August 16th – 18th, 2024

Last year, at Summerfolk 42, our Sharing Circle coordinator, Robert Menzies conceived his most ambitious democratic poem yet. We will present it over the next three weeks, in three parts.

A note from Robert Menzies, editor, co-author, and Crew Chief of The Sharing Circle and Sharing Wall: 
What a pleasurable challenge it was to take the ideas of the 46 people who took the opportunity to add something to the Sharing Wall at Summerfolk, 2017.
People were invited to jot down some reflections about Summerfolk, in general, or specifically, about the Summerfolk experience, either this year’s or Summerfolks past and present, in 40 words or less. Assuming the average contribution was, say, around 20 words, then that made for 920 words of contribution! What I came up with is a piece that is 835 words … not counting the title. That’s a lot of words, but I hope you enjoy it. I hope it brings back some of the good feelings you had at Summerfolk #42.”


Part 1

An Ode to Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival #42, in the year 2017


Summerfolk is at the core:
It’s underneath our surface,
deep down,
where only the fondest, fertile
remembrances, dreams, and wishes dwell.
It’s the roots of a spirit tree,
mystically entwined
into our collective,
musical soul.
In annual August air its branches propagate anew,
to sway
in the sun,
the rain,
the breeze,
or the wind…
Whatever comes its way.
Renewed love.
Renewed hope.

It blossoms for three days, and this year, one extra, bonus night.
Old favourites and fresh discoveries, bursting forth,
up through its roots,
and out through its branches:
A rich tradition that is, for many,
the framework for memory nests of summers past,
and the seeds of summers ahead…
An ever spreading expanse,
a tapestry woven from a single thread.
This tree bears fruit that nourishes our soul:
It feeds not our stomach, but our eyes and ears –
(although it does have vendors of delicious food to quench those appetites, too) –
We marvel at its craft.
We dance with its music.
And at a primal, gut level,
We feel our heart replenished.
It’s the magical, medicinal Vitamin “M” of music
to live happily,
to lift spirits.

If we close our eyes
we become the air that vibrates with melodious voice,
permeating our toes to the ends of our hair.
In the background, Kelso’s chorus: (page 2 of Ode to Summerfolk 42)
the lap of shoreline water at its edge,
the happy cries of high flying gulls overhead;
and we are golden in that Summerfolk shine
that embellishes our own curious natures
and our love of song.
“Love” is the answer to every question,
and if the question is, “Why Summerfolk?”
THAT is the answer.

Each day’s first musical chords are like a good morning cup of coffee.

It sets in motion the rhythm of life …

A living, breathing haiku poem:

The rhythm of life

Is much enhanced by music

Hearing and playing.

To us the music sings

Reminding it’s one of life’s greatest things.

And music can be a weapon

to use against the foils of a sometimes too material

and troubled


But above all, a tool of mass construction

uniting voices to rise

and roll

in sweet song

like waves


some sandy shore

nurturing spirits

and setting them free.

And often, here at Kelso Beach,

entire crowds are up and on their feet,

dancing and cheering to the Summerfolk beat.










Love is at the centre of each sharing circle, jam, and band,

knitting a community united by a common thread…

a warm hug of people coming together…                                     (page 3 of Ode To Summerfolk 42)

an instant neighbourhood

where one can “walk” in peace and joy together

and share an inner a cappella harmony

that is among the best humanity has to offer.

And we are lifted up,

and we lift each other up.

In a world which too often could use a lot more love,

at Summerfolk we find that love.

Its roots are here

for people of all ages in its congregation… its accumulation;

And many have made new friends,

and some have even first-time-met their spouses here.

With each festival’s echoes, that’s what you often hear.

And there’s always lots of children,

every year…

sons, daughters, and grandchildren

welcomed in

absorbing the rich tradition

to carry into the future

singing and dancing

to the rhythm of eternal vibration.

The wheel is unbroken, the path ahead open and clear.

Old souls and new beginnings.

Smiling faces.



Guitars, fiddles, drums … you name it:

A whole array of instruments of joy from home and around the world,

accompanying a range of passionate voice

gather round us, the human race,

to sing their thoughts,

to play their feelings,

Answering any raindrops, metaphorical or real,  that might fall upon the bay…

And what would Summerfolk be without at least a little splash of rain?

Besides, there are ample tents.

(And even though it’s a corny pun, one might say,

…. as, actually, one did say on The Sharing Wall,

“The rain makes the music more intents!”)

And, as someone else said, “Rain at Summerfolk – you just learn to live with it.”

Every true folkie that’s ever been can certainly get behind that.


This was festival 42,

and what we know is it will take at least a good week,

or more,

to process it all.                                                            (page 4 of Ode to Summerfolk 42)

Whether you’ve been to all, many, or this was just your first,

you’ll look fondly back and expectantly ahead

to number 43…

and many more to come.

The heat of the glow….

the cool of the flow;


It’s soul shine bottled into our replenished DNA,

so nourishing that we ask ourselves at each one’s final bow,

“How do we keep this spirit tone all year round?”

And if your birthday falls on one its magical days,

as it does for some lucky few,

well then, it’s the best birthday party ever!

But in any event, we all leave with at least this one happy thought,

“Hope I see you again, next year!”

The Contributers:
Anderson, Kristan/ Anon. 1 and 2 / Austin, Jim / Bates, Gerry Gordon / Beaulieu, Dan /
Bennett, Eleanor Jean Web (age 6) / Campbell, Dylan / Chloe, A. H. / Curtis (age 8) /
Dean, Mike (age 72) / Erle the Perle / Farmer, Jon / Geberdt-Noade, Carrie /
Gerringer, Esther / Gilas, Bruno / Grace, Nadene / Hall, Jordan / Hastie, Cliff /
Katz, Shawna / Legree, Michelle / LeMoine, Sage / Leven-Marcou, Andrea / Moore, Reg /
McKenzie, Crystal / Menzies, James / Menzies, Caroline / Mundy, Liana /
Nathaniel (last name ?) / Nolan (age 5) / Pellerin, Jess / Phillips, David / Schiller, Pat /
Scott (last name???) / Smith, Cody / Thomas, Marguerite Oberle / Thorne, Becky /
Top, Aaron / Turner, Lynne / VanDyk, Jodi Birch / VanDyk, Laura / Van Wyk, Paul /
Whittam, Janet / Wilson, Richard / Woods, Dean / Writenow Sarah .

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