I was only at Michfest one time.
One time, and one time only, did I experience the magic of a womyn’s community that was built over FORTY years.
Forty years of womyn listening to womyn.
Forty years of womyn working with womyn.
Forty years of womyn working together. Forty years to figure out the process. Then figure it out again and again and again. I know that it was a work in a progress.
Of course it was a work in progress, every year, improvements and adjustments were made in their flow, work, performances, and crews. Habits were formed. Some things festies just knew because they did them for years and years and years.
I didn’t know anything about how the flow of the kitchen went but women were very happy to give me direction on how to do it the fest way. I didn’t know the rules of DART. I didn’t know the rules of the workerville. I didn’t know the rules for the various janes that were placed everywhere.
Some of them were strictly for workers.
Some of them were strictly for performers.
Some of them were strictly for DART women.
All people in workerville had a certain wristband. Nobody was allowed behind stage without a wristband. Workers always showed their wristbands.
These rules and procedures were developed over time and not just in one year, during one festival.
I didn’t realize all that. I didn’t feel all that. How could I? I was there for 2015 as a festie virgin.
I didn’t see SO MUCH that was happening. How could I see it?
I was there experiencing it as a festie. I wasn’t a festival producer at that time.
My eyes are different now. My eyes see differently.
When we produced Framily in 2016, I had no idea what I was doing.
I did it and We did it anyways. Although, I made LOTS of mistakes, one of the things I did right was solicit the help of women that had experience in attending festivals and women that had experience and knowledge about music. These women graciously stepped up and guided us in our first little MFR baby steps.
One of these women was our sister, Sue Fitzgerald. She helped with organizing making love notes. I loved the love notes of the Land. I wanted those to be part of our culture of MFR. She wasn’t high energy and wasn’t too able bodied but she was enthusiastic and had lots of ideas and suggestions. We didn’t always agree. She was often very outspoken and had a huge opinion on how things should be done because that was how they had been done but she always added her opinion on how it could be done. They weren’t always comfortable discussions. Often I took those discussion personal, because of MY personal story and stories, I could often feel that it was ME being attacked rather than helpful suggestions.
I say all this so you can understand how meaningful it is to me when I found some secret treasures when I opened up the file cabinet and shelves that I purchased from her estate sale.
I found a photo of Tory Trujillo which I have mailed out (yesterday, sister!)I also found programs from 6 different Michfest festivals. How fun it is to look through these treasures and see what was so hard wrought those 40 years embodied in that glossy book. They aren’t 8×10. They are the half pages, whatever size that is, lol. Whatever the size the power was large. I could feel it. I could feel the energy and love and commitment that went into those programs. AS much as I messed up various parts of helping put the program together for Framily, I appreciate the time, attention to detail, and love that went into the programs.
Thank you, Sue, for this additional spirit gift from you to me, to MFR.
But the gift that just knocks me on my butt, are the feedback forms that I found of Sue’s. There were feedback forms for two different years at least. I am still sorting out the papers. Because there were PAGES for 2014. Sue was not a woman of few words. She had words, lots of words for her ideas, suggestions, and her praise of the various parts of the festival. She paid attention to detail in every single area.She gave feedback, sometimes praising the effort and sometimes she gave very strong suggestions of how it could be for each and every area of Michfest.
Thank you, Sue.
Thank you Lisa Vogel.
Thank you, crew, workers, performers, volunteers, terps, crafts, thank you. You did an incredible thing over 40 years.I am awed and blessed to see these parts that went into making fest happen through these eye witness tellings.
Love, Dawn, co-producer of a baby-fest, Michigan Framily Reunion