Summer is here; Let the Music Festivals Begin!

Summers in Canada are short, and not always sweet, so most Canadians make the

best of it by getting outside and enjoying this vast, abundant country. While many

enjoy the quiet of camping in nature, plenty of us also love the experience of Music

Festivals. What better time can be had than listening to music under the stars,

dancing until dawn, jamming by campfires with old and new friends and the sense

of community that comes together so naturally?

We have been attending festivals for years, and while Ray is better known on the

electronic music circuit as a producer and performer, we now have begun to attend

a diversity of festivals, including “The Grand Dame of Folk Festivals” here in Canada,

Mariposa, which is held in Orillia, Ontario, July 3-5. Going back for our second year

as vendors, we are looking forward to experiencing new music; meeting friends

from last year and getting the opportunity to hear a wide variety of musicians try

their hand at our unique instruments. Last year, the very talented musicians who

stopped by to play The Root wowed us. We were impressed with the range of

musical styles that were represented. From Middle Eastern to bluegrass, to Celtic

folk music, each musician had The Root sounding just right for their genre. At the

same time, kids and adults without any musical training were able to enjoy the

simplicity of playing the tone box and kalimbas.

Music has the ability to cut across cultural boundaries but at the same time it can

polarize us by our tendency to gravitate towards one particular style of music.

Nowhere is this more apparent than the contrast between electronic dance music

and “organic” music played by bands, whether they be folk, rock or others styles.

Although my personal preference is to electronic and world fusion music, I have

come to see that there is much to enjoy when we step out of our comfort zone and

into a new scene. The stomping sounds of a Celtic folk band, a rocking jazz ensemble

or a soothing reggae act have all been known to get me to the dance floor. I probably

would not have experienced that had we not started taking Rootworks on the road!

Typically, I have found that opponents to electronic music festivals hold the idea

that it is a mad crazy “rave” attended only by teenagers who are high on any and

every drug imaginable. And while those festivals are around (usually very large,

corporately sponsored events), there are plenty smaller grassroots music and

wellness festivals, many which use the banner “transformational festival.” These

festivals focus on building community, offering educational alternatives to

sustainability, ecological and health concerns and lifestyle changes. Artistic

expression is highly valued; with pop-up art galleries, brilliant stage and dance floor

deco and vendors who create original and funky fashion. Although the music tends

to be electronic based, more and more promoters are considering having a few

different stages for bands and diverse styles, while electronic artists are now

bringing organic instrumentation into their performances. We have been

incorporating our instruments into our music meditation project, Thetaflo, for a

number of years and it was through a desire to bring this new level of live.

performance and unique sounds that Ray created The Root. We are hoping this

trend catches on and are definitely seeing many more acts like this.

So folks, its time to pack away the musical biases and try something new! Whether

you are a seasoned musician or a crazy trance dancer, going to a festival that has

music you are unaccustomed to listening to can free your mind, help you meet new

people and maybe even open your heart!

Festivals we will be attending this summer (so far):

#Acousticinstrument #folkfestival #Musicians

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