I haven't seen my friend Jamie Rowland in like, 10 years at LEAST, and since I have this newfound freedom with my motorcycle, we decided it was about time that I went for a little road trip and visited her.
At first, I thought I'd go to Newcastle and spend the weekend there, or maybe in Ajax, where Jamie works. But later, I found out about this rave/hippie fest about a half hour north of Huntsville called Harvest Festival, thanks to Sam. It was happening the same weekend I was supposed to visit Jamie, so I asked her if she wanted to go. I thought she sort of knew what was going to happen there, but I later found out she had no idea. She agreed to go camping with me, even though she was evidently a little nervous about the whole thing.
The camping part would only last one night, but we would email back and forth at least 100 times, going over the list of things to bring. Jamie had thought of everything, and yep, she brought all of it too. The night before the party, we talked on the phone making sure we had everything that we would need. On my motocyclette, I can't take anything but the bare minimum, so I was glad that Jamie had volunteered to bring the bulk of the stuff that we would need, including a monstrous tent and air mattress.
I got up pretty early and set out on my way. This ride was hands-down, the most beautiful I have been on yet. My route cut through the southern part of Algonquin Park, and I marveled at the colours of the reds, yellows and oranges of the changing leaves on the trees. I had to fill up with gas at a station inside the park, paying way more than I have ever paid for a tank of gas. There are only two gas stations in Algonquin, and I happened upon one of them as I was running out. I looked at my watch, oh my, 12:30, I said I would meet Jamie at 1 p.m. in Burk's Falls. It will still take an hour to get there, so I had to call her and tell her I would be late. She was already there waiting for me! I felt bad, but she was cool with driving back to her dad's house (which is 10 min. away I think) and waiting for me to arrive.
So, I drove up to Burk's Falls after that, and called Jamie once I got there. She was about five minutes away, so I just waited for her for a few seconds and she showed up! I think both of us look about the same as we did in highschool so we recognized each other immediately of course. One thing I have to say, Jamie is NOT a Facebook friend, as you are probably assuming at this point. We had actually been emailing each other and sometimes talking on the phone since leaving Notre Dame in 1999. We're actually real friends who care about each other and stuff.
By the time I got there, it was 2 p.m. and the gates to the festival were opening. We bought some drinks and some food to eat while at the event, and then had some pizza at a tiny pizza place on a rickety picnic table haphazardly placed adjacent to a noisy air conditioning unit outside. We chatted a little bit about our lives now and blahblahblah, and then we went to the party. Jamie in her car and me in my motorcycle behind her.
Upon arriving at the venue, I was presented with an official looking waiver that says, "I absolve Harvest Festival from all responsibility" in case of injury or death blahblahblah. There was no way I could read it and sign it while in line on my motorcycle. So I asked if I could pull over to read it at the side, because of the big line of people idling their cars behind me, I said that I felt I was being placed under duress to sign it. The lady wearing green kitty ears on her head and a big smile, said no. Ok, I'm thinking, this is a waste of time and paper, this will never hold up in court. So I signed the stupid sheet and paid for my ticket.
Jamie and I had signed up for volunteer duties, but you still had to pay beforehand because so many people flake out of cleanup duties on Sunday morning. *eyeroll*. I got to park my bike near the front of the parking lot and Jamie had to go all the way back. It wasn't that far away, but by the time I got there, she had already made friends with Ryan and Ryan, two strapping lads who had offered to help her carry her monumental amount of stuff she had brought to this party. So we gave the Ryans our stuff, and they helped us find a place to put our castle of a tent (wayyyyyy at the back). It was inconvenient, but quiet and nice back there.
So we set up our big,giant blue tent, (it took quite a while to figure out how to get it all together, btw) but we managed, and then we set up our chair to join the Ryans' circle of friends. They consisted mostly of married schoolteachers, with a couple of Mac tech support people thrown in for good measure. They were all from Toronto, and I talked quite a bit with Monique and Shanna about traveling in Thailand. They absolutely love it there. I haven't actually talked to anybody who doesn't, but there you have it. Hippies in Toronto adore Thailand (excepting the underage prostitution of course, they added)
Before we knew it, it was time to see the circus and sideshow. This was very interesting. For most of it, I was thoroughly disgusted (crucifying Jesus in an ocean of symbolic semen? Come on, give me a break, sometimes there's art and sometimes there's bored people with no talent attempting to shock people with pure mindlessness). But Jamie was so humorous..."Oh I get it, it's art, that's what they do...OK" I giggled through the whole thing, just laughing at her reactions.
There were a few genuinely talented people performing in the circus, sword swallowers, people swinging around on ropes and people dancing with flaming poi. I felt sorry for them, because they were surrounded with people that wouldn't know what talent is if it bit them in the nose. So anyway, I was feeling a little bit sorry for the fate of humanity.
After this, Jamie and I sort of wandered around, observing the way that people act at raves and parties like this. (I had never been on this side of the two-way mirror before. In highschool, I was always the one dancing my brains out, completely unaware of anything around me). One tent was placed beside a haunting swamp. We walked down there earlier in the day, and I had remarked that someone had actually thought about where to put this tent. The swamp was even more captivating at night, because there were lights shining on the whole thing, casting shadows and creating a naturally ocurring honest-to-God work of art.
We wandered around some more, I wasn't feeling really into the dancing part, as usual, and it was really strange for me. I was content to just walk around and criticize the whole entire thing. There were people lining up for food in the food tent, and it resembled a concentration camp. It was then, that I had the thought that raves are kind of like a concentration camp. The government used to be up in arms about this sort of thing happening, back in the nineties, but now, not so much, because I think the powers that be realized that most of these people don't matter in the long run. They can just explode their brains with mind altering drugs on the weekend by themselves if they want to, and society would probably be better for it anyway. Maybe.
Later on, as I was stepping out of the already-overflowing portapotties, somebody yelled "Louise!" right behind me and it was my friend Alejandro from Ottawa! I found out that he had filled up his buddy's car with a bunch of other people that I knew, and they had just gotten there. They had mentioned that they were interested in going to the festival too, but I had just assumed that their plans had fallen through, and they didn't go after all. I hadn't seen them for about two months, so it was kind of weird to see them all the way across the province.
Sam hitched a ride with the rest of the Ottawa people, and she came by a few minutes later. She had just gotten back from Burningman in Nevada, and also had a new boyfriend since the last time I saw her. My how things change in a few weeks.
Jamie in front of the castle
Me and jamie in our campsite
Jamie and me in our campsite
More fire people
Swamp at night
Jamie vs. sculpture
Sculptures in the day
People in weird costumes
Jamie vs. sculpture 2
Me vs. sculpture
Blowing up the mattress
Jamie and me
Trees in the dance tent
I don&#39;t know