Monday, August 15, 2005

Festival: Small Recap

The first thing I want to say is that it feels damn good to be home again with a flush toilet. This might be the best thing about Festival: appreciating in new ways your own abode.

That's right: We've just returned from Michigan Womyn's Music Festival-- the 30th year it has been held. This year we didn't see any AFA women infiltrating telling us we were all going to hell, the way we did in 2001. And there were no planes flying overhead that announced "God Loves Gay People Repent Now" like there were in 2003. There was lot more noise about trans inclusion, and it is a subject I am not going to address here. (FYI, for those of you who don't know about "festival" it's a week in the Michigan woods where thousands of women from around the world, mostly lesbians, celebrate being women. Essentially. There are numerous concerts, workshops, etc. It's only open to women, and the internal controversy comes with the policy, only women-born-women. Or in festival speak: womyn. And many people object to this policy. Which I am trying hard to not comment on.)

Here's the thing about festival though: I am not much a separatist. Okay, not at all. I like the men in my life a lot and since I was a young child one of my favorite mottos has been "Variety is the spice of life." But there is something spectacular about this week in the woods.

I had a serious cry at the concert on Saturday. Now, it's true, by this point in the evening, Partner and I had consumed two bottles of red wine, and that could have something to do with the whole thing, but it was moving all the same.

The organizer of Festival came out and talked to us. She started organizing MWMF when she was NINETEEN. I mean, holy shit, right? NINETEEN?! And what she said was that she feels the need for Festival more acutely now than she did thirty years ago. I was like, "Sing that again, sister!" And then I had my festival moment.

Every time we're at festival, I have one moment where I look around and think, "Oh my GOD, this crowd is totally made up of women. Everything here was done by women." And there are really women from around the world. One women there was from Iran. French women, Japanese, Brits, Aussies. There were German women who sang drinking songs in the chow line. Literally women from around the world come to festival every year. They use their frequent flier miles, save money, cash in vacation time and camp out for a week in the woods together. It's empowering, no matter what your politics are, I think that one week or long weekend in the woods with thousands of other women is good for the soul.

And then, of course, there's the little fact that of the nearly 7,000 women at festival this year, probably 6,676 of those women were lesbians. I sat in the middle of this huge field and looked around. Women were dancing together, interlacing their hands together, holding each other, clearly in love and not hiding it. And suddenly I thought, "There are people out there who hate us merely because we love other women. "

I mean, c'mon, it makes no sense: There are people in the world who hate us because we love. Who hate because of love.

And just as suddenly, all the women at the festival were beautiful to me and I wanted to gather them all up and hug them all. I wanted to yell out that I loved them all. But I didn't do that, instead I had a big cry, and Partner held me, and the music continued, and shooting stars sped over our heads.


Blogger Trista said...

It sounds miraculous and wonderful and I am soooo jealous. I have always wanted to go but haven't managed to. Of course, reading you tell of the women from around the world who have managed to get there makes my reasons pretty flimsy.

12:23 PM  
Blogger amyesq said...

Two tear jerking posts in a row! *sniff*

2:12 PM  
Blogger Soul Searching said...

I haven't heard of this before, but now I wish I could experience it. It sounds so beautiful and powerful! Perhaps one day...

8:30 PM  
Blogger frog said...

You were at Fest! Yay!

I was not, but plan to be again in the future. :)

9:06 AM  
Blogger Katie (WannaBeMom) said...

Festival is pretty damn cool. Of course, I already like to camp, so that helps. If you aren't big into dust and veggie food for a week and port-a-janes (as they are called at Festival) then it might not be for you. But if you can get beyond those things, it is a serious experience.

And if you go, any of you, I wanna know!

2:20 PM  

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