Aug 142015
 

WHEN 6,609 WOMEN MET AT MICHFEST, August, 2015

Note: All images are from the Michfest Webpage.

images-1 Paula here.

I have just spent a week at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, fondly known as Michfest. I am recovering!!   I am recovering from the energy of women working together, laughing together and singing together.  I want it to never end!  I want more of it!

Natural Surroundings

images-2The set up is on a large acreage surrounded by trees and flowers. An all woman crew arrives ahead of the festival. They build scaffolds and stages and set up lighting and sound equipment. Tents are erected for various activities: food areas, craft booths, massage tables and areas for DART (people of varying physical abilities). It is a mini city that caters to the needs and enthusiasm of women who have travelled from overseas or driven incredible distances.

Getting To Events and Entertainmentimages-3

DART buses accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and women who need to be accompanied by others. They wind through forested areas where able-bodied women walk. One of the fun ways of reaching an event is to climb on to the tractor pulled wagons. Everyone makes room for their sisters and the rides are filled with laughter and conversations.   The buses and tractors pass RV areas and tents located in between the trees. Signs and flags indicate where the dwellers call home: Texas, Alaska, Missouri, Canada, EU countries and South and Central America. One thing is quite noticeable – women carry fold up chairs.

Embracing our Womynhoodimages-8

We are born into what is basically a world ruled by men. Many are good men: they are our fathers, brothers and other family members. They maybe our good boss or men who strive to make this world a better place. However, there are negative male influences that cost human lives: war, corruption, rape and domestic violence.

In many cultures, the men eat first, then the male children and what is left over goes to the mother (who gives it to her female daughters). You don’t have to be a genius to recognize that in many countries, women are still the property of men. Boys will receive an education before girls. Women still walk behind their husbands in public places. Women in Saudi Arabia are still waiting to drive and to vote.

labrysClaiming our Amazon Spirit

When I was a teenager, there were few books on lesbians. There were few books on the accomplishment of women. Things are changing. We have to thank the surrogates that chained themselves to fences in order to vote. We need to thank the feminists who asked for pay equality and an end to workplace discrimination.

We need to thank the female;e academics who fought to teach “Women’s Courses.”

Ellen Degeneres, Melissa, kd Lang, Rosie and others gave faces to lesbian talent.

I really enjoyed a workshop on Scandinavian goddesses and warriors. What surprised many of us was the fact that archeologists have discovered women skeletons with weapons. These Viking warriors fought alongside men.

One song that was popular had the lines: “Amazon Women Gonna Rise Again.”

We do not seek dominance over men; we seek equality and the recognition that we have female gifts to offer the world.

Amazing Co-operation and Loving
Unknown-6images-5

For one week, we womyn lived in a world of loving co-operation. Womyn helped one another as sisters. We were different in our diversity but there was a common thread: love and respect the sisters around you. Lisa Vogel is one of the founders of Michfest. She was 19 years of age when she had a vision. With the support and love of a sister and friend, Lisa conceived of a place where lesbians and straight women could live on ‘THE LAND.” Children have come with their mothers for the past forty years. Boys under 10 years are facilitated in a camp called “Brother Sun.” Girls do not have an age restriction.

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Michfest has now closed its doors, but the thousands of women who have lived on “The Land” have left enriched and fortified. It has been an incredible experience for me.   I watched as womyn guided traffic, drove tractors and buses, organized meals and gave workshops.   I gasped as womyn climbed high scaffolding to work the lights. My heart was full as I watched the joy on the faces of my sisters. We cheered as newcomers arrived on tractors with their camping gear.   We volunteered for two four-hour duties: chopping vegetables and tofu, welcoming arrivals, collecting garbage/rubbish, looking after young children.   We did it heart-to-heart and shoulder-to-shoulder.

I’ll leave you with the words of Helen Reddy:   “I am Woman.”

with love and sisterhood,

paula.

I Am Woman Lyrics

“I Am Woman” was written by Burton, Ray / Reddy, Helen.

I am woman, hear me roar

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an’ pretend

‘Cause I’ve heard it all before

And I’ve been down there on the floor

No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong

(Strong)

I am invincible

(Invincible)

I am woman

You can bend but never break me

‘Cause it only serves to make me

More determined to achieve my final goal

And I come back even stronger

Not a novice any longer

‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh yes, I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong

(Strong)

I am invincible

(Invincible)

I am woman

I am woman watch me grow

See me standing toe to toe

As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land

But I’m still an embryo

With a long, long way to go

Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes, I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain

Yes, I’ve paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can face anything

I am strong

(Strong)

I am invincible

(Invincible)

I am woman

I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

I am woman

Songwriters

BURTON, RAY / REDDY, HELEN

Published by

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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