By Lynda Shadbolt

I have a yoga teacher who ends his classes by saying “keep practicing and keep evolving.” He reminds us that we are always becoming. There are always new possibilities. We are not fixed and rigid but rather are always learning growing expanding and changing. Nothing stays the same. This article comes from the heart of Mariposa Folk Festival which is in its 59th year. The festival began in Orillia moved to Toronto Barrie and finally returned home to Orillia 19 years ago. It is a festival that has evolved and is evolving in so many ways.

Environmentally Mariposa has evolved to be a water bottle free event. A hydration station provides access to free water and participants just have to bring their own water bottle. With more than 8000 participants that is a lot of plastic water bottles being eliminated each year. All of the food at the festival is served on compostable plates and all the thousands of beer cups are compostable as well. All events should be evolving this way.

I first attended Mariposa 19 years ago and I have watched the music evolve as well. Last night one of the performers said “folk festivals are all kinds of music for folk.” I love the huge range of music that is available to choose from. I first saw the Julian Taylor Band in Haliburton at our Legion last winter. A sold out crowd danced the night away. Julian Taylor is at this festival and there is nothing like thousands of people dancing together to give a person hope for the planet. Positive messages in the songs great musical talent and happy people on a summer day is a great combination.

I’ve made several new musical discoveries this year and one of them is “My Son the Hurricane.” Sue Shikaze and Thom Lambert told me about them a few years ago and they did not exaggerate the talent. This ensemble which at this event was 12 people mixes New Orleans music with funk jazz and hip hop. Band members play trombones trumpets saxes and sousaphone and they are so much fun. The audience couldn’t sit still. Other performers who I’ve seen in Haliburton (courtesy of the Haliburton County Folk Society) like Dave Gunning Lynn Miles Anne Lindsay Steve Poltz are here as well.

I’ve listened to Danny Michel’s music for a few years and he got on the stage and sang a song that he wrote called “Born to be Wild” which he wrote for the brave kids of the #neveragain #marchforourlives movement. Danny will be performing out our Hike Haliburton this fall and it will awesome. I’ve been in tears a couple of times at this festival moved by beautiful music and a beautiful presence on the stage. Martin Sexton blends soul gospel country rock blues and R&B. I had never heard of him until he got up on the stage and I’m ending this article now because I want to get to the Sunday morning workshop “Waking up Grateful for Each New Day.”

Martin and other will perform. Music keeps me evolving and learning and being inspired.