Walnut Valley Festival - Winfield
We went to Winfield 2019 together, it was Emily’s first time and our first as a couple. We didn’t bring the boys. We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon. Music starts on Thursday and runs through Sunday but people arrive well before and stay well after these days. As has been mentioned, the group we camp with has been meeting here for decades, something like 40+ years. At times there are four generations represented. Some of us are related, some of us new friends and others old. Some of us get together throughout the year and some we see at the festival and that is all we need. Regardless of the circumstances, we meet here; we have a reunion.
When we arrived on Wednesday we set up our tent home, a large six person Wawona by The North Face. As is customary anyone available in camp offered to help and, whether needed or not, offered their verbal support and recommendations. Once our tent was ready for the weekend, we joined everyone else under the large canopy. No matter how many years you've been to Winfield, there is always a special moment when your tent or camper is up and you are finally able to add your chair to the ever growing circle and are welcomed back home.
Arriving before Thursday’s official start means relaxing at camp and wandering by other campsites. This year there was a small concert on the main stage, Stage 1, in the evening so we went up to hear the music and then back to camp for the evening’s fire and reminiscence.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday all looked fairly similar at a macro-level; we awoke, had coffee and conversation and slowly throughout the day small groups would go off to attend the concerts or activities they had planned. This is how it goes in camp. You may be alone or there may be 30 people around. One of those more crowded moments is our annual camp meal. This year’s meal was a breakfast. We did “make your own burritos” and cooked up the standard assortment of meats, eggs and veggies. Each year during the camp meal we discuss the next years' meal plan.
We have split our group into two “generations” or “gens;” Gen 1 (our parents and similar aged folks) and Gen 2 (the children of Gen 1 etc). Typically we alternate each year with one group making the meal and the other dessert, but for this year's breakfast Gen 1 made the meal and Gen 2 made brunch cocktails which was a very nice change of pace.
Anyone that attends this music festival will tell you the campground music scene is where it’s really at. One of the obligatory camps to visit is Carp Camp, a large group headed by a fellow with a mandolin that spend the year (or years) working on music they call homework and then sit for hours a day playing together. Groups that look to be 50 instruments strong can be found gathering here, all at once, and it is truly a wonderful sight to both see and hear. We didn’t make it over this year, sometimes you can’t do everything!
This was a special year in a lot of ways. We were sad to go home. We couldn’t imagine what 2020 was to bring, and Winfield 2020 was no exception.