July 05--While most families plotted how to celebrate the Fourth of July together, I was looking ahead.
This is Great Blue Heron Music Festival weekend. Nothing personal, Uncle Sam, but this is the annual family event that I anticipate above all. My son and daughters go, along with Ginger, my ex but still best friend, and we dig into three days of terrific music, food and camping in a forest filled with fellow music lovers.
We started taking the kids when they were young. The Heron has always featured a children's area where they can star in plays, make things or play games while parents soak up music. It also has a swimming hole and open field with hay bales to climb.
While Kate and Bette enjoyed the Heron, Steve later rebelled. No surprise. Most kids discover their own music, something that not only makes their parents recoil in horror but long for a power outage or zombie apocalypse -- anything to shut it off. For Steve, that was hardcore and, later, pulverizing electronic dance music that can level cities.
"I hate that hippie music" became his mantra. So, he skipped a few Great Blue Herons because the fest revels in bluegrass, folk, country, zydeco and rootsy strains that feature acoustic guitar, mandolin, washboard, accordion, fiddles and stand-up bass. The music is also upbeat and joyous; it's often idealistic, hopeful and utopian -- sunshine-y instead of doom and gloomy.
Trent Reznor would hate it. Steve did too, until he tried it again a couple years ago and changed his tune. Though he still likes EDM and hardcore, he now loves music so much he can embrace just about anything if it's played well and played with passion.
A year ago, Steve decided to go again, this time with a friend. The friend bailed, last second. So, Steve put a note up on Facebook: Anyone want to hang at the Heron?
He was surprised when Sharon, a friend from his high school days, responded. They hadn't talked in awhile, but remembered each other. So, they reconnected at the Heron. They talked, danced and had a great ol' time.
This weekend, they'll be back at the Heron, celebrating their one-year anniversary. They started dating after the 2012 Heron and now she's part of the family, too.
The kid who hated hippie music fell in love through the Heron. I love that irony, though Steve will hate me for pointing it out.
So, we're back. We'll find a spot on the gently sloping hill and revel in great tunes, especially by headliner Donna the Buffalo.
"The world is a wondrous puzzle/Everyone a piece and every piece fits/Every piece is alive making energy/Energy pulls the pieces together into a round ball/And there is love/It's a round ball/And there is love."
That's the Heron for us, a "Family Picture." Every year we make room for that.
DAVE RICHARDS can be reached a 870-1703 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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