There was great. And good. And ugly. We knew there probably would be when we decided to try and take our smalls with us for two days, and late nights of Folk Fest. It was their third go at a Folk Fest, but this was definitely the longest stretch with the latest nights. A friend pointed out to me thus weekend that kids and Folk Fest is very romantic, but the romance can wear off as the weekend goes on and the realities of childcare start to grate. Her children, like mine, are - you know - exuberant (marevllously wild). And she was right, of course.
One's vision of Folk Fest and kids is always fueled by visions of people sitting at workshops with their progeny quietly playing alongside them, and sleepily curled up in blankets on a tarp at mainstage, sweetly nodding off to the sounds of fabulous music drifting up the hill. But these are not my children. (as an aside - the existence of these children are not a myth - they do exist, but I confess to calling these kids The Children of the Corn. And yeah, I am aware that this is mean. I just don't care all that much. Anyhoo...).
There were some moments of great frustration:
Wanting the smalls to sit still (for just one f*cking second!) so that you can really listen to the music, instead of having 1 1/2 ears directed at the kidlets and 1/2 an ear listening to the music. Going to the playground when you'd much rather be with friends in the beer tent. Small moments of terror that you've yet again lost one or the other when someone wanders too far away. Struggling to get the highly excited tots to eat, sit down, sleep on the tarp, stop jumping all over your friends on the tarp. You know - unfairly wishing they were adults becahse you selfishly want to have some care-free grown-up time. And then dealing with the fallout frmo having a constantlly stimulating weekend full of late, late nights. This, friends, is called paying the piper. And the price is steep.
There were also several (possibly too many to count) wonderful, beautiful and/or charming moments that happen when you have kids at the Folk Fest.
Watching your tots break into spontaneous, full-bodied joyful dancing because they are moved by the music. Forgeting your fears about looking like and idiot in public and dancing, laughing and cavorting with them. Having room for them to roam, run, find a pack of other folk festy kids, happily free-range. Very few moments of having to say: use 'your inside voice'. Realizing that you can take your kids to the beer tent! (Fun!) Holding my sweetly sleeping (aka finally passed out) Boy-o while listening to k.d. lang sing 'Hallelujah' under the stars, tears welling up in my eyes, because each of these occurences would be lovely on their own, but together, the moment is almost too beautiful for one heart to bear. Witnessing Girlio stand up and clap with all her might when she hears a particularly good song. The smiles elicited by other folks tarped nearby when one or both of your kidlets run by, stop and chat, do a funny dance or otherwise entertain.
And there are a few lasting effects of the kids experiencing Folk Fest that are kinda fun, too. Like Boy-o now does banter between 'serenading' us with guitar songs, tell jokes and explaining his next number When asked her favourite part of the festival, Girlio ponders for a few moments and says: "The people." (Is it possible that this kid is really just two?!) She has also been asking to go back to the "festibal" so that she can get some more jellybeans (dining on junk being another perk of 'festibal' kid life).
L. and I talked post festival about what our ideal kid-to-festival balance would be. We want our kids to be able to experience Folk Fest yearly, because it is such a rich experience. But we also want to have the rewards of being able to take in the sights and sounds of Folk Fest in a less distracted way. And we've decided that next year, we'd like to take the kids for one day/night, and then have another day/night all to ourselves. I think that this might be the perfect balance of festibal/festival livin'. I guess we'll see...
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