It was quite a hike up the steep hill to the main entrance. The area was ringed with vendor’s stalls promoting green products and selling arts and crafts. But we had come for one purpose: to hear Buffy Sainte-Marie sing. I was really into the folk music scene way back when. I listened to Joan Baez, the Kingston Trio, Pete Seeger, Ian and Sylvia, et al, for hours on end. I played guitar myself and even attempted to write some lyrics a la Bob Dylan.
One singer I admired as much as anybody was Buffy Sainte-Marie. I even recorded myself singing along with her as a duet! Of course, nobody could emulate her unique voice, least of all me. But it was fun trying.
Although I always considered her as part of the folk music crowd, as she pointed out last night, she didn’t sing four-hundred-year-old “folk songs.” She was actually one of the few people writing her own material back in the days before it was an acceptable practice and all her material was written the week before she sang it.
As much as I enjoyed hearing and seeing Buffy (and she certainly seems to have aged well) equally interesting and enjoyable was the ambience at the festival. A good percentage of the attendees, crossing all age groups, were dressed hippie style. I guessed that many of them had not changed their wardrobe in forty years, meaning that this is their normal, everyday attire. And good for them!
I was never a full-fledged hippie myself, more of a hippie wanna-be. So I dressed in the uniform of the day including the tie dye t-shirts, bell-bottom pants embroidered at the cuffs, and peace-symbol jewelry. But to my credit, I did participate in peace marches.
That all seemed like another lifetime on another planet—until last night I stepped into the time machine and was transported back to another era. People were dancing and swaying to the music uninhibitedly, baring their skin (albeit mostly in a modest way) to the cool night air, and the aromatic second-hand smoke wafted into the darkness. But Buffy’s strong, powerful voice transcended everything that was going on around her.
I have to admit, I haven’t heard too much about Buffy in the last couple of decades, my fault I am sure, so it is reassuring to know she is still out there keepin’ on keepin’ on.
(All photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)