In the summer of 2012, we did something that’s pretty strange, for us at least. We went to a music festival. And we CAMPED there. We live in Manitoba, in Steinbach, which is pretty near Winnipeg… which hosts the phenomenal Winnipeg Folk Festival every year. You’d do well to attend. I mean… Andrew and I have never been. But you should go. Like, seriously. We’re well aware that we’ve missed out on a vital musical experience. We have our reasons for this shame of ours, but I won’t get into it right now. (Our reasons are not as deep and exciting as you’re probably imagining.) But here’s the thing. There are actually a LOT of music festivals. Like, just in the entire world. But also in Manitoba. For such a large space with such a small population, I’m of the opinion that there’s a pretty great variety of summertime music festivals out here. That is to say, there are a LOT of great music festivals that we miss out on. However, in the summer of 2012, there was one that we did NOT miss: the Harvest Sun Festival in Kelwood, Manitoba, Canada. (Not to be confused with the Harvest Moon Festival, which is also not-to-be-missed, and occurs in Clearwater, Manitoba, Canada.)
It’s kind of a minor miracle that we were at this festival at all. This is because Andrew hates hates hates camping. Unfortunately for him, I love love love camping. Although, to be fair, I pretty much suck at camping. I don’t cook — I just bring a box of granola bars and a bunch of water and that’s pretty much what I subsist on if there is no food available for purchase. I also don’t bathe while camping… so I only ever “camp” for one night. Two, max. Gross, I know. But if you saw the bathing options available at most of these places… which are basically just fields… I suspect you’d say “gross” to the bathing option, too. Plus, you know, mosquitoes. Furthermore, I’m inept at setting up tents. When I go camping with my friends, I just sit there and watch them put up the tent. (They don’t mind, because it’s better than the alternative: me actually attempting to help.) Another time, Andrew and I just reclined our seats and slept in the car. Whatevs. Anyhow! My friend Meredith and I were chatting one day, and realized that in our youth, we had (entirely separately) been acquainted with members of the founding family of this particular festival… and we mentioned that we should check it out sometime. Our friend Rachelle was interested, looked into it, and bought tickets! Well, that was the catalyst — if Rachelle was going, WE were going. Thank-you, Rachelle and Meredith, for spurring us to attend Harvest Sun 2012. We proceeded to beg/convince our friends Sam & Kristelle to attend as well. Awesome! Well… enter misadventure. You’d think it’d be pretty straightforward, heading out to Kelwood and finding our friends. This was before Andrew and I deigned to obtain cell phones, by the way. Finding Kelwood was NOT straightforward for Andrew and I. Honestly, here’s what happened: we blinked and missed it. We proceeded to drive into the dark Manitoba summer night for the next hour or so. We had driven past the entire gigantic Riding Mountain National Park before we became fairly confident we needed to turn that car around. We wasted at least 2, maybe 3 hours with these shenanigans. Honestly, it wasn’t actually that bad. Neither of us had ever driven that far north in Manitoba before. We’d never seen the Riding Mountains before. FYI they’re not mountains… but they’re sure SOMETHING… mystical and gorgeous. I was transfixed by the changing horizon, and the way I felt just… content, and glad to be with Andrew. And slightly terrified we’d run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. We did arrive just fine. We were pretty pissed off at each other by the time we arrived in Kelwood though. It was frustrating to know that we had friends waiting for us for 3 hours. And now we’d have to set up camp in the dark. As we were arriving, we could hear the main stage shutting down. “Well, that’s the final song of the night, enjoy your time at your campsites!” or something like that, we heard the announcement echo across the field of shadowy figures and indecipherable tents, and we could see people dispersing. “Ahhhhhhh! Now we’ll NEVER find them!” I bellowed. We frantically hurried through the field to the main stage… where Sam and Kristelle were chilling on their lawn chairs. THANK GOODNESS. They led us to the site with the rest of our friends. And this was just the beginning of the fun! As soon as we arrived at the fire, Rachelle locked her keys in the trunk of her car. A nearby amazing woman heard her exclamations of frustration, and spent the next half an hour (or hour? or two?) figuring out how to help Rachelle regain access to her vehicle. She was successful! We cheered. Meanwhile, a fellow who was very willing to share his weed pulled up a chair at the fire, and Meredith did her level best to handle the situation… I mean, there were a bunch of kids in our group, so maybe sharing weed wasn’t something that we wanted to have happening right there at our particular fire. Although to send this guy packing really wouldn’t be in the right music festival spirit either, would it? So she basically just managed that guy and made sure he didn’t attempt to share weed anymore. And THEN we found out that Rachelle had set up a tent for us (THANK-YOU THANK-YOU THANK-YOU AND BLESS YOU!). It was a very bizarre evening around that fire… but it was highly entertaining, and I was filled with love for all my friends around that fire. It was NOT the evening we’d all been envisioning when we planned this adventure, that’s for sure. But I actually wouldn’t change anything. We’re flawed and life doesn’t always play out the way you think it will. And sometimes the surprises and bumps in the road — or extra hours on the road — add to the richness of the experience.
Nighttime view of the main stage at Harvest Sun 2012.
(I’ll say more about our experiences at the festival in Part 2 of my Harvest Sun post. This is getting too long already.)