If you meet two sisters named Emily and Charlotte who say they’re writers, you may think you’re in a Doctor Who episode. Is this an elaborate LARPing scenario I’ve stumbled into? Yes, they’re writers and yes they’re great writers. Together they devised a gorgeous space for people to listen to and write poetry. Typewriters, pens, and inspiration material galore all set up in their beautiful popup that completely transports you to a happy place.
I set up a popup next to them. At StrangeCreek and Wormtown I’m typically running the Wharf Rat booth. One perk is I can come in on Wednesday to set up. By Friday it feels like I’ve been away for a week. Most people come on Saturday. Those first days are like watching a village materialize. Stages, vendors, activities, lights, sounds, and music around a campfire at night. The booth gets setup fast and we don’t have any events till Friday so that gives me time to help out at the teen tent and move/ assemble/ erect/ clean anything that people may need help with. Such a wonderful community and they take care of me too. The Stupid Robots set up a massive camp nearby complete with a meat smoker. They bring me food. The fire artists camp across the thoroughfare and bring me steak and bacon each morning. Workers give me their meal tickets and take over coverage at the booth so I can pee and eat. I also get to assist visitors with my neighboring booths while they’re off dancing.
On the other side of me was Festiquest. This is a delightful and exciting addition to the festival experience which I hope makes it to every fest out there. You register for free and get a quest book with missions including helping people, keeping the space clean, following bands, taking pics, finding hidden items, and devising your own missions to complete. I helped a tripping girl find her friends (quest complete). I did a dance in front of a wacky-waving-inflatable-tube thing (quest complete), I took a selfie in front of a large inflated unicorn (quest complete). Each completed quest was an entry in a drawing and on Sunday, winners were chosen for prizes. I won a fairy door wreath and got to name their inflatable unicorn (Erasamus Monokeros ESQ.).
Working the table means I got to see less music but friends covered me for my favorite acts including Stupid Robots and Hayley Jane. We also closed at 8pm so I managed to see the headliners too. This year’s big draw was Twiddle which was a bit of a surprise that they’re headlining a fest of this size. People came just for them and they were ravenous. I spent most of that set with a friend my age discussing how things used to be. I’m one of those now; just weeks after turning 40.
My favorite part of StrangeCreek and Wormtown (after all the friends and the great community) is playing in the woods late night. This year it was tame. Not me, them. Usually, we walk around at night, yell “trick-or-treat!” and throw candy at people chillin at their campsites. This year the responses we got were, “Thank you!” “I love you candy fairy!” and “You’re the best” It was relatively quiet and not that packed. People stayed late near the main stage it seemed.
Sadly I won’t be able to make Wormtown later this year. That had me pause and soak up the scene. The music is great but the fans, the art, the creative spirit, and the sharing are louder and more impactful. I love my family there and enjoy seeing it grow.0 likes