Every year, our small town is taken over. Thousands of under thirty-somethings flock to Three Sisters Park for Summer Camp, a music festival featuring over 60 bands on 5 stages over 3 days. Campers start showing up at the park on Wednesday, then literally pour through the gates on Thursday to set up their tents for the Friday through Sunday festival. The music is very loud, and there are the usual problems you might expect when that many people share a small space. In a lot of ways, it’s a zoo. So I was a little apprehensive when the Folk Art School decided to set up a fundraising tent at the event.
The festival attracts a modern hippie sort of crowd. Think Woodstock, but without any political agenda. For the most part, the ‘kids’ are simply there to enjoy the music and have a good time. Once you get past the man skirts, nipple rings and dreadlocks, you start to notice how very polite everyone is. It’s quite an eye-opener in a lot of ways.
I worked up signage for the school tent, grunge-painting (more on that technique to come!) cheap sheeting for ‘Make Your Mark’ signups and tent banners. Campers were invited to sign their state or add their art to the sheets, and a drawing was held to give those items away.
We also offered recycled t-shirts to paint and re-fashion, fairy wings, tote bags, bandannas (in honor of Willie Nelson, who performed Sunday night), plus Sit ‘N’ Knit kits for creating iPod cases and Sit ‘N’ Sew coin purse kits. Unfortunately, most of those items missed the mark with the crowd, so we didn’t raise as much money as we’d hoped.
The Sound Garden, though, was a big hit. Using cast-off pvc pipes and outdated LP tanks, the guys in the group crafted one-of-a-kind musical instruments. Leftover electrical conduit became a sweet-sounding xylophone. A jingle bell wreath found new life as a tambourine. Got an old wind chime? It’s the perfect percussion piece.
Will we do this again next year? Maybe, with a better understanding of what the crowd enjoys, and a lot more sunscreen. And oh, yes. Open eyes.