From Falcon Ridge to the Democracy Center

-written by Hearth Member, Matthew Reese

Earlier this month, I attended the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival for the first time. Over the course of the weekend, I observed how integral this event is for so many of its attendees. Many of the thousands who attend go every year, some of them, like Hearth Founder Miranda Aisling, go every year of their lives.

Part of the rabid devotion to Falcon Ridge is somewhat corny, like when the festival ends with the same song every year, which the regulars sing with gusto. It’s easy to roll one’s eyes and question why a festival with such incredible talent tolerates such a cheesy finale. Yet there seems to be more underneath the surface.

People camp in the same spot every year, participate in the same traditions, and make the same jokes. However, somehow it doesn’t feel contrived. Silly, perhaps, to a spectator, but it’s clear that this is a place and a people, who are brought together by being committed to their traditions. They love the music, the food, the people, and the location. They commit their lives to sharing it all with each other. And so they become a community.

At the Hearth, we are starting something similar. Our events revolve around food, music, dancing, laughter, and stories. They are about whatever creative processes the community has to share.

Because I organize Waltzdays, here’s when I insert a shameless plug for when we dance together on August 28! We are lucky to be joined by Julie Vallimont (who rocked it at Falcon Ridge) and Anna Patton (one of my favorite clarinetists). As we dance to amazing music, we will laugh, eat (probably), tell old stories, and make new ones.

We are building a community through creativity, and look forward to seeing what traditions will grow out of your participation. I really love Waltzdays, and look forward to seeing it become part of the Hearth’s traditions. Even more so, I look forward to seeing how the attendees develop habits and traditions that will make us a community.

Can’t wait to dance with you.

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