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The makers of magic

July 13, 2013

My apartment looks like it has survived a wicked storm, as my rushing around (from Folk to Fringe and back) has prevented me from being organized in any sense of the word.

Over-commitment is my middle name. When someone asks if I can do something, I generally say yes, even if it means that I am up late into the night before, chewing on my lip and reading tutorials to map it out. There is always a learning curve with a side of anxiety.

In the end, it’s worth it. Example: Folk Fest.

Winnipeg Folk Festival parking lot with clouds

The last morning of the festival

This year, the Winnipeg Folk Festival put me on Main Gate Box Office crew as a volunteer cashier, which means that I am responsible for helping customers purchase tickets and trade them in for wristbands.

Retail work of years gone by had bred certain habits into me, but this was a whole new ball game. I was given a daunting document that listed all the different wristbands available – about 3 dozen varieties. The tickets also seemed impossible to decipher, so my first shift hung over me ominously on Wednesday afternoon.

6:30 pm. I was handed a till and told to count it and get out there. There is a definite pause before I accepted my first customer, but then I was rolling. Lots of learning happened during the doing, and challenges were presented and overcome one by one.

By 11:30, the adrenaline of the game had worn off. Till counted (not balanced totally, but close), I shuffled off to sleep in my tent, surrounded by my stumbling campmates (stumbling not from exhaustion but other adventures).

I had the next day off, so I awoke early to the sound of singing and wandered around a bit. A great peace settled over me; phone dead, I had no deadlines or responsibilities for a few sweet hours.

By the time my wandering led me to the backstage area reserved for volunteers and performers, breakfast was just about ready. My friend, Chris, was there, too.

Chris is an inspirational individual, with a desire to make the world a better place by bringing the magic that lives at Folk Fest to everyone else. Often, when the stars align to make something cool happen, he joyfully attributes it to serendipity.

This serendipity led to a series of overlapping conversations with new friends. Chris’ friend joined us, then I found another one, then we met someone new while standing in line for food.

A picnic table was claimed as ours, and one by one each of us left. It was fascinating to watch these empty seats filled with new friends who we could learn about. I witnessed half a dozen people cycling through this way, and as I left the table, I knew I was allowing someone else to become a part of this unending conversation.

Apparently, the night that I slept early, the Northern Lights emerged over the campground. Aurora Borealis or no, campers can enjoy magic at Folk Fest, and it was on my second night that I could traipse around properly.

The Folk Festival campground is a whole different experience from the festival itself. The amount of collaborative creativity that goes into this unique world is amazing. The Castle Boys’ creations, jam spaces, a colony of oversized games including Battleship and Fenga (Foot Jenga), and an installation of a Cyclotrope are just some of the many wonders you can discover.

I was transported, for a time, to a beautiful world of whimsy and wandering, but the city streets draw me back. It’s a relief to think that on those streets I can run into people like Chris, who will attempt to unearth that magic in the real world.