Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Show Must Go On!

Several months ago, I received an invitation to participate in a new community festival. The event was called ‘L.O.O.K. It’s A Party!’ Local artisans and environmental organizations had joined together so that we could share our Locally Organized Organic Knowledge. Ha! This acronym still cracks me up!!!

Of course, I said that I would love to participate in this event!

It was Saturday morning on October 02 – just two weekends ago – and when I had arrived (around 8:30am) the rain was still coming down.

There was lots of activity, at this time, as everyone was setting up their tents and displays.

Like this one!

This is an artisan who creates chairs, tables, lamps and other interesting things out of old bikes. Really cool stuff!

Ha! I just love these tiny ornamental animals that were created using bicycle chains!

As well as artisan and environmental displays, people were also occupied with getting the equipment in place for all the musical performances that were another part of this day’s events. These guys are setting up a small tent to cover all the sound equipment that will be needed.

Since I didn’t have a professional tent covering, like everyone else, I had to use a little imagination. I had brought my camping tent to shelter me from the rain and my art displays were set up inside. I moved a picnic table over and I taped my beach umbrella to it to keep the rain from leaking into my tent.

Inside, I had layered the floor of the tent with some colourful Mexican blankets to create a warm inviting feeling as people checked out my Stik-ers…

… box of prints for sale and a few original paintings. The rain never let up on this day and a few hours later I had to zip my tent shut as rain was leaking in. I was a bit sad that no one had a chance to see any of my art – it was a bit of a wasted effort and all I got out of it was a pile of wet blankets and a small head cold.

I decided to focus my attention on other aspects of this festival – namely the music!

I spent a good part of the morning helping out with setting up a couple of tents that would be needed for all the musicians – myself included – who would soon be taking the stage.

The tents were needed to keep this funky looking machine – and all of its riders – dry. I’m not sure what this machine is called but its purpose was to create all the electricity that would be needed by the musicians. People would volunteer their time to sit in the chairs and pedal with their feet. There were eight seats available. As everyone pedaled, energy would be created and this energy would be converted into electrical currents that would power all the guitars, microphones, speakers and soundboards.

This was a great idea – meant to inspire people to realize that we can find more environmentally friendly ways to create the energy that our societies need. And after pedaling for a while, people came to appreciate the effort that is needed to create electricity!

There was just one problem… The sponsors who were to donate a special kind of battery that would be needed to store our energy until it was needed, backed out at the last minute. Unfortunately, we had to plug the stage and equipment into London Hydro for this event.

But… we still wanted to show the people who came to our event – and this number never exceeded 30 – that we could do something with the energy we did create. Someone came up with the idea that we could plug in a beverage warmer and fill it with apple cider!!! We all thought that this was a great idea!

I spent a bit of time on ‘the bike’ to keep warm and the other times I was hanging out on the stage, keeping the rain off my head. I was a bit surprised when the Mayor of London, Anne Marie deCicco-Best, appeared on stage to join us. I introduced myself to her, shook her hand and – of course – gave her a few of my peace Stik-ers!

The mayor was there to make the opening announcement for the event.

And as you can see the audience was all ears! Wait – that’s not the audience… it’s one of the band’s photographers.

Ahhh yes – this is a better shot of all the millions of people who attended!

Well, the show had to go on… and it did! This is a band from St. Thomas and they helped to lift everyone’s spirit with some good ‘ol Rock’N’Roll!!!

I was scheduled to take the stage after this band, and I was freezing, so I decided to hop back onto one of the bikes to warm up. The bike helped to get my blood moving again…

… and this warm apple cider helped to warm my insides!


Later, I was inspired to write this poem in honour of all the people who came out to make this day possible and in honour of my latest ‘peace poem’ efforts (see last 2 blog stories).

Now that I was warmed up, I was ready to share a few of my songs with all of the other artisans and bike pedalers!!!

I sang two songs while playing my guitar and then I decided to do something in honour of our attempts to create enjoyment without the aid of electricity, since we couldn’t make our own. I put down the microphone and stood at the edge of the stage, in the rain, and with everyone’s help…

… we were able to fill the air with song, spirit and wishes for a better future!!!

It would have been nice to have had a beautiful day for this event, but we didn’t. It would have been nice to have had the support of all our sponsors, but we didn’t. It would have been nice to share our art and our talents with the community, but no one showed up.

We did the best we could with what we had. We persevered through the rain and cold by using our imaginations. We joked, we laughed and our small communion embraced in honour of what brought us together – our attempts to inspire a brighter future for the world.

In a funny sort of way, it was better this way! We were there to show the world that we love her and I know that she was there, listening and smiling!


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