Drum & Splash|
Posted: July 13th. 2003
Times Viewed: 5,136
Location: Four Quarters Farm - Artemas, Pennsylvania USA
Event Date(s): July. 2 - July. 6, 2002
If you were looking for a low-impact way to celebrate the July 4th holiday, at Four Quarters was it! Following the amazing Gaian Mind PsyTrance Dance Festival of the weekend before (I attended both), this ninth annual Drum & Splash ran five days from July 2 - 6. Hundreds came out for this alternative holiday weekend, while fifty or more campers stayed for both events. This year Four Quarters offered a combined registration deal, which promises to be increasingly popular in years to come. Several people I spoke to have already marked out these dates for their vacation next year.
Drum & Splash is one of the most popular events at Four Quarters, and this year the drumming was hotter and the presentation more colorful then ever. A diverse group of presenters, performers, and instructors were on board, such as Jaqui McMillian with "Drum for Joy", Zaipo Oula with Traditional African dance, Daveed Korup presenting the Tao te Drum, Kevin and Cindy Ryan's expert Middle Eastern Grooves, Aasa Grayson and Kenyatta with their simply jawdropping power Djembe and Djuns, Marcus Tilman Sims Ta Ke Tina, Alex Wedmedyk's drum crafting, Ken Crampton with "Everybody Drum" (more on Ken later), Dahna Rohanna and the Art of the Middle Eastern Dance, Michael DiMartino with the "Universal Language of Rhythm", Cheri Shanti's discussions of Developing Drum Community and Jason Walker with the Afro-Caribbean Beat.
The many workshops for the festival included a wide variety of drumming styles, sessions on different percussion instruments from giant to tiny, dance techniques, didgeridoos, shaman relationships with the drum, drumming instruction from beginner to advanced, drum building workshops, and much more. In addition there was a complete track of workshops for the kids, sweats, morning yoga, and early evening tai chi sessions in the stone circle. Ever evolving, Four Quarters continues to become pretty sophisticated, now selling both ice and fruit smoothies on site, as well as running a campers trash service for a minimal fee. It was clear that a great deal of work had gone into the camp road system from last year, which included the opening of a new section for car campers and small RVs. The camps buried electrical system was expanded and the Merchants Commons was gently lighted late into the night. A broad variety of vendors were present, and plenty of campers took the opportunity to cool off during the day in several of the swimming holes established along Sideling Creek.
Multiple events took place each night, truly something for everyone. There were high energy kick-a** drum circles in the large 'Upper' drum circle, and down tempo themes in the new creekside "Lower" North Crook Circle where people were sharing traditional native songs of different lands and attuning to nature and the drum in a gentler way. I attended both and liked them equally well. There was also a nightly bardic circle near the stone circle where people could talk, share stories and jokes. The Coffee Dragon was also open as usual with free coffee, tea, and cocoa; and this year with all night lighting. The "Dragon" serves as the local chat area for those wishing to discuss the hot topics of the day, read a paper, or kibitz about their festival experiences. This comes compliments of the Grandstaff family who supply the drinks from their own expenses (donations gladly accepted!) as their own commitment of service to this community.
Friday night's entertainment was a hip-hop poetry reading by artist Gabrielle Casella from the Philly theater company "ArcheDream". This is the same group that performed the black light kabuki style theater at Gaian Mind the week prior (and will be making ceremony at this years Stones Rising). This was followed by a high-energy performance at the Main Fire Circle by Ziapo Oula and his African dance troupe, backed up by Aasa Grayson and Kenyata. The traditional costuming of this dance troupe was truly something to see. And although the dancing and groove was fantastic, the show was stolen by a child of one of the dancers. At every opportunity this young fellow ran into the circle dancing with such joy and abandon that it was infectious. The performance concluded with a group participation dance led by Ziapo, as well as a performance by the camp children who had attended his earlier dance workshop.
Never missing a beat (pardon the pun) Four Quarters moved into a Saturday that was amazing! The Starvin Artist Cafe came through with an all you could eat veggie and omnivore buffet (PIG ROAST TIME!!!) done right onsite in the camps own kitchen. This was some good eatin' with mounds of fruit, fresh vegetables, finger foods and of course slow roasted pork. This is not your usual camp food and more then one person was overheard asking the kitchen crew for their recipes. Fortunately the feast took place in the early afternoon which left enough time for some serious belt-loosening and relaxing in the main 'Commons' of the camp before the evening activities kicked up. At dusk we gathered for a Moon Service in the Stone Circle, whose theme was change and evolution. Four Quarters rituals have gained a deserved reputation for having a serious message, and this was no exception as participants witnessed the process of 'change' move around the elements and bring transformation. This was represented by individuals wrapped in colorful fabric cocoons, which unraveled to reveal butterflies with elaborate movable wings.
Following the ritual the sky over the meadow erupted with a real fireworks show, rivaling that of any small town. And the moment the aerial fireworks in the sky concluded, suddenly more fireworks erupted around the High Meadow and out of nowhere POOF! - an entire parade of dancers and drummers seemed to just 'appear' out of the darkness and came marching straight through camp!! In the front were people spinning fire, led by Shadowdrake himself, Four Quarters ruling Merlin of Artistry in Fire blowing huge fireballs. Next came drummers, then dancers... and then, emerging from the clouds of smoke and fire, a fifty foot long Chinese Dragon hand built by Ken Crampton, who lead the Dragons Dance. There was only one word to describe it, "Awesome!!!!". This dancing Dragon represented the culmination of art, music, and dance; the entire celebration intended to bring the Spirit of the Dragon alive and into the evenings activities. And it did! The dragon wound its way around the Commons surrounded by hundreds of drummers, children and dancers; leading everyone to the main fire circle where the drumming instructors and presenters jammed out, everyone else then joining in. It was quite the finale. Sunday morning most of the camp slept in late, with a few diehard drummers still rockin'on in the Drum Circle. After closing ceremonies that featured a huge four foot high bell throbbing the final pulse through the Grove of the Stone Circle, it was time to go home, with new friends having been made and many promises to meet up again soon.
If you missed this event, make sure to put it on your calendar for next year. Combined with Gaian Mind, you can have a full 10 days of music, rhythm, dance, and groove in a most beautiful place of caring atmosphere, where families and children are always welcome. I will see you there next year!
Web: Four Quarters Farm - www.4qf.org.
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Article ID: 6597
Age Group: Teen
Days Up: 3,628
Times Read: 5,136
Location: , USA
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