When we saw Mwenso and the Shakes featuring Brianna Thomas there was a couple dressed in 1940’s garb swing dancing their hearts out, and I thought I really wish I knew how to dance. Thoughts of horrid, hyper self-conscious line dancing in middle and high school gym class came forth- sweaty palms, limited eye contact, and my inability to pass over control to my awkward dance partner. I never, ever have been a decent dance partner for this reason- I cannot let somebody just put their hand on my waist and anticipate their moves.
While I was bemoaning a certain lack in a specific skill set, we watched this incredible group of musicians make exquisite sounds. The Folk Festival is all about several things- running into people on the steep Butte streets, eating at the food stands, catching whisps of different sounds on the air as they travel from the multiple stages, and learning more about the world we live in. The fact that we get to do this in Butte, Montana, is awesome, and somewhat random. If you were to tell me that musicians and artists from all over the world in the 2000’s were going to gather in a former mining town as famous for its copper as it was for its red light district and fill it up with global sounds I would have said you were crazy.
Yet, knowing Butte, it makes sense. Butte reveled in its immigrants- Serbs, Croations, Chinese, Irish, Germans, Russians and Poles all made their lives here. The very foundations of Butte are steeped in multi-faceted cultural exchanges, and the Montana Folk Festival is all about continuing this tradition. What a good weekend! I have multiple rolls of film coming, and I cannot wait to put them up.