Gratifly Music & Arts Festival, Westminster, SC 2014.
I’m certain that a friendly face and cheerful attitude are bona fide requirements of festival workers. You’ll realize this if you attended the Gratifly Music and Arts Festival in the grassy hills of Avalon, a private property in Westminster, SC. The location consists of wooded hills and windy dirt roads that lead to a large open field. Travel a few yards farther and you’ll find a river.
Not just another music and arts festival, Gratifly seeks to improve your quality of life. If leading a Gratifly-like life is what the festival workers are doing, it’s working and we could all use a sample of it.
Rain embraced the Carolina red clay Wednesday night before the festival started. One could easily say it threw a wrench in the works. Parking had to be moved off-site and festival goers are being shuttled to and fro. Checking in, getting tickets, volunteer passes, meal tickets and such requires some patience. But, the festival workers and volunteers keep the vibe light and happy because they know that once you enter Avalon, you too will understand. People are helping people here. I mean, all kinds of people!
When you arrive, happy faces–some that are painted–greet you. Whatever strife was on your mind, now is the time to lose it. As you amble down the hill with all your gear, people are bound to offer a hand. The only difficult part about choosing a spot to post your little camp is deciding which one is more perfect. Folks invite you into the forest and showcase available camping spots. A tedious task becomes fun.
Travel farther down the hill and a field of people, artistic structures, lights, sounds, smells and energy welcomes you. And those happy festival workers and volunteers do too. Within minutes of reaching the field, I was greeted by a new friend I made at The Get Down at Pumpkintown last month. He couldn’t have been happier to see me and introduce me to his girlfriend. One happy interaction leads to another then another.
You may find a picking circle at the Cafe Gratifly, which serves farm to table food prepared with African flare. Fling a frisbee to the top of the peace bus. Catch a quick lesson in hooping along the way to the Summit Stage. There are so many things here to prepare you to lead a Gratifly life. An open mind is not required. Just stumble into a gathering of people at any of the many artistic installments and something, someone, some voice, some energy will reach out to you. And if you’re bones are aching, catch a yoga class and stretch out those aches and pains. Go for a swim in the lighted river.
The music line-up is spectacular! Festival favorites Papadosio, Polish Ambassador and Rising Appalachia will grace the Summit Stage. There is music at all hours of the festival. DJs will groove you until dawn. There’s rumor of a onesie party Saturday night.
I would compare getting to, in and around Avalon to a foothills hike. I recommend you pack your boots and have plenty of cool clothing. Carts and wagons of any kind are very helpful for transporting your gear.
I hope this blog encourages you to GO try something you’ve never done before. I hope it sets your mind to be free, your heart to be light. Forget your age. Tell that little twit in your head that you belong anywhere you are. Go introduce yourself to a festival worker or volunteer. They’re waiting to greet you at The Spotted Pig and send along your journey to Avalon. Every step of the way is part of the experience. If the person next to you is smiling, then you should be too.