Wednesday, April 16, 1997

Taliesin - 1997 festival

2nd to 5th April, 1997

Pay attention to the open sky,
Let the buildings keep our children dry,
Let Creation reveal its secrets,
By and by......

Our first celebration at Taliesin was a brilliant success, thanks to immense voluntary input.

Godfrey leads the list, but unnumbered others contributed handsomely.
I reckon 2 dozen or more put in at least a day (not counting those who came from afar) in just the build-up probably more than a dozen put in at least 3 days effort at hard labour, laying paths of bark chippings, stripping 150 poles, setting up six 22-foot tipis and a 50-foot longhouse, a green woodwork shelter, a mini-tipi box office, a trapeze setup for Tim & Karen, etc.

A slideshow of the event:

-- Photos: Simon Brooke and others
Or click here for a write-up to peruse at your own pace

John Currie came and put up his painted twelve-foot genuine indian tipi, filled it with artifacts, dressed a young lady in full costume, and charmed young and old alike with traditional storytelling. He made the tipi 40 years ago and honeymooned with his wife, visiting reservations all over North America.

People brought tents and built benders, many stayed in the tipis, 13 in mine one night. The place was alive with kids, day and night. A large gang roaming one newmoon starnight found foxfire, the phosphorescent fungus, glowing in the dark woods and ran about bursting into adult fireside gatherings to share and show off their discovery: "Ed, Ed, I've got a stick that glows in the dark! Here, let me put my coat over your head so you can see it glowing!" They soon had found enough so each had a bit. The largest were fist-sized on rotting hazel butts.

On the 1000th night before the millennium (new moon or thereabouts), Comet Hale/Bopp and countless stars conspired with tipis lit by firelight within to produce what must surely be a prize-winning photograph from Simon and the most enduring image of the event.

There was music every night, though only programmed for Wednesday (Treebeard) & Thursday (Two Left Feet). Smoky longhouse barkchip floor for reel & willowstrip ceilidh.

Other music from Trevor, Karen, Blackie, Blue, Pete, Marco, Andy&Sarah, Mike, Tony, & many others. The last evening was like a family gathering round the kitchen fire, soft music mostly, and a memorable rendition of 'Before the Deluge' from our landlord & host, Tony Bonning. "Pay attention to the open sky," and, looking up, there was our guardian comet smiling in the northern starscape.

Some of them were dreamers
And some of them were fools
Who were making plans and thinking of the future
With the energy of the innocent
They were gathering the tools
They would need to make their journey back to nature
While the sand slipped through the opening
And their hands reached for the golden ring
With their hearts they turned to each other's heart for refuge
In the troubled years that came before the deluge

Some of them knew pleasure
And some of them knew pain
And for some of them it was only the moment that mattered
And on the brave and crazy wings of youth
They went flying around in the rain
And their feathers, once so fine, grew torn and tattered
And in the end they traded their tired wings
For the resignation that living brings
And exchanged love's bright and fragile glow
For the glitter and the rouge
And in a moment they were swept before the deluge

Now let the music keep our spirits high
And let the buildings keep our children dry
Let creation reveal its secrets by and by
By and by--
When the light that's lost within us reaches the sky

Some of them were angry
At the way the earth was abused
By the men who learned how to forge her beauty into power
And they struggled to protect her from them
Only to be confused
By the magnitude of the fury in the final hour
And when the sand was gone and the time arrived
In the naked dawn only a few survived
And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge
Believed that they were meant to live after the deluge

Now let the music keep our spirits high
And let the buildings keep our children dry
Let creation reveal its secrets by and by
By and by--
When the light that's lost within us reaches the sky

--Jackson Browne, 'Before the Deluge'
A dozen years on, we are still going strong!!