Tag Archives: Willfest

An Unforgettable Festival

I couldn’t stand it. Last week, I said that I was not taking my paints to the Will McLean Music Festival. I didn’t have room for them and I wouldn’t have time to paint. That’s what I said, but in the end, I couldn’t leave them behind. Just before I left to pick up my daughter, I stuffed my small Sta-Wet palette between two bags, dropped a couple of panels in a small space beside my overnight bag, and found space among the bins for my paintbox. I was still pretty sure I wouldn’t have time to paint, but I knew that if I didn’t bring my paints, I would pine for them.

Wonder of wonders, I found time to paint. We arrived at the venue in the early afternoon on Thursday, found our spot and started setting up our booth. When the booth was up, we worked on the changing tent and our sleeping tent. My daughter saw the way I was looking at the sky and said, “Go ahead and paint. I’ll set up the air mattresses.” I didn’t argue very much. The sun was setting and there was no time.

The sun went down so quickly that I ended up doing a lot of this one from memory, in a twilight that was almost completely dark. I didn’t get a good look at it until the next morning. I could see that it was rough, but I loved it. I had to set it aside quickly and get ready to sell tie-dye, but every time my glance fell on it during the weekend, it made me smile.

Willfest Sunset

Willfest Sunset


That one 8” x 10” would have been enough, but I also managed to squeeze in a tiny painting on Saturday. I found a little time in the morning, before we opened our booth, to paint the view from our camping spot. It’s just sky, rushes and a few trees, but I like it.
Willfest Trees

Willfest Trees


Sunday, I did not paint, but I did take some photographs. Everyone who had a picture-taking device took photographs that day, because something unexpected happened. We were just standing in our booth, taking care of business, when we heard a loud cracking sound. We looked up and saw a huge tree come crashing down by the creek across the way. People started running over there from all directions. Someone said, “Call 911,” but someone else said, “Nobody’s hurt.” Once everyone was sure that was true, all the cameras and phones came out. It was quite a sight. Someone said that the folks who had been camping in that spot had pulled out not fifteen minutes before.
Broken Tree

Broken Tree

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A sturdy picnic table was completely smashed. I hate to think what would have happened if anyone had been sitting at that table. I took a few pictures and went back to my tie-dye booth. The next morning, I went back to take another look. Someone had left a note on the tree.

Note

Note


Yes. Yes, indeed. Thank you.

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Too Busy to Blog

I know it’s Wednesday and Wednesday is blog day, but this particular Wednesday is “load up for Willfest” day and that doesn’t leave time for a carefully worded blog post. My daughter and I spent the day gathering up all the personal things and business things we need to camp for three days and sell tie-dye at the Will McLean Music Festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Dade City, Florida. That’s a long way from Jacksonville, so we want to be careful not to leave anything important behind.

I wish I had room to bring my paints, because the location is beautiful and the event is so joyful and inspiring that it opens my heart and makes me want to do creative things while I’m there. I’m there to sell tie-dye, though, and that is a job that takes most of my time and all of the van space. I will have a small sketchbook and some watercolor pencils. Maybe I can fit in a sketch or two when things are slow.

The good news is that I did paint this past week. I was out in my back yard making tie-dye and I noticed that the morning light was particularly pretty on the three trees in my neighbor’s yard. The next day, while the tie-dye was batching, I tried to paint those trees. If you’re a follower of this blog, you’ve seen two of them before. I’ve painted the tall pine and the little holly twice, but I edited out the maple because it was January and the maple was naked. Now it’s March and that tree is covered in bright red helicopter seed pods.

Three Trees

Three Trees


Here’s my new painting. I normally try to give my posts clever endings, but I’m just too tired this evening. I painted. I blogged. I’m done.

Willfest

We have returned from a successful Will McLean Festival. We will have a lot of dyeing to do to get ready for the Florida Folk Festival in May, but now we can afford to order blanks. This was our third Willfest and the other two had cold weather. We sold a lot of long-sleeved T-shirts and socks. This time, we checked the forecast and left the long-sleeved T-shirts at home. We took tank tops instead and that turned out to be a wise decision. It was a good weekend for tank tops.

One thing we love about this festival is that we get to camp right behind our tie-dye booth, which is very close to the main stage. We get to listen to music all day while we’re selling tie-dye and when it gets dark, we just zip up the booth and retire to our campsite, where we can listen to music as we eat supper. If we have any energy left, we can move our chairs closer to the stage to enjoy the music. If we’re exhausted, we can crawl into our tent and continue to enjoy the music as we fall asleep. I can’t imagine a more convenient arrangement.

Our booth and our tent

Our booth and our tent


This year it was particularly convenient because our space was right next to the funnel cake booth. These weren’t just regular funnel cakes, either. You could get a regular funnel cake, sure, but you could also get toppings. The one that tempted me was Boston Cream Pie. I went to get a funnel cake that I thought I would share with my daughter. As I was ordering it, she informed me that she didn’t want toppings, she wanted a plain funnel cake with powdered sugar. I wasn’t giving up my Boston Cream Pie funnel cake, so I ordered two funnel cakes. They were gorgeous.
Funnel cakes!

Funnel cakes!


The Boston Cream Pie funnel cake was the best funnel cake in the history of funnel cakes, but it was huge. I learned something new this weekend. A half-eaten funnel cake that has been stored in a cooler for two days is an abomination, but if it has Bavarian Cream on it, I will still eat it. Oh, yeah.

The Will McLean Festival is held at the Sertoma Youth Ranch, which is a beautiful place full of huge trees, a lake that attracts sandhill cranes and a meadow that fills up with mist every morning. It’s so pretty, I ached to find time to paint some of that scenery while I was there, but I just couldn’t manage it. I took a lot of photos with my iPad and I may try to use them as references for a painting now that I’m home, but I know the photos don’t capture the magic of the place.

I couldn’t pull off all the messy set-up and clean-up of a painting, but I did take out my watercolor pencils and sketch something I could see from the tie-dye booth.

Willfest sketch

Willfest sketch


I’m happy that I didn’t take art supplies all that way for nothing.

Road Trip

I think I’ve figured out how Wednesday became my regular weekly blog posting day. I’m pretty sure it was related to a folk festival. I had been posting on Fridays and then on Sundays for a while, but then I must have seen a folk festival coming. I normally drive to a folk festival on Thursday and then I’m without wifi all weekend, so I can’t do blog posts.

I’m thinking about this because I’m getting ready to go to a folk festival. I have festivals where I perform and festivals where I sell tie-dye and one festival where I do both. The one coming up this weekend is the Will McLean Festival, where I am a tie-dye artist and not a performer. It’s my tie-dye partner’s favorite festival because I don’t have to leave her alone in the booth while I go somewhere to sing and yodel. It’s also the one where we don’t bring extra family members. It’s just the two of us, with a tie-dye booth and camping equipment.

We love this weekend, but we sure are exhausted before we get on the road. It’s eight o’clock in the evening as I’m writing this and my daughter is still checking all the lists to make sure everything is loaded up in the van. Everything that’s on a list, anyway. I try to improve my lists by reading Morning Pages from last year to see what I forgot to bring. When I did that this year, I saw that every single day of last year’s festival, I was wishing I had brought art supplies.

I still can’t remember when I found myself with enough down time to want art supplies, but I wrote it in my Morning Pages every day, so I am not leaving them behind this year. The art supplies are in the van. So are a lot of other things, taking up every inch of space, but we’re probably still forgetting something. When I find out what it is, I will write about it in my Morning Pages and we will remember to bring it next year.

I guess I’d better not forget to pack my notebook after I write tomorrow’s Morning Pages.

Ready for Morning Pages

Ready for Morning Pages