June 28th- July 5th –
RAGWEED!!!! The yearly family reunion for The Farm! I was given the opportunity to experience this exclusive festival. I have been told many times that it is sort of a big deal for a person that has only been here for two months to be accepted into this gathering. For the most part only current/former farmys or family of these farmys are invited and the gates are close to the rest of the public. Farmys from around the nation come together for almost five days of loving life.
It all started on a Wednesday afternoon. The Farm’s newest performing troupe Moonshine Boheme was to kick of this festival with two showing of their awesome performance. I was asked to help with the event. I was asked if I was able to operate a camera and film the acts. I of course agreed and filmed two practice runs two days before to get use to everything.
Their acts were original and triggers a wide range of emotions from the viewers. It was simply a work of art with a warm homey feel to it. They did a great job at being imperfectly perfect. After this the last show was done, the vibes were to be moved to the Green Dragon (the ETC’s iconic natural building that has been worked on and is continuing to be worked on by apprentices) where The Farm Brewery Co Op was to host the Moonshine Boheme after party. It was tons of fun. Good music, hard laughs, and deep intellectual conversations. I didn’t stay up to late and found myself getting some good sleep in preparation for the coming days.
I woke up well rested and began my shift that i agreed to do during the days of Ragweed for the hostel. It was simple, just general maintenance from the increased traffic flow. I polished things off at the hostel then took some time to myself until the Plenty Reception. This was a lovely potluck and viewing of a wonderful slideshow about Plenty. Founded by The Farm cooperative in 1974, Plenty International is a not-for-profit 501-c-3 organization that was created to help protect and share the world’s abundance and knowledge for the benefit of all. Plenty supports economic self-sufficiency, cultural integrity and environmental responsibility in partnership with families, community groups and other organizations in Central America, the U.S., the Caribbean, and Africa.
We had left just in time to catch up with everybody at the head of the roads to meet up for the beginning of the PORT-A-PARTY! There was to be around fifty golf carts following a tractor pulling a trailer/DJ Dance floor. We were all to follow this moving Dance floor and create a port-a-party at three locations around The Farm. A once silent and empty place transformed into a raging ragweed party in a matter of minutes! I really enjoyed myself. At one point i remember riding with ETC team leader and she asked me if i could take over driving so she can jump out and run over to our friends cart in front of us. I was so ready for the stunt, this is right up my alley. She leaped out and took off as I grabbed the wheel and began to work my golf cart skills. Fun stuff that was.
I loved seeing all the families and especially the children run around playing. It was a warm sight to see this being family orientated and the adults were still able to enjoy themselves. The port-a-party ended at the community center. Where there was a DJ that was from the farm but moved to miami and bult a pretty good reputation of himself as a DJ there. I danced for a while then retreated to my domain for my slumber.
Friday morning I payed my dues. This festival was a 40 dollar ticket for outsiders and even farmys had to pay 20 bucks for their ticket. There was also some volunteering that was available that would pay for the ticket. So the universe gave me the opportunity to be a spotter at the swimming hole to help the life guards with the increased traffic of people. All I had to do was sit there for 4 hours scanning the area.
I went back to the ETC to get ready for the night full of live music. I arrived at the community center where they were having the music just in time for the first set. I ended up going to bed early that night. I had been real tired that day.
Saturday was the big day for the main musical event where Rising Appalachia was headlining. The first band called AZA band played first. It was a the percussion member of the headline band. He was actually raised on the farm and I had a chance to meet him. A true musical genius with a heart full of light and love. Him and their African friends that they had brought on tour with another bass drum player put on a show to open things up. They use very exotic African instruments. Some they even made themselves. It was just what I needed to hear. R.A. was awesome. They are really talented, and activists as well. Using their music as their activism is what they said. A truly great thing that could reach a lot of people.
The night took a amazing turn for the better. I had started to get more comfortable with my surroundings later on and began to let loose on the dance floor. “You animal” is what one person told me, and “it looks like you were really getting in touch with spirit and releasing” is what another person told me after the fact. I danced until the sun came up. Drenched in sweat I went to grab my well earned biscuits and gravy that they were serving to all the people that managed to stay up that long.
Then the AZA band performer spontaneously gathered near by humans to connect in a huge circle holding hang. We shared thus space with each other for some time then AZA man started to coil up his end of the circle. Which resulted in everyone coming together in a massive group hug! We were all bilssing out absorbing all the love that was being shared. It was a surreal moment of authentic expression. I went back to my domain to shower and sleep half the day off.
Sunday was a day of recovery and relaxing. Though there was still a afterglow party that night, everyone was pooped. I chilled most if the day and with to this get together for a short time. I then went back to cook me dinner and catch up on my sleep.
Ragweed was full of connecting with this land in a much higher degree. I believe I utilized this once and a life time opportunity to its fullest. Connections were made, love was given, and memories were created.