The day the music died …
April 14, 2020 the news we’d all been expecting finally arrived in my Inbox. With a broken heart, the 2020 – the 47th annual Winnipeg Folk Festival was officially cancelled. Everyone wondered what had taken them so long. I’d like to have been a fly on the wall of those board meetings. Creative people they all are, and I bet they were trying to work it out.
Since 1974 hippies and hipsters and music lovers from around North America have flocked to Birds Hill Provincial Park to enjoy North America’s favourite music festival. I’ve missed quite a few, but lately Ray and I have been back volunteering. There’s been good festivals and great festivals and some dramatic festivals, but since its inception there’s not been no festival. It took an invisible little virus to change everything.
So here I am, sitting alone at a picnic table in site 24 Meadowlark at Birds Hills Park campground, writing with tears in my eyes. We booked this site months ago, may as well use it. Some of our crew will be here. We’ll toast the festival that wasn’t, try and watch it online together and eat pot luck. There might be more wine flowing than usual. The flock of patrons requiring site safety is AWOL this year.
2020 is done. The entire year will be Covid, a time for reflection. No traveling, no socializing, no physical contact. I can deal with this. The challenge, not just with Folk Fest but with everything, will be 2021. We have to make sure there’s a 48th (or will it be 47th?) Winnipeg Folk Festival. We’re going to have to help.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. This is not anyone’s “new normal”. Next year will be bigger and greater and hotter and sweatier and more physically NOT distant than you can imagine. July 2021 – we will rise again. There won’t be a dry eye on the field.