Let’s define the word Festivillian. It has been used as a descriptive word by festival musicians, artists, promoters, organizers, and enthusiasts for many years. It refers to people that truly have a passion for going to or are participating in art, music, and renaissance festivals in particular. Often throughout history words have been used in a societal or urban fashion over a period of time before they become mainstream and defined as a dictionary term. Such is the case with Festivillian.
The first mention of a music festival comes from the Pythian Games in ancient Greece starting around 582 BC. At that time in history the administration of the Games was handed over to the Delphic Amphiktyonia, a council of the twelve Greek tribes, in order to end the Holy War in the past. The games often included musical performances. This might be the earliest historical mention of a Music Festival.
Initially the words Feast and Festival were interchangeable and utilized to honor Gods. Through the ages each term has found it’s own meaning in our society, however both denote a celebration.
Music Festivals tend to be annual, although many are organized as a one time event. There are those that are for profit and purely entertainment, and those that are designed to do more than entertain. There has been a recent surge over the last several decades in the correlation between certain Music Festivals and environmental awareness. Many festivals today have a Green theme on some level. Some of them, for example the Shakori Hills Music Festival, build a sustainable village, and offer classes and workshops for sustainable living. The Green Apple Festival of 2008, held on Earth Day, was the first of it’s kind coordinating many major U.S. cities in offering Music Festivals and Green living fairs in unison across the nation and even saw international participation.
Another interesting Music Festival is the educative and supportive type. Some communities offer free, or nearly free, Music Festivals for the purpose of offering young musicians an audience and the opportunity to play music with and learn from their more experienced and established peers. One outstanding example of this is the Alaska Folk Festival held in Juneau. Spring of 2008 was their 34th annual festival!
There is something special that we feel in a festival environment. It feels like there is a touch of magic in the air. There is a spirit of friendship, freedom, peace, and comradery that is present among most Festivillians, setting them apart and creating the atmosphere of a summer camp. Even casual festival goers or patrons seem to pick up on it. Eye contact with “strangers” is easier, people smile at one another and strike conversations instantly. Something about a festival seems to bring down our barriers and raise the spirit of community. Perhaps a Festivillian is best defined as a person that thrives on this type of environment.
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