Give Yourself to Love, Whiskey and Riverball

9 Jul

wavy gravyThe Kate Wolf Festival, A.K.A. The Crunchy Man’s Coachella, A.K.A. Old People Can Still Have Fun Too 2013, is a beautiful breeding ground for foot-stomping folk music, whiskey swigging jam sessions, and aging white liberals dancing off beat. I had the pleasure of spending four days as a guest and volunteer on Wavy Gravy’s Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, CA. Here is what happened.

Thursday: Arrive at check in. Immediately met with small town sass and sarcasm regarding paperwork. I load my retort only to be thwarted by dry mouth, vicious back sweat and the realization that picking a fight with an old sassy hippy isn’t the way I want to start my festi. GIVE YOURSELF TO LOVE DAWG!

It takes about two hours before a full-fledged sing-along at my campsite breaks out, complete with electric bass, mandolins and a moon puff. I don’t know what the record is, but this seems quick. I barely drove in the steaks of my tent before someone started expertly finger picking the beginning of a song I didn’t know. Jesus this is serious. I soon realize how few songs I know the lyrics to. Damn you Pac and Mac Dre! You are making me look bad in front of my folk friends!

Friday: Start my first volunteer shift at the Kid Zone. The director informs us that we will have to be on our game this year as two children last year contracted hand, foot and mouth disease from playing in the bird seed naked. Quick excerpt from that pep talk:

“Okay guys, due to the hand, foot and mouth snafu of last year, lets just try our best to keep the children…you know, clothed to the best of our abilities…and really you know, just have a good time out there.”

After orientation it becomes very apparent Kid Zone is going to be wacky. Let’s review other Kid Zone highlights.

Kids Open Mic– One kid got on the mic and dropped these rare jewels. “Jussss—tiinnn- BIEBER! Heeeeeeee swimmmmss innnn theeeee WATER!” On repeat for about 10 minutes. Another slobbery youth just yelled for about 5 minutes. No show time at the Apollo cane here. The Kid Zone is about freedom of expression and a director who naps in the shade tent.

Sequoia – “Hi, I’m Sequoia. My online boyfriend cheated on me and got Chlamydia.” After quickly googling to make sure one can’t contract an STD online, I continued down the frightening rabbit hole. I have never been so baffled and frightened talking to a 14 year old before. Her mom flew her out to this dude’s 16th B day in Chicago, but also called the FBI on her first online boyfriend who turned out to be a sex predator. Jeez Mom, maybe install a firewall, cancel Comcast for a couple months? Love your child? I felt obligated to give her some kind of advice, but all I could muster was, “Sequoia, you cray.”

That hay looks familiar...

That hay looks familiar…

Saturday: This will be a choose your own adventure. I will give you two scenarios and you can guess which is more applicable to my actual Saturday.

Scenario 1: Stayed well hydrated, applied requisite amounts of sunscreen, sang old folk songs, ate a healthy dinner, listened politely to some great music while sipping a high end beer and slept like a baby in my tent.

Scenario 2: Got ripped off tequila and whiskey, applied little to no sun screen while playing rings on hot rocks, reggae scatted about getting my balls licked, whipped myself into a frenzy and “danced” with girls while demanding sips from any and all nearby refreshments and maybe, just maybe ate too many samosas and passed out in a hay bale.

Sunday: RIVERBALL! While my sporting nature yearns for a more competitive game, you can’t really go wrong with playing a huge game of baseball in a river with your friends. There are few things like it. Maybe a game of softball in a lake would come close, but regardless it’s a special and awesome activity that signifies the home stretch of the festi.

Clang! Cling! Clang! That can only mean one thing. Rings! I probably spent half my time at Kate Wolf trying to toss industrial sized washers into a hole 15 feet away from me, and although I was whipped rather thoroughly, my obsession grew, and I vow to all those who bested me that I shall return stronger and with more arc on my throws!

The festival ended with what else but a group sing-along. It was difficult, but after relaxing river dips, drinking with friends, and camping under a beautiful sky, I finally gave myself to love. As soon as I left I got stuck in traffic in Willits and had to give myself back to hate, but there is always next year.

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