I spent Friday evening through this evening (got back a few hours ago) having a great time at the Spring Thing, put on by the Philadelphia Folksong Society.
It ended up being much more… civilized(?) than I expected. I’ve been exposed to the more rustic* side of folk by Alisa at the Philly Folk Festival** and Falconridge, so I expected to be roughing it much more than we did. Tennis and basketball courts, a pool, and cabins with power, plumbing, and actual beds. These plus other amenities made it an extremely fun time with lots of relaxation and not too much work or stress (about things like bugs and mud and heat and work).
Spring Thing was very fun, and I’m looking forward to the next one.
* By which I mean, “involves tents.”
** If you’re cool, you call it “Fest.”
Some of my good friends were there, along with people that straddled the line between friends and acquaintances. I got to know some of them better, and got to spend time napping, lounging, listening to music, making music (them more than me) and chatting with all of them. Plus, Alisa had the foresight to invite my parents, who seemed to enjoy it, in spite of the ~40-degree nights, which made it even better.
My father was among those who performed this weekend (he’s quite the guitarist, and a singer to boot). Along with many covers, he performed two original songs, one of which I hadn’t heard before. It was great to see him playing with others who could not only share his enthusiasm, but also aid him in making music.
Relatedly, folk festivals typically (in my years of experience, you understand) involve very skilled amateurs and professionals alongside unskilled people, unfortunately from both categories. However, this is one of the best features of these events. It creates a very unique musical atmosphere that’s very nurturing (and often entertaining). Even though I’ve rolled my eyes at a lot of performances and wandered away from workshops I didn’t like, there’s no elitism or exclusion in the events. As my dad put it (I’m paraphrasing here), no one shouts or puts anyone down and the people who aren’t so adept or talented are given respect and space just like those who are. This is a good thing… even if I have to sit through groups like Magpie.
Now, I think there’s some healthy criticism that needs to be handed out for people’s personal development and my own sake, but that’s another discussion entirely.
All-in-all, a great weekend: lots of fresh air and sun (with minimal sunburn), a good conversation about comics, movies and great TV series, and a new annual event in my life. Not bad.