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Welcome to Michigan, Dumbass.*


I love/hate Michigan. Not the state. The music festival. The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Some call it MWMF. Some call it “Fest.” Some call it Home. Some call it The Land. I like that last one. It sounds mystical. Sort of cheesy and profound at the same time. Also, if you pause before you say it and deepen your voice a little, you can freak people out. “Sorry, my sister, I cannot go to the co-op with you this weekend. I am going to…THE LAND.” See? Hours of fun.

Anyway, Michigan (the festival) is a wacky mix of everything. It’s part outdoor music festival, part outdoor slumber party, part freak show, part spiritual gathering place. At Michigan there is an abundance of everything. Women, wimmin, wombyns. Hairstyles, piercings, tattoos. Old women, young women, children. Politics, partying, sex. Porta-Janes. Dirt. And, most importantly, music. There is a love of music and live performance. Thank the Goddess for that last one, by the way. Without the common love of music it might just be a gathering place where we all come to piss each other off once a year in the name of solidarity.

Things I Loved About Michigan This Year:

– The company! Thanks Collene, Courtney, Meg, Betsy, Jen, Carol, Aerin, Andrea, Erin, and Vanessa!
– The music – 30th Anniversary year really delivered some great shows – Holly Near, the Indigo Girls, Cris Williamson, The Butchies…awesome. Oh! And Sara Lee!!!
– The weather (finally – a year when we’re not baking or freezing!)
– Bagel dogs. No, seriously. Bagel dogs are tasty, reasonably priced, and less likely to result in quality Porta-Jane*** time than the 40-bean salad served on Friday….
– The endless parade of fascinating people and things to watch. Naked people covered in body paint? Check. Woman with breasts down to her knees? Check. Loincloth store? Check. Amy Ray dancing awkwardly to the Butchies? Check. Emily Saliers doing a duet with Ferron? Check. Naked women covered in chocolate running down the lane? Check. Clown named “Sleam” with dreadlocks? Check. Ah, Michigan. You never fail me.
– Having people with whom to share the above listed sights…via wordless glances over the sunglasses.
– The sense of history (herstory?) created by 30 years of women joining together to build great music and a powerful community.
– 6,523 wombyns on The Land this year. 30 years and stronger than ever!

What I Didn’t Love So Much About Michigan This Year:

– Mean people! The rumor is true – they do suck! Everywhere you go on The Land there’s someone there eager to assume the worst about you and yell at you. Parking your car? Five people will tell you you’re doing it wrong. Buying a snack at the store? Expect to get yelled at for not moving fast enough, moving too fast, not knowing where the napkins are, waiting in line the wrong way. Waiting for the shuttle? Someone else will assume you’re trying to jump in front of them in line and yell at you. When you haven’t moved an inch. I don’t get yelled at all year as much as I do in 2 days on The Land. What’s up with that?
– Being firebombed. Ok. Not really fire-bombed. More like whoever was running the fireworks show was way too close to the crowd and aimed way too low. It’s hard to enjoy fireworks when you’re too afraid to look up in case you get a piece of burning ash in your eye. I don’t think I’ve ever been hit by falling fireworks before. Not fun.

Still, Michigan this year was, as it is every year, magical, crazy, dirty, educational, eye-opening, tiring, fantastic, memorable, uncomfortable, long, unbelievable, way too short, and unique.

See pictures from this year’s trip to The Land here.

* After being bossed and snapped at for the gazillionth time by festival workers and fellow-festgoers alike, we decided that apparently the salutation that should be appended to nearly all statements on The Land should be “dumbass.” As in “Hey! Don’t touch those coffee cup lids, dumbass! That unmarked pile of lids next to the coffee station is for the differently-abled wimmin. Not you! You get your lids over by the Porta-Janes. No, we don’t have a sign that says that. Dumbass.”

** Hey! This was our third year on The Land. Click here to see photos from Year One and Year Two.

*** How many times can I say “Porta-Jane?!!”

{ 3 } Comments

  1. spike | August 15, 2005 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    ok… details on the aray dancing akwardly to the butchies, pleeeeease.

    can’t wait to see y’all in chicago next month!

  2. kare bear | August 15, 2005 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Welcome home friends!
    Sounds like you guys had fun.
    You can reach me here…
    …at my time-share…
    http://www.bettyfordcenter.org/

  3. M | August 15, 2005 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Aray dancing – not a full on mosh or jump (as performed by Elizabeth Ziff of Betty, but more of a strange bouncy-swaying. Cute!

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