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"I saw them first!" - I wanted to shout it in the other smiling faces that saw young love personified in dance.
The band playing was the Snake Oil Medicine Show. A funky blend of blues, swing, and zydeco kept every dancer moving from song to song, and judging by the intensity of the dancers and how most of them were bathed in sweat, it looked like this show had been going on a while and was about to end. I spent the last songs of the group's set standing on the periphery, happily watching the dancers' enthusiasm. Freely and openly moving every which way, a large number of them danced with the wild abandon reserved for those who might very well believe it the last opportunity for them to do so. Couples, clearly accustomed to moving together to music, danced confidently-even lovingly-right next to a pair of teenagers shaking their fannies freestyle, moving through every dance style they'd ever seen, experimenting and laughing with every new step. The band finished with an extended jam session that added a hundred more souls and their soles to the well-appointed yet makeshift dance floor.
I took the opportunity between bands to call the mobile number of the friends I had arranged to meet at the festival. It felt a bit silly to be dialing a cellular phone in the middle of a grassroots festival. I would've made a miserable hippy. My friend Wynn picked up on the first ring with "Where are you?" I told him my location and we figured out where most easily to rendezvous in the next half hour.
I walked one lap around the entire festival site. The different stages looked natural in the settings of fields and knolls, glens and meadows. The organizers of the event put the existing barns and outbuildings to terrific use as staging areas and even as stages, lending a particular homey texture to what was already a bucolic setting inspiring thoughts of Friedrich paintings with saturated atmosphere and warm lighting. The haze of spring air augmented by jugglers and children tossing Frisbees looked like one might be able to reach out and grab it, perhaps even bottle it in a mason jar for safe keeping 'til winter months bade its release to infect the cold, dry air with summer spores. A sweat broke on my brow as my rapid hike through the festival grounds looped back around to our meeting site next to the wood's edge at the parking area.