I haven’t brought it up before but along with the various businesses and being a parent, me and my husband Oliver are also musicians. Or he is, I can sing and I write songs. Okay I’m working on the confidence thing alright? Anyway there is one thing we agreed on, before having children, and it was that we love my exposure and complete submersion into music my entire childhood. Being surrounded by music was my norm. My parents have been involved in the Philadelphia Folk Song Society for my whole life. It’s the where the majority of their friendships have started. I thought everyone’s house was full of instruments and parties and songs and band practices.
I didn’t realize I grew up in a music scene and culture until I moved away. And damn did I miss it. It’s only within this last few months we’ve finally found other people who want this as a regular part of their lives and want to jam with us and create as much as we do. It’s been energizing and it makes both of us better people and parents. However being parents and being creatives is a struggle. Late nights and drinking doesn’t pair well with an infant that wakes up at the crack of dawn. For the first 6 months of her life we put it all on the back burner. It would wait. But by the time summer hit I was missing my life of music pretty badly. So we started planning to go to our first fest with Juni in tow.
Our first time attending a music festival with Juniper was hard. She was barely 7 months old and I was determined to go. My family has attended the Philadelphia Folk Festival every year since before I was born. So we packed up, flew across the country and got ourselves onto what us festies call The Farm. That’s because it’s a working farm during the year and it’s only this one week a year it becomes what to me as a child seemed like a magical fairy land.
I strapped her to my body and went to concerts, volunteered at an outreach booth, and tried my damnedest to reconnect with my roots. It wasn’t until it started to pour that I panicked. I thought there was about to be a huge scary storm and I was in a field watching a concert with my baby. What if there was thunder?! She had never heard thunder in sunny California. What if there was lightening? What if something caught on fire? We pushed her up the hill to our campsite with my heart beating out of control. We went into our camper where my baby and I nursed and rocked and listened to the storm swirl around us. I was far more frightened than she was. After it settled down and my heart stopped pounding we stepped out into the campgrounds. And all around us I saw children jumping in mud puddles, dancing to the jam sessions that had come to be while hiding out in campsites. I looked down at my baby and kissed her little head and went back up the hill. Found my family and settled in to see what friends of ours were performing.
This year I go into it with the realization that I have very little control over how she will react. I have no control over the weather. But now I know the things that keep us sane during a week long festival. A container to fill with water when it gets hot, for either a bath or a cool down. A big umbrella to nap under and a jogging stroller to make it around the camp easily. And lots of self confidence. For if I want a child of rock and roll then I need to raise her up surrounded by music just the way I was. That isn’t always easy, it’s certainly not a magical fairyland when you’re the one creating the magic. But it is worth it. I’ll get to see a little piece of that magic through her eyes as she takes it all in. And yes I bought a leash, because I’ve got a runner.
And you can follow along. I’ll be posting all of our daily ramblings while on this trip on my Instagram page. @redheadedramblingmama