Culturefest 2019

I am back from my jaunt in rest and reflect, ready to plant beans (because spilling is a waste) regarding the celebration of my 40th birthday.


Let me take you back to a couple of weekends ago, if you will.


It was a lovely September day, September 6th to be precise, and I was there, kicked back on a cloud…


… at Culturefest 2019 (https://culturefestwv.com/home)


Once a year, in the youthful days of September, a vibrant, invigorating festival is born. Down narrow but welcoming dust-rock roads and tucked deep between the resplendent peaks of Pipestem, West Virginia, Culturefest mimics rays of sunshine to highlight those stunning mountain ridges with a nourishing aura of harmony and bliss.


In September 2008, it was under that umbrella of stars and shine that I first connected with the woman who would become my wife. Certainly, I have a profound sentimental attachment to this festival. Our relationship’s foundation was built in those lush, green fields amidst that first kiss of fall, and nothing can change my perception of the beginning, magical moments we shared as we danced and fell in love.


For my 40th birthday, my wife thought it might be special to revisit that place we hold near to our hearts, our starting point, and we decided to share this special place with a few of our dearest friends and family, too. Of course, change in our world has happened over the years. Change is inevitable, and our growth as a nation has not been without pain. On a national level, we are still very much in the middle of experiencing those pivotal shifts. My own personal growth has not been without stumbles. We, my wife and I, are different, too, in some ways, but our love and connection remain the same, and we carry that connection wherever we go.





What I loved…


THE MUSIC—


“Inhaling all the good shit, exhaling all the bullshit.”


One beautiful force that continues to bloom and display an array of uplifting flowers, despite Trump’s volcanic spewing of abhorrence on a daily basis, is our music. The music at Culturefest is a potent, kaleidoscopic Care Bare Stare at every weak brand of hate, supremacy, and greed. My ears were treated to a surplus of solid band offerings, and if you know me, you also know that I love discovering and being exposed to new artists. And thank goodness for those artists who fight to thrive and distribute their tunes with messages of hope.





THE FOOD—


While my friends Kombucha’d it up at Butcha Brewhouse and Bistro and devoured savory tofu sandwiches, I resigned to my inner pasta beast and ate more than my share of noodles at Thai B.B.Q.


Also, every night—ice cream (again, via Thai B.B.Q). If you’re me, that was three fine mint chocolate chip indulgences.


THE COLORS, THE COMRADERIE, THE VIEW—


That majestic, breathtaking view.





Taking in that crisp fall air at night and the warm, gentle taps from the swaying blue flames in the bonfire elicited paradise. And watching dancing warriors swing fiery swords in a sensual dance to find resolve, one that did not end in violent bloodshed, generated a wind of whimsical enchantment.


In fact, I was so captivated by the magic that surrounded me that I forgot to take pictures (I took a total of six). It was a siren seduction to forget, leading to an imminent wreck, but not a destructive one. This crash was a full force collision into living life.

I was too busy laughing and enjoying and making actual memories.


We glided through foggy pastures posing questions to help us better understand exactly how it is that she is like the wind. My friends and I sat and shared stories about college girlfriends (not mine) and laughed until we nearly peed our pants. We listened, we watched, we analyzed, and we created.


We had the best time.





Festivals like Culturefest—small-town, intimate gatherings showcasing a diverse assortment of talented bands and artisans are thriving because they embrace local color and community spirit.


For me, these elements are the premise and point of this life. If you care to recharge your battery, embark on this journey. Go to a local festival next year, and if you’re in the Princeton, WV area, make it a point to go to Culturefest.


My wife, who has been immersed in and heavily swayed by Danish comforts, would say, “it is very hygge.”


Pull up the blinds in your mind, let those warm sun rays glisten and delight every crevice in your noggin, crack the windows, and allow your thoughts to run free.


There are generational divides, party lines drawn, and an overwhelming, embattled mentality poisoning our minds. And the existing rule, corporate-political entities, have cleverly pitted us against each other to keep us imprisoned in that system. BUT music unites us. And Culturefest is a lively beating heart and body that beckons us toward that unity. It reminds us that we are physically connected, to each other and our planet, and that connection is a cause for celebration. In the end, we’re all just skeletons covered in meat. And there ain’t no harm in allowing those skeletons to forever mingle, sing, and dance.






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© 2020 Kat Shook