It's over. And I'm exhausted.
And I miss it already.
It takes a large community of people. And it takes twelve months.
It takes a board of directors. It takes a staffed office.
It takes numerous crew chiefs. It takes over seven hundred volunteers.
It takes food vendors. And then it takes artisans and crafters.
And it takes musicians, lots and lots of musicians.
And then ....
I recently said that we spend an entire year gathering magic and storing it up, and then we let it out slowly over the course of a weekend.
But the truth is that the magic seems to collect on its own. We do little more than make plans and slap two-bys together, paint temporary stages and indicate where tents are to be erected, put up fences to keep people from wandering into areas that don't offer anything of value to the folk festival goer, and assemble plywood into dance floors.
We invite people who are usually coming from some other place where they did what they do, be it performing music or selling artisanal crafts or food.
And we invite the public.
It should all come together and be just fine.
But it is never just fine. Just is not a word that has any business near a description of Summerfolk. And fine falls far short as well.
In truth the magic, and there is magic, comes from the most obvious of places, and it dwells in the most welcoming place.
It comes from where?
The magic is the little scraps of love and joy that naturally get shaken off of musical instruments when played, like pollen from the trees. It's the bits of fun and laughter that happen when you meet someone on a dirt or stone or gravel or paved path that you haven't seen in maybe a year.
It's the open mouthed awe that occurs when someone unexpectedly steps up to the footlights and blows the crowd away with a never before heard fiddle tune that passionately reaches into your chest and squeezes your heart until it feels like it could break because it can't take so much love in such a small amount of time.
And it dwells ...
It dwells quietly in hearts, joyfully in laughter, serenely in smiles and twinkling eyes, and sublimely in memories so full of happiness that they call many people back to Kelso Beach Park, year after year, to experience it again.
Never the same
Summerfolk is never the same show twice, and yet it is always the same plan, bring people together with music and food and art and crafts and fun, bring them into one place to exercise their weary souls, to exorcise the demons of the nine-to-five, to remember what it is to dance with abandon, and to hug and talk and laugh the same way.
If you missed it
You're beat. Yes, the forty-third Summerfolk is over, and it will never come back.
But don't worry. If you go to the forty-fourth it will be better, I promise.
How do I know?
Because you'll be there. And you are all that Summerfolk has been missing.