I'm back from Faerieworlds and the weekend exceeded my expectations, if that's possible. I gave a ride to the festival to Jason, who attended his first Faerieworlds, and first festival of any kind last year. He's disabled with a bad leg so it's a little tough for him to get around, but he said he did more walking during the festival and the week before checking out Portland - he hopes to move here from LA - than he'd done in the previous six months. We went down on Thursday to see the film Mythic Journeys and met a few new folks there that we saw at the festival, including a couple from Hawaii.
On Friday, Good Faeries Day, we got there early to set up camp, then hung out until the festival opened at 2. With the new setup, we were very close to one of the two gates from the inner circle camping to the Realm, which cut down on walking a lot. The main stage was close to that gate as well. The costumes on other people were fantastic. My wizard hat got a lot of compliments and I kept getting stopped by people wanting a picture. Good thing I was in no hurry to go anywhere. The music was great and the set by Tricky Pixie was the best I've ever seen them do. Alec, a member of that band who I'm acquainted with, later told me things really came together to make for a powerful, high energy set. The audience was certainly enthusiastic, but then, they usually are at Faerieworlds.
Saturday was Bad Faeries Day. Instead of Friday's grey robe, I wore a black robe with silver leaf trim that I'd gotten last year. Instead of the wizard hat with all the good little faeries (six of them) and about 15 butterflies (faeries in disguise), I wore the top hat with the four clocks, Slinky Jr., miscellaneous gears, sundial and sextant. Again I was stopped frequently whenever I walked around. Folks were amazed to discover the clocks all worked and were set to four different time zones. It was a heavy hat, so when I wasn't walking around I usually held it or set it in Jason's chair if he was off somewhere. Each day we had good seats right next to the sound booth. I did my best to see at least some of all the main stage acts. There was another stage, newly christened the Neverworlds Stage, at the far end of the Realm by the food vendors, but I didn't make it down there very much, which is kind of too bad since one of my Circle of Merry Folk friends was stage manager.
Early in the day on Saturday I changed back to the wizard hat to go to a workshop called Connecting with Your Faerie Guides. It seemed only appropriate to have my little faerie friends along. Then I changed back to the clocked hat but kept the wizard hat with me because there was a costume contest soon after. I held the wizard hat up by grabbing the styrofoam cone that sits on my head and keeps the hat from flopping over. At the costume contest they had a kids' division and an adults' division. There were three categories for each with rather silly names. The one I remember is "Most Mythological." One reason I remember that is because I won in that category. I think having both hats helped, and my rather crooked and decorated staff added to the overall look. My prize was a poster of Brian Froud's "The Magician," which is one of the cards in one of his two oracle decks. It can be seen on this page - scroll down to the sixth print. The music was the best of the festival since Saturday is the biggest day. Faun from Germany and Woodland, the band featuring Emilio and Kelly Miller-Lopez, two of the Faerieworlds producers, did powerful sets. On both nights there were very nice lighting effects adding to the magic.
Sunday was Family Day. I wore the wizard hat and grey robe again. The faeries on the hat were glad to be back in the Realm. They weren't too happy initially about staying in the tent most of Saturday, but they overheard when someone on the stage said, "Bad faeries kick good faeries butts!" Since my little friends, both faeries pretending to be figurines and the butterflies are all good faeries, they didn't mind being in a safe place. Sunday is the short day, but there's still lots of great music, lots of activity, and of course the vendors, of which Faerieworlds has about 200. I was wearing a very nice T shirt with butterflies all over the front and back which I'd gotten from Alec of Tricky Pixie. His wife Kore (pronounced like Corey) had brought a few things along from an estate and wanted to get them sold instead of carting them back home. I asked her how much it cost, expecting to hear as much as $20, which I would have paid because it's so nice and goes with the wizard hat so well. Needless to say, I was flabbergasted when she said, "A buck." Also needless to say, I couldn't get my wallet out fast enough.
Performances ended at around 8:30 Sunday night with a wonderful group, Stellamara, doing the last set of the day. A lot of their music is based on Middle Eastern and Eastern European traditions, although they closed with the American tune "The Cuckoo," which is an old song that came across the Atlantic with early settlers who moved to the Appalachians. It was all over too soon, it seemed, after so much anticipation starting with the end of Faerieworlds 2009.
One interesting thing that happened was when I was approached by Robert Gould, the third member of the producer team early on Saturday. I'd been posting a lot of answers to questions people had been posting of the Faerieworlds pages on Facebook and Tribe.net. Many of them were related to camping, which I'd done last year, plus some general questions. I only answered, based on my prior experience, when I was sure of my information. I figured, quite correctly, the Faerieworlds staff had their hands full with last minute preparations, especially since Woodland had done a short tour in England a little over a month before Faerieworlds. Robert thanked me for the help I'd given folks and asked if I'd be interested in making it a more formal arrangement where I'd get more behind the scenes information so I could post more informatively and authoritatively. (Several times in my posts I'd included disclaimers that I was not on staff but just an interested participant sharing my experience.) Robert also shared some of the vision for future Faerieworlds events and other events, some of which might take place at the Mount Pisgah Arboretum. One idea was for a Harvest Festival in October. Emilio later mentioned that from the stage, but there were almost no specifics, so I'm not sure if it'll happen this year. But with the installation of a Stone Circle between the main gate and the main stage, it appears that the folks at Lane County Parks & Recreation, which run the area the festival is held in, are liking what they're seeing with Faerieworlds. Robert also mentioned seeing if vendors might go for the idea of having double-decker booths so people could use the upper level to watch performances on the main stage.
Later I mentioned that idea to the folks running Oberon's Three-Penny Tavern, an alehouse much like those at Renaissance Faires. I'd gone for a beer soon after things opened on Saturday, early enough that the Oberon's staff started a short meeting/pep session soon after I sat down at a shady table away from the bar. They said I was welcome to stay, and it was interesting to see a bit "behind the curtain." The guy in charge mentioned the roof over the tavern was strong enough to hold a person, something I'd seen early on Friday as I walked through before the gates opened. They liked Robert's idea, and I suggested maybe they could wangle a location for the tavern that would give a better view of the main stage, since Oberon's was off to the side and a few booths down from the stage.
Campers were allowed to stay over on Sunday night, which I was glad to do because I'm usually kind of wiped out by the end of the event. The inner circle was similar in some ways to last year's party camp. There was a fire pit in the middle of the area. There was no fire Friday night, but there were fires the next two nights. Several drummers gathered around and drummed pretty much nonstop until dawn. Also, I'd learned Thursday night that Jason is a world-class snorer. There's a brand of earplugs named "Hearos" and believe me, they are well-named. They blocked out the snoring from Jason, about ten feet away in the tent I'd used for many years at Old Songs back East. A bit more of the drumming leaked through, however, but I did my best to ignore it. But I still found myself awake with only a few hours of real sleep followed by just lying still for quite a bit.
This morning, Monday, August 2nd, I checked out the tent window at dawn to see if there was any ground fog, since today is Ground Fog Day. I didn't see any, so it looks like there will be six or seven weeks more of Summer. Conditions for ground fog were pretty close, though, with no clouds overnight, unlike Friday and Saturday nights, and very low temperatures. The dew was heavy, though, so I was in no hurry to take the tents down too quickly. We didn't rush and were still out by 10:30. Along with a stop for gas and one for food at Carl's Jr. in Eugene, we were finally on the non-stop leg of the trip up I-5 and then I-205 to the airport, where I dropped Jason off. Strangely enough, although I've lived here for ten years, it's the first time I've done that.
As of now, I still need to empty the car, which includes retrieving the USB cable to connect the camera to the computer. No, scratch that. I have a separate card reader attached to the computer. The last time I tried putting in an SD card it wouldn't read it, but this time it is. Cool. The car can wait until it gets a little cooler outside (while the cooler in the car gets warmer, but that's OK). Yikes! 529 items! I've got some serious sorting to do! I'll share some pictures here and more on Facebook and Tribe. Also, I'll be updating my Squidoo lens, Faerieworlds Summer Celebration.