You may be tired of hearing about the festival, but I have to say at least one more thing…
One of the things that makes it special is that it is a multi-generational gathering. Many women bring their children. The boys over a certain age have their own camp on the land, but everywhere else you see girls of every age hanging out with their moms, or with new friends their own age, striking out on their own, heading to activities at the Gaia girls tent or elsewhere. Wherever they are headed, many of them seem to be very independent and self-assured – probably due partly to the atmosphere of safety that the staff and “festie-goers” work so hard to maintain on the land. Losing track of one’s daughter in the real world is cause for panic, but at festival, many moms feel quite comfortable with letting their 7-12 year olds roam the land freely, knowing that everyone looks out for the little ones.
This brings me to another “Michigan moment.” I was at Night Stage one evening, and one of the performers, Doria Roberts (singer/songwriter, see picture below) invited all the girls to join her on the stage for one of the numbers she performed. I’m guessing about 100 girls ran down front to join her. It was a powerful moment, and I found myself thinking that these girls are our future.
Anyway, I was pretty impressed by this young woman, who has also been recognized for community service and social activism. The festival organizers have worked to create a program that appeals to a wide variety of age groups. Obviously, with such a diverse group of women, there will be diverse tastes, and I must admit that I didn’t particularly care for some of the shows that were presented. But we all seemed to get along just fine, despite the great diversity of ages and tastes.
Makes me long to see in our world a little more willingness to put judgment aside and really learn from others who think and believe differently from each other. When that happens at a meaningful level, I believe that we discover we have a lot more in common than we thought we did.
Instead of fasting from food or some other kind of treat during Lent, might we fast from judgment and negativity? Could we do it for the sake of those girls?