072911 Blue Skies Music Festival, Clarendon, ON

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Blue Skies is a festival unlike any other I’ve attended.  First off, it’s basically secret.  Until recently you couldn’t find even a hint of the festival anywhere online. I heard that there was a key volunteer who’s only job was to get any mention of Blue Skies Music Festival taken down from the internet (which may or may not be true), but they actually have a website now so I think I’m okay to talk about it.

Despite the secrecy the camping passes sell out instantly every year, and the festival has been running for forty years or more now.

Secondly, the festival is full of kids.  Now, I’m not crazy about kids – it’s actually kind of like a phobia – but I love the kids at this festival!  They’re always running around on their own, getting dirty and smiling.

And thirdly, Blue Skies is packed with crazy workshops that I actually want to go to, like how to do Tai Chi or how to make chai tea, or how to play the mandolin or how to hug incense with Amanda Lynn.  Quirky, musical, holistic, vibey; you never know what will be on offer but there’s always tons that interests me.

And oh, the late night jamming at Blue Skies!  You might just find yourself around a campfire with a sitar player, a ‘cellist, a couple of guitars and a hurdy-gurdy.  For real.  

Finally, this is the only festival I go to without knowing or caring who is playing the ever-so-quaint-and-endearingly-beautiful Main Stage.  Almost everything that makes this festival special is offstage (except the host, a madman named Magoo), and some nights I don’t even make it to the stage.  

So when I arrived at the festival on July 29th, 2011 my mind was much more concerned with setting up camp for the weekend, connecting with friends, planning my workshops and strumming Amanda Lynn* than it was with whatever happened to be on the stage that weekend.

My concert book says I saw Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite Of Everything on Friday night, Danny Michel and New Country Rehab on Saturday (though I somehow skipped Fred Penner), and Lehera with Sarah on Sunday (though I listened to newcomer Matt Anderson’s set from my campsite), but who cares?  

*I kid, I kid!

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