Wednesday, October 10, 2012

She’s Gone Country: Boots and Hearts Music Festival, Ontario, Canada

I have traveled the world endlessly like a free spirit for years and even though I am in Canada right now I know I will be back on the road less traveled again, hopefully sooner rather than later. The life of a vagabond isn't for everyone and on the Gringa Trail you will meet skeptics all the time. The ones who are on vacation or just a gap year, a break before returning to the real world, the ones who cannot believe this is my real world and I am not running away from anything.

I tell myself this and I believe it. The truth is I may not be running away from anything but I am leaving something behind; a childhood, adolescence and the life I knew from my family and the society that I was brought up with. Many travelers will not want to return after realizing how different the world is and their perception of “the real world” quickly changes. Mine definitely did.

I have mentioned this before in past posting but I grew up in a medium sized city in the country. The number one radio station is Country 105. On country night at the bars beers are flowing and all you see is a sea of plaid and jean. With this type of culture also comes closed minds, little ambition, and in some cases racism. People have simple minds and live simple lives. I was completely happy leaving all that behind. I actually had to ambition returning and absolutely no ambition donning a plaid shirt, jeans and cowboy boots to attend a country music festival.

That was until I was asked to volunteer for World vision at the Boots and Hearts Music Festival in Bowmanville, Ontario. A new country music festival set to bring Nashville to Canada. The organizer of the festival was a guy I grew up with and his best friend also an alumni from my high school is none other than the husband of country singer Carrie Underwood. Although we still are not certain if it was her connections or the gleam from his perfect smile, insanely handsome good looks and down to earth charm that brought the amazing line up together, I am sticking with the latter.

Yes, even still I was reluctant to attend. Did I really want to go back to my roots from whence I left? Did I really want to be surrounded by drunks singing about their tractors? My friend who asked me to volunteer is also an anomaly in her down home country village. Growing up her hippy parents lived off the grid in a solar powered dome house that had no indoor plumbing while the rest of the community was drinking in the legion and driving their pickup trucks; so the good thing was I wasn’t going into this strange world alone.

In the end I agreed to go. Maybe it was the sparkle shining upon me from the organizers pearly whites or perhaps it was because I am used to being a tourist in other countries and figured I should try it out and be a tourist in my country and what do you do when you are in Rome?

Just as you do at Boots and Hearts, I bought a blue plaid shirt, jean shorts and wore my rubber boots. 

   She's gone country, look at them boots
She's gone country, back to her roots
She's gone country, a new kind of suit
                   She's gone country, here she comes (Alan Jackson)

To be continued…


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