I see there’s not much left of the ticket stub from my third Blue Skies festival aside from the price ($50 per adult for a whole weekend of camping and music. Not too bad…), the ticket number (it’s hard to imagine there were many more than 441 tents set up for the weekend, with maybe triple that number onsite for the weekend), and (of course) the sole yet stern rule of Blue Skies: Positively No Dogs.
It’s a rule I have never seen breached in a quarter-century of Blue Skiesing. Surprising, given how easy-going and obviously dog-friendly the people that people Blue Skies tend to be, but then Blue Skiesers also seem to be chronic rule-followers (though I suspect they would prefer to think of themselves as chronic suggestion-followers) so there’s that. And – if barking, yelping children can be used as a barometer – it would be pretty hard to hide a dog a Blue Skies.
It’s curious that both of my two favourite places in the world are canine-unfriendly: Blue Skies Music Festival and the tiny island in SE Asia that I lived on in early ’92 which was literally called No Dog Island in the local language. I assure you it’s just a coincidence. Though I am unapologetically a cat-man it’s not because I’m anti-dog; not a bit. Not to be all “…some of my best friends are dogs…” but I used to have a dog. Two even. My dad’s trucking buddy brought George to us when I was five years old and he was a constant companion for the next fifteen years or more, and we had Susie and then Susie II during that time as well. Sure, we had our Siamese cat Jennifer too (I was not involved in the naming of any of these animals) but I was certainly more of a dog-boy than a cat-kid back then.
But getting back to Blue Skies – particularly this one – in my binder I see next to this stub-of-little-information my standard hand-written note which adds the following: the three-day weekend began on August 1st, 1998 and I went with my new-almost-is-she-my-girlfriend at-the-time Christine, my good friends and ever-consistent Blue Skies anchors Jennifer & Jason and Grey & Lisa, and, “Chris etc….” I struggled for a moment to remember who Chris might be and I’m guessing it was Chris…was it Rogers? Yeah, I think his name was Chris Rogers, who was a thin and bearded smiling microdosing hippie dude who was friends-or-were-they-kinda-dating with Christine (whom I was obviously resistant to discuss relationships with) and who fit in with the Blue Skies vibe well enough that it must have been him.
I liked Chris but I never really knew him very well. Funny that the 1998 me lumped him in with such personal luminaries as Jason/Jenn/Lisa/Grey/Christine, all of whom I consider to be good friends to this very millennium. Also curious to ponder what legends might be contained in that “etc” and those four little dots (which back then I believe were called “periods”)…Huss? Maria? Anne-Marie? Johnny? The memory reels.
Oh, and speaking of “memory”, with this being the sixth paragraph of this missive with nary a mention of the festival itself you may well have guessed that in regards to the mainstage music, workshops, yummy food, rollicking laughter, eye-opening campfire jams, new friends, children, hugs, dramas, and adventures pertaining to this weekend in particular, well there’s not much left of those memories aside from their inevitable fold into my overall Blue Skiesiness in general.
But even if that’s all that remains, it’s still pretty significant.