Two weeks ago I left the lush Comox Valley for dry and dusty Merritt. The journey from island to mainland. A ferry ride salty with goodbyes, straight into Vancouver's traffic jams. Welcome back. I left the island but not the pace. Slow tunes singing along in between the honking smog of busy city streets. Vancouver family welcomed me with birthday hugs and dinner, a home to come home to. Heart overflowing with love, I left early the next morning, too early for traffic to be jamming my jam.
Merritt appeared after many a mountain pass, little screams of delight whenever I drive through majestic mountain views. Jimi Hendrix blasting out of my open windows, letting in freedom and dust. The Bass Coast site in full build up mode. Welcome home. Again and again. When you travel, many places feel like home. Because of the family you made, the memories that fill your mind with sweet butterflies, the times you shared on the land. Merritt, as dry as it is, holds a place in my heart. Wild roses and sage brushes form the landscape. The best sunsets I have ever witnessed throw pink golden spotlights on the sandy mountains. Gravel roads and prickly thorns, a fast flowing river to wash away the day.
A festival had to be built. Tying thousands of ribbons to catch strong winds, a main stage with a space ship, a cantina for Sunday soul sessions, decorations and installations for extended forest frolicking. Bass Coast, I missed you. Your quirkiness, craziness, you absolute beauty of a festival. Run by women, it's all in the details. Like a big open air living room that welcomes people to connect, dance, swim, chill, run around naked, a house with doors wide open.
Nothing beats thousands of awesome people coming together to play. Nothing is serious. Mornings are for skinny dips, baileys coffee and mushroom honey. Burlesque workshops and the famous twerkshop gather a floor filled to the brim with booty shakers. Most of the weekend, I was dancing and laughing so much, I forgot there was gravity to be maintained. Babe Coast made me fall in love about 135 times a day. People looking so handsome there was almost something indecent about it.
A wacky group of eccentrics, drinking their whiskies and swallowing their pills. Dance floor moves kicked up the dust, throwing energy balls around, losing all track of time until the morning comes. The sun rises over zombie faces, still dancing, can't stop won't stop. I am one of them, drowning in my big fake fur coat. But the bass keeps me up, and the dancing is only really done when the music is turned off. We linger, hiding ourselves behind sunglasses, giving last hugs goodbye.
It felt like the festival happened in five minutes, too fast too soon. So I stayed. The river massaged my sore bones, dust and sweat washed away. Others sticked around too, so we gathered under the stars for jam sessions and late night talks. Letting it all sink in. So much joy, music, dancing. So many new friends. I left Merritt with a family I can always come home to.
Happy festival summer!