Tag Archives: shopping

Folk Music Festival – Discovering My People

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Folk Music Festival – Discovering My People

Have you ever been to a folk music festival? Oh you haven’t?? Well, let me tell you about a place you should go to pop your cherry in the folk music festival world. Quiet Valley Ranch is nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country circled by thick crops of Oak and Cedar trees that build a grove around this hippie play ground. Since 1972, Quiet Valley Ranch in Kerrville, TX has been the treasured location of the Kerrville Folk Music Festival that runs for 18 consecutive days on the ranch. Folksy folks from all over camp out for the festival on the ranch’s camp grounds. They set up camp, sell their wares and listen to soul-soothing music and enjoy life together in an atmosphere centered on natural living and community. As sad as it is to admit, I did not know this gem existed practically in my backyard until this year. I was sitting at my desk clacking away at the keys on my keyboard and making business-related phone calls when a woman in the office sparks up a conversation about the festival. My ears always tuned to pick up random information, I heard her explaining that she had been going for years (she’s much older than me) to hear her favorite folk artists sing, and how each time is a great experience.

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I was interested. I had never been to a folk music festival before and knew that I had to change that sad fact about my life. Sooo, I got a ticket from work. I scored a free ticket which is rad, but mind you, the festival is not free to attend. The Texas Folk Music Foundation that hosts the festival at the ranch is nonprofit, so what you pay for the ticket goes to maintaining the camp which is used to educate kids during the summer about music and the arts or host festivals and other special events. The ticket is definitely worth it. I was able to get two and so I brought a friend with me to experience this new adventure. Music is played throughout each day, but we did not arrive till after eight. It was a small trek to the main camp and along the road beyond the fence, we saw tents packed like sardines all the way from the very back of the property line.

When we brought our tickets up to the VIP counter which was just a lean-to with a tin roof and two hippies collecting tickets as they sit on a beat up couch in front of a folding table confirming names on an ancient laptop, we saw people milling about all over the property. We had not walked to the main gathering about the stage and shopping cabins yet, but there was plenty to see. The grove swam with tie-dyed life and dreadlocks and the tickling of ankle charms. Somehow, we had found ourselves plopped into a world designed for us – especially for me. I swear, if I had known about Quiet Valley Ranch awhile back, I would have been going each year. I felt like I had found my lost people as we hiked up a sloping trail to the main gathering. The center stage was semi-circled by benches littered with people listening to folk artist perform. Beyond these benches is a nice patch of grace where I saw a group of guys and a couple gals playing hacky sac. Throngs of children would run past chasing bubbles. Individuals were dancing to the rhythm of the bluegrass and sultry voice of a poet humming lyrics about a dying Native American warrior.

Beyond this patch of free-spirited grassland, a half circle of vendor from the Texas Hill Country were selling their goods. We wandered from booth to booth checking out organic soaps and lotions and healing herbs. Another vendor was selling his surreal, southwestern art, and many others were selling dream catchers and healing crystals or tie-dyed clothing mingled with peasant skirts and blouses or hand-crafted leather sandals. crafts_village_cropped

I had three favorite vendors while I was there. A lot of people selling items are trying to make a living from what they make with their hands so their prices are rather high which I can understand, but when I stumbled upon a little old man who was selling crystal and stone necklaces for five bucks each, I had to buy one. A gorgeous green stone with golden and silver metal wire weave over it to resemble lightening caught my eye. I grabbed for it immediately while my friend started up a conversation with the vendor. He had been selling his five dollar necklaces since nearly the beginning of the Quiet Valley Ranch camp opened up to the festivals. He explained that in the late 70s and early 80s, hippie folk would show up to his booth and close their eyes as they slowly ran a hand beneath the hanging gems. Whichever of the gems they felt drawn to, they chose. I did that exactly, of course. I closed my eyes and slowly ran my hands beneath the array of colored or colorless stones and grasped for the one that I felt drawn towards. To my delight, it was still the heavy green stone with lightening wire across its belly. The old man explained to me that the gem was a traveling stone meant to protect those headed someplace new. Five bucks lighter in my pocket, I walked on to the next vendor with a smile on my face.

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The next vendor I fell in love with was a woman who produced clay art. She would mold the tiniest strips of colored clays into a scene and fire them till baked and solid. I bought two magnets from her with a scene depicting a male mermaid and a violin, guitar, flute and a dragonfly. Finally, I stumbled upon a vendor who does pottery work and she had a wide selection of handmade coffee mugs. If I had had more cash, I would have gotten one of her ten dollar mugs. One in particular had a series of scorpions on it that shifted in texture from smooth to rough. I loved it.

So if you have not been to a hippie festival centered around the good vibes of folk music, your first trip needs to be to Quiet Valley Ranch in the early summer. Go full out by camping for a week or weekend and truly absorbing the atmosphere or step into the water gingerly by going for the evening to relax with good music, shopping and vibes. Either way, you will not regret the experience. I will be going back next year and the following until I can’t stand it anymore which will probably be never!

Kerrville Folk Festival website –> http://www.kerrville-music.com/

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Hippietastic! How to Look the Part

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Hippietastic! How to Look the Part

Does a hippie really have to “look” the part when it comes to being…well, a hippie? I would say no, but it typically ends up being a fact that we do. Either you are born into a hippie home where your mother or father gave you your first hand-me-down bell-bottoms and led you into a world of social and political activism OR you are someone like me who developed the perspectives and ideals of “hippie” on your own because you felt that you were either born in the wrong era, agree with the social ideals of the lifestyle or just enjoy an excuse for your use of recreationals….Whatever the deal, those of us in the final category were often not blessed enough to have inherited the cool wardrobe genes. They developed slowly. If you happen to be in a transitional phase for your wardrobe (tired of over-used camo :/ and black) and want to overload your closet with colorful duds and retro headbands, you will have to go shopping. You do not have to “look” like a hippie to be a hippie because being a hippie is more than just a colorful set of tie-dyed tanks tops and beads in your dreadlocks, but it’s fun to have a funky outfit to emphasize who you are. We are visual creatures, are we not?

I recommend starting with thrift stores. If you are an avid bargain hunter like myself then thrift shopping is for you. Austin is overstocked when it comes to the thrift and vintage department. In stores like Room Service Vintage, you can find clothes, furniture, records and all sorts funky art. I even came across a vintage typewriter that had me drooling…Almost literally (pun intended). 4 And if you are one of those modern hippies with lots of dough to spend on your wardrobe (might want to look into the hippie perspective on capitalism…just…yea, do it) and a snooty attitude to boot, you can check out downtown Austin. 2nd street is booming with retro shops but you have to be willing to fork out the money, just saying. San Antonio is another awesome place to get bargain deals. Downtown should be avoided if you do not have the immediate cash, but if you are in love with cultural wear, you will have to check the open markets in Old Town and near the bars in the historical district. Bless Your Heart Gift shop in Bracken Village just outside of San Antonio has tons of great stuff too! Headbands for 8 bucks and whatnot. Oh my gosh…and don’t forget to stop by Uptown Gypsy in The Alley on Bitters…She carries awesome Dashiki tops ❤

Taking time to build a wish-list online is another great way to build your wardrobe gradual when money is tight (which is typically is if you are committed to the lifestyle lol) My FAV online shop is www.hippieshope.com Not only do they have crazy reasonable prices, but for every product they sell, they work with the World Food Program to provide a meal for someone who is hungry. They even keep track of how many bellies the sales have fed thus far. Check them out!

Here’s some other fun stuff you can buy online at HippiesHope:

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