A few weeks ago, me and two friends decided to go to a music festival I have heard a lot about but never have been to: Arts Wells. Wells is a very small town in the Cariboo about an hour and a bit east of Quesnel, BC. It is very close to Barkerville (BC's historic ghost town). The area used to be very busy and booming early last century when the gold rush was on. Now it is a tourist town in the summer for the famous Bowron Lake canoe chain, Barkerville, and a ton of outdoors stuff in the area. In the winter it is great for back country skiing, snowmobiling and whatever else people do with a lot of snow and mountains in the middle of nowhere.
|The town of Wells|
Arts Wells is a music festival put on once a year. There are about 10 venues throughout the town of Wells that would run every day the four days from morning until late at night. There were also a ton of workshops to participate in from Yoga, clowning, music playing and poetry writing. The festival went on from Thursday night through until Monday, and there were I believe, almost 200 different performances.
|Street performance going on in Wells|
It cost a lot of money (for a cheapskate) to go to this festival and camp there, so me, Andrew and Jeff decided to volunteer there. The festival assigned all three of us as security at the main hall every night from 10pm until 2am. At first we were disappointed about this because it would mean we would have to be able to walk all night, but then being the excited, aggressive person I am, I was thrilled by the fact that we would, for the first time ever get to be bouncers :D
Me and Andrew drove out together to Wells from Prince George. Jeff was already in Wells for something earlier in the week. I had been to Wells last winter for skiing, and I knew of a “shortcut” to get there, down some side road. We ended up taking the wrong turn, and went down a logging road. Andrew, being the crazy guy that he is decided not to turn around and instead continued down this logging road (that we didn't know where it went) to attempt to get to Wells. I must say the logging road was pretty awesome, as we saw (and chased) a ton of grouse through the bush, and there was tons of mountains and creeks the whole way. I was getting pretty annoyed after about two hours when we were still driving and had no idea where we were. I made Andrew stop the car when we came upon these two trailers, and a car parked out front in the middle of no where. Andrew didn't want me to get out, as he was afraid that I would either get murdered or married if I went up to the trailer out in the middle of the woods where the" hillbillies" live. Regardless, I was single and not afraid of death, and more important to me was not running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, potentially hours from civilization.
Right when I got out of the truck, one guy from each trailer came out and greeted me, one with a drink in his hand, and judging by the way he walked it was not his first of that hour. The two guys had a land claim in the area and were gold prospectors. They showed me their mining machines, and they were working the land in that area looking for gold. They told me they stopped showering weeks ago because its the only way the mosquitoes would stop biting them. They would come up to the area every year to prospect and take gold out of the land. This is something that I have considered doing, as if you don't trade your gold for cash its tax free profit, and as the price of gold rises, your profits go up. Not to mention it would be a lot of fun going exploring the bush and trying to strike it rich! Anyways me and Andrew ended up talking with them for about an hour (they hadn't seen anyone else in days), at which point one of the guys split his fourth coke and rum of the hour on my shoe, so I thought it would be a good time to leave. Wells, they said was only a few more kilmeters down the road, which I was stoke about, and Andrew still rubs it in my face, as he seemed to think he knew how to get there all along.
The first day at Wells I'll admit I was pretty scared. The reason being as the people there, are not the kind of people you run into all the time in the city. I don't like the term “Hippie”, but lets just say there were a lot of free spirits around. I would like to say I am a free spirit to, but I am just not used to having other free spirits around me all the time, and I didn't really know what to do. Me and Andrew decided that we would go hide in are tents until are first security shift started, so that's what we did. Mainly because we were scared, but also because I was really tired from the epic journey getting to Wells and experiencing everything, so I passed out for four hours.
|Andrew on Bouncer Duty|
The first night of security went well and we ended up meeting some pretty cool, inspiring people. The next morning it was boiling hot in are tents, so we decided to go for a swim/ wash in the creek up from the camp sight. When we got there, there was more than a few people skinny dipping, with the same idea as us. At that point I decided this place might not be so bad after all, and me and Andrew freely did cannon balls into the water and joined ;)
|The creek near the campsite|
For the next two days we spent the afternoons and evenings checking out different workshops and shows. My favorite workshop was the clowning one, because I fit right in! My favorite show was on the outdoor stage by Fred Penner (A famous children's artist), because it brought back good memories and also because we had a good game of Frisbee going on at the same time. The last two security shifts were a lot of fun, as me and Andrew were the door guys, and we kept it under control with a lot of high fives, dancing people through the door, and cheering excessively when artists would walk through (which was every five minutes). We also looked after Anarchy (a dog) who a man would leave at the door for hours as he went into the hall to party. We couldn't let Anarchy in because he had had to much to drink, but he was good company to help keep the building safe from terrorists! Multiple people said we were the best security guards ever, and I would like to think that is true as I believe there were no stabbings, fights, and no one passed out in or around the building. Also the best party at the concert was definitely at the door! The only thing I am sad about is that we didn't have to save anyone from fights, and the tag team pile drive that me Andrew and Jeff practiced for hours didn't get to happen.
|George Burner performing|
We left the festival Monday morning to get back to work feeling so happy, refreshed and stoked on life. It was by far the best festival I have been to, because of the chill atmosphere, creative and inspirational people we met, the beauty of the place, and all the good shows and cool workshops going on. If you are into enjoying life and being creative (which everyone is meant to be) I would suggest go at some point in your life to this festival or one like it!