Festival review

August 9, 2010

Laurie wrote:  Leanne – It’s August 9th. I’m waiting with anticipation to hear how August 8th went. I sure hope your throat cooperated.

I reply:  Well, it didn’t start off so well. I was still sick — coughing and sneezing.

The weather…let’s just say the island didn’t live up to its nickname — Sunny Mayne Island. It started raining on Saturday and didn’t stop raining until late Sunday afternoon.

It was to be an outside festival. The organizers were counting on the weather to cooperate so no alternative venues had been proposed. At the last-minute, they raced around the island trying to find accommodations. They found the community centre. It turned out to be idea accommodations.

Organizer Tina Farmilo wove together music and readings. She even participated in the dance portion of the festival. Native and non-native dancers spun the tale of southern gulf islands were settled.

In the beginning the stage is bare, except for a lone native drummer. He has a black and red native blanket drapped around his shoulders. The audience is captivated by his soothing drum beat.

In walks a white man with a solider’s uniform hung over his shoulder. He picks up a hammer and a stack. The native drummer continues to try to play, however, each beat is meet with a sharp hostel whack of his hammer on the stack. The scene deeply touched me.

The native drummer despairingly put down his drum, took off his blanket and left the stage. The solider hung up his uniform on a clothes line that hung on one side of the stage. He pulled a tin whistle from his back pocket and played an Irish jig. Then he left the stage.

As the musician played In An English Country Garden, on danced Tina in an apron. She danced over to the clothes line and hung up the apron beside the solider uniform. Then she left the stage.

As the musician played a Japanese song, on to the stage came a female dancer carrying a suitcase. She lay the suitcase on the floor, pulled out a silk rob which was adorned with beautiful Japanese embroidery and hung it up on the clothes line. The woman left the stage.

As the musician played a Hawaiian song, on to the stage came a male dancer carrying a suitcase. He laid the suitcase on the floor, pulled out a Hawaiian shirt, hung it up on the clothes line. The man left the stage.

A hush fell over the stage, on walked the native drummer. However, instead of a drum he carried a beautiful carving of a raven. He sat and captivated the audience with a native legend.

I was mesmerized. It was such an engaging way to recount island history.

Besides myself, six Mayne Island writers performed — Amber Harvey, David Burrowes, Toby Snelgrove, Helen O’Brian and Grant Buday. Visiting our island was multi-published mystery author Lou Allin.

I fortunate to perform with my friend Nan Johnston. I read a page from my work in progress — Maynely Hidden. Then Nan sang a beautiful song that fit the piece so well. Then I read from my soon-to-be-published (by Decadent Publishing) paranormal psychological thriller — The Sweater Curse. Then together Nan and I sang the Buddy Holly song That’ll Be The Day. I’m not a singer so I hammed it up and had a great time.

This morning I received an email from Lou. She wrote: ‘I really enjoyed your ‘duet’ and so did the crowd.’

Lou is organizing a mystery conference — Bloody Words. The conference will run from June 3 to 5, 2011. It will be held at the Hotel Grand Pacific in Victoria, BC. The guest of honour will be Michael Salde. The international guest of honour will be Laurie R. King. The local guest of honour will be William Deverell. For more information, please visit:  www.bloodywords2011.com

5 Responses to “Festival review”

  1. Oh man, oh man, oh man — it sounds like a great time was had by all. Thank you so much for the detailed recap. I was thinking about you and hoping that all was going more-than-fantastically for you.

    • So, that explains things. 🙂
      During my reading I felt so comfortable. More so than I’ve ever done before. I was able to talk off the cuff. Something, even last year, I would never have attempted. My husband, who is not given to easy praise, said, “What you said was perfect.”
      I wondered why things had gone more-than-fantastically for me.
      Now I know why. Thank you, my friend. : )

  2. I just found your blog – not sure how, really. But I enjoyed reading about the dance part of the festival, which I missed.
    I loved reading from my unpublished book, and received many comments the next day from people i didn’t even realize were at the well-attended event!
    Thank you for organizing the writers for this occasion, and for getting us together for a round-table discussion before the festival, as well. It was a good opportunity for us to review some of our successes and our challenges and look to the future.
    Amber Harvey

    • Thank you for your visit Amber and for your kind words. It was a largely enjoyable event. I had a small part in organizing this event. Full credit goes to Tina Farmilo and the rest of the Mosaic organizers.

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