and all the healers that laid hands. I am thankful to Amoja, Martha, Pat and all the women of color who created and maintained the WOC tent. I am thankful for Shirley and the sweat lodge and how the spirits moved me to bring that ceremony to Brooklyn. I am thankful for every hand on deck that made that joint happened. I am in gratitude more then words can express.
Damn you Lisa Vogel! Thank you Lisa Vogel. Thank you, all the women who I met in person or who met me through my music on that land. Because of you I am changed and I will never stop standing for women. Give Thanks!