When I got home Saturday night from the Meadows Music Festival in Fergus, I reeked of beer, vodka coolers, pop and whatever substances floated through the air, though I did not actually consume any of it.
No, seriously. True story.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone go to a rock concert and not crack a cold one? Two reasons: first, I’m one of those people who embodies the whole “high on life” motto. If I’m in the right crowd, with the right people and great live music, I don’t need substances to lose my inhibitions and embarrass myself or those around me. It comes naturally.
Secondly, my job that night was to clean up the recycling cans as part of the volunteer clean-up crew. Why? Because saying no to the Carpenter has never been my strong suit (and the best things happen when I say yes, giggle).
He signed up to volunteer for this event because he’s performed a similar role for years at our favourite music festival, Riverfest Elora. He likes to see how things are run behind the scenes and be a part of building something that supports the greater community (construction pun intended). He’s happiest in the background.
The Carpenter signed up for Friday night only, which made me laugh, because he doesn’t like country music (I do). When he got home, exhausted, he had to admit that the music was great, the crowd was fun, but that the mess left behind was overwhelming. There weren’t enough volunteer hands on-deck and he’d been asked to help again Saturday night. Of course, he said yes. He’s a good guy.
You know what happened next, right? Those big brown eyes get me every time. I knew the Carpenter would be working hard, overachieving to the point of exhaustion, as he does, and I couldn’t not help him. We’re a team in all things, so what’s a Saturday night picking up beer cans, in the grand scheme of things, when it gets you brownie points with your spouse?
It was also about hometown pride. The Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex has been central to our family life. Hockey, lacrosse, rugby and festivals and events have been enjoyed here. Last year, the Carpenter and I got to be a part of the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games on this site. Maybe it sounds corny, but there’s a sense of pride in making sure it’s taken care of, because, in a way, it’s ours, too.
It’s also about community. We all know small businesses took a hit during the last few years, so we need to get behind bringing festivals and events to town that support the local economy. The restaurants and shops that survived the impossible deserve to thrive in what we can make possible. Whether you volunteer, buy tickets or invite friends to town, we can all do our part.
Armed with garbage bags, the Carpenter and I waded through the crowd gathering strewn beer cans, clearing tables and making friends along the way. The concert-goers were fun. They appreciated our efforts to keep the site clean and we got thank-yous from many people.
I’m sure the organizers will have plenty of feedback on the not-so-great aspects of the event, so I’ll focus on the good: the majority of people were there to support a new festival, for all the right reasons.
They love where we live, too.