Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MichFest 2006

Well. I went back to the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival for the first time in 11 years. The last one I attended was the 20th anniversary fest, and this was the 31st.

Ya know how everyone says 'you can't go home again'?

Well, what if you do go home and everything is exactly as you remember it, but you find out that you've changed?

I found my way to my campsite, the same darned area I've always had, and it was waiting for me. 11 years later. And there were even other Canadians nearby. :)

I love that spot in the woods.

Over the next two days, I discovered that I'm not ageing as well as I'd like. My friend Janet is 12 years older, and I think she handled the physicality of camping better then I did. I need to take care of my body better.

I discovered that I really don't have as much patience as I might have before, or the ability to shrug it off, or that I notice more and judge more quickly.

The Festival kitchen doesn't compost it's food waste? Like... say what? Okay, so when someone else mentioned this on the Festival bulletin boards, the enormority of the task got explained, and I kind of understand. But surely there must be other alternatives to simple landfilling.

Why did it feel like all 3000 women in attendance had to walk up and down the aisles all throughout the concerts without even pausing during the songs as the Festival etiquette requests? Why did so many use flash photography, which is also requested not to happen by the Festival etiquette?

Why were there so many women playing with glowsticks during the nightstage concert? More landfill, and not so happy chemicals in them to boot.

Why is the Trans issue still an issue, a dozen years later? Why can't transsexual women respect the Festival's preference to be for girls and women who were raised as women in the same skin they've always been in? It's just one little week of women-only space. If I wanted to spend the weekend with male energy, I'd have stayed home with my favourite source of it - the hubby. Is it so much to ask?

Why did so many women not show up for their workshifts? Workshifts build community, make the festival more accessible financially, and are fun to boot!

It seemed like.... it was one great big party, and the social consciousness has flown the coop.

It's probably just as well that I didn't go back for the 30th anniversary party last year. I'd had have been that much more annoyed, with more then twice the number of women partying themselves silly in the woods.

And yet.... still... somehow, I feel fulfilled. I took a nap on sunday afternoon, loving that quiet spot in the woods, surrounded by women's voices in the distance. The comedians were hilarious. I discovered some new music. Issa (the artist formerly known as Jane Siberry) was her usual wonderfully quirky self. And she certainly impressed the audience with her attire on stage. :)

And after a decade's intervention that at some point included a serious crash in self-confidence around driving - I didn't kill us on the way down, or the way back.



hyperjoy7 said...

Wow, your reaction to this year's Fest seems kind of similar to mine. I've been going for the past four years, but somehow this year was oddly negative compared to the other three. I still enjoyed it and felt "recharged," as it were, but I also felt like there was more disrespect (women smoking where they shouldn't be; not doing workshifts; not picking up trash; etc.), less going on in terms of politics, more of a "party" atmosphere. And let's not even GET to the trans issue; that crap is seriously under my skin.

Anyway, my partner and I are applying to facilitate a "Feminism 101" kind of intensive next year, laying out the different strains of feminist thought (radical, liberal, socialist, et al) and suchlike. We'll see.

Glad to hear that you DID still feel fulfilled. Me, too. Fest just has that certain something, no matter what, it seems. :)

Diana said...

Interesting. I'm glad you went. I am constantly reminding myself to not hold women to a higher standard than others. We are human and I should not be surprised when we don't act in the ideal at all times.

Even though I secretly think we should...:)