The first Wheatland Music Festival occurred in 1975. It is a traditional/folk music festival that runs Friday-Sunday, held on a farm in mid-Michigan. The accommodations are meager: you camp in whatever you choose with no electricity, no toilets other than porta-johns, and the only running water comes out of a pipe with maybe 10 spigots. No campfires allowed. No generators allowed. You share the farm (and 10 spigots) with 20,000 festival-goers. My family attended from 1984-ish (I think) through 1997 every year. After that, we went a couple more times, but we have not been back since 2001 or so. This year, my sister got sick of all the talk of going back and she went ahead and bought tickets, which prompted the rest of us to buy tickets. We go this weekend!
Before we got married, Mark and I promised each other more than just our undying love: he promised to never buy a motorcycle and I promised to never make him go to Wheatland. We took those private vows very seriously, and so, Mark is not going with us. I did try to convince him to give it a try, he told me he does not even like folk music.
“It’s not about the music, it’s about the ambience.”
“What ambience?” he asked, incredulously, “It’s 20,000 hippies on a farm!”
At first, I was just going to take the older boys. This did not sit well with my parents. My mom claimed to be pregnant or have a baby every year that she attended Wheatland. The only years that that was true was 1984, 1985, 1989, and 1990. If you do the math, you can see that this is an exaggeration. When I pointed out to her that she had my dad to help, she claimed that he NEVER helped. But when we watched old home videos, he was holding the baby in every single one. However, once I realized that I would have to find a babysitter Friday afternoon, Friday night, Saturday morning, and Saturday night to accommodate Mark’s work and bowling schedule, I decided to bring the littlest love with me.
I was telling a patient about Wheatland today.
“Is there a place for the kids to swim?”
“Are there farm animals, like a petting farm?”
“Can they ride horses or something?”
“What is there for the kids to do?”
“Well, there’s Kids’ Hill…”
For some reason, I am not able to effectively explain how Wheatland is fun! I looked forward to it every single year as a kid. It was THE highly anticipated event of the fall. My cousins and siblings and I have nothing but good memories of playing on Kids’ Hill, watching our parents square dance, listening to music, and doing the Saturday night “elephant walk” to get elephant ears. Some years it was scorching hot, some years cold, some years rainy, but all the years were enjoyable.
I am not going to lie, I am nervous that my kids will not have as much fun as we did growing up. They are more attached to electronics than we ever were. But they will be with their extended family, and we do not need electricity or running water to have a good time!