Vancouver Folk Festival 2016

Dutch helper Roos (Rose), James, me, Jade

A rush of nostalgia fell over me at Vancouver Folk Festival. I haven't spent much time in Vancouver, and was relieved to recognize the coffee shops and grocery stores, and where to park my van overnight. I remembered how nervous I was the previous year when I set up at my first large festival. Thirty thousand people attend Vancouver Folk Fest each year, and a large portion of that wander through to the Folk Festival Bazaar outside the gates. I prefer being on the outside. The folks who come for the bazaar and to catch the music from outside the gate on the beach.

I felt better situated with the flow of foot traffic this year, facing the fence that surrounded Stage 6. To cut the steep vending cost of $350 I shared the booth with a friend who sold her dreamcatchers. Her and her partner wanted to come to the Folk Fest, and it turned out to be cheaper for them to vend and get the discounted tickets then get two passes without.

Even though I had changed my business name from the previous year (coy pond essentials to savage daughter soap company), people still recognized the collage packaging of my products and burlap lace set up.

A woman paused at our booth and with a concerned look on her face said, "I'm sure your products are great, but with the dreamcatchers and the word savage- I have a friend who is Cree, and this might be inappropriate."

My stomach dropped. "Oh- well the dreamcatchers aren't mine... but the name isn't referring to... that at all! Sorry I don't want to offend anyone... To me the name Savage Daughter is bringing out the inner wild woman. It represents the wildcrafted herbs, alternative and rebellious side to the brand but still has a place and order, as in daughter, it's still soap and deodorant."

"It's probably fine, I just... I don't know."

She walked away with my card in her hand. I felt awkward and frankly - horrified. I explained to my Dutch friend how some settlers used the noun, 'savages' for Native Americans. With my new business name, savage used as an adjective, most people don't jump to the old fashioned offensive term. My hope is to bring out inner feminine rebellion from past generations. The name is edgy- but I hope the context of my vision is clear. I'm not going to share a table with dreamcatchers again though.

My helper Roosmarijn and I were camped out in Gwendolyn the Delica on the only strip of road that didn't have a 'No Overnight Parking' sign on it. It meant we could hang out on the beach after we closed up, have a few drinks and stroll over to sleep in the van with no issues.

I've started drinking again since my thirtieth birthday and am experiencing the festival circuit this year accompanied by casual beers. I recognize the need to pace myself and to reintroduce alcohol in moderation, since festivals tend to transcend reality and everyday consequence it's easy to get caught up in excess.

Jericho beach had groups of people set up on blankets surrounded by paper bag lanterns, subtly drinking beer and smoking joints. I imagined the hoards of people inside who had paid around two hundred dollars for the weekend, who couldn't just sneak off to pee behind a bush, and didn't have space to dance on the sandy beach. The beach dwellers could only hear the main stage versus the sixty bands inside, but the folks arm in arm, nose pressed against the fence, had a certain bond that I hadn't experienced the previous year.

That night I stood on a driftwood log with a handful of strangers, swayed my hands to Nahko's, "Love Letters to God," and felt blessed that these are the perks of my job.

This time around I wasn't heading back to Salt Spring to manically make the rest of my stock before the month long tour. My plan was to hang out in Vancouver, (hang out = visit natural food stores with product samples and wholesale pamphlets). Along with my Rose, who was with me for three festivals in total, we made our way up to Squamish for Blessed Coast Festival, which was transformational to say the least.

With the van packed we had one last dip in the ocean overlooking downtown Vancouver, and headed into the city to find a place to crash for the night.

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