For the past week my family and I have been taking in as many events at our local Festival of the Arts as we can manage. We all volunteer for the festival, which gains us passes for free entry into every event. Over seventy volunteers make the festival possible and are sometimes the most enthusiastic members of the audience.
This particular festival is in its thirty-third year and runs like a well-oiled machine. The weather has not been ideal, but the sun shone for a few days over the weekend and I found myself, one warm, breezy evening, lying on the grass above the lakeshore listening to live music, and looking up at the umbrella of branches of a sprawling willow tree - a blissful occupation. The band frontman introduced each of the six band members and told us where they were born. Each of them was from a different country: Cuba, Mexico, El Salvador, Phillippines, Canada, and Trinidad. Our festival highlights world music and by the time the ten-day festival is over we will have attended concerts given by artists from Africa, Ireland, Spain, Louisiana, Vienna, Hawaii and Haiti. The festival is always a wonderful time, and I become a bit of a mental sponge, absorbing it all. I find I am overwhelmed by the talent and passion of all these artists and their stories and the event tends to be a time of intense music appreciation for me. I suppose every creative person needs her own well refilled now and again, and the festival is one of those times. Music is not the only art form represented at the festival. We attended a play on Tuesday evening, and spend hours (and dollars) visiting the art market which forms a long, colourful row of tents along the beach walk on the weekends.
|One of the colourful vendors at the art market|
(The backdrop isn't bad either)
This evening we are all rather tired and will give the evening concert a miss. I, for one, need to get to bed before midnight at least one night this week. My husband has been dividing his time between the festival concerts, work, and Le Tour de France on T.V. On Sunday, he will take our eldest to Vancouver where Ian will perform in the young songwriters circle at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, a much larger event than the one we attend in the nearby resort village. I wish I could go too, but I will be volunteering with our youngest at the local festival and enjoying, hopefully, some more music in the warm sunshine (please?).
|The willow tree by the beach stage|
So, since I am somewhat preoccupied with the Festival, I thought this would be a good time to have a bit of fun on this blog. Last week I received a parcel in the mail from a blogger friend, Tracey
in California. I had won her giveaway of a sampler tin of Jelly Belly jellybeans. What a pleasant surprise! Earlier in the year, I won another giveaway, a beautiful photograph, from Ireland's Ciara of Milkmoon
. I began to think perhaps it might be my turn to return the favour...but what would I give away?
|One of my daughters helping herself to a Jelly Belly.|
I decided I would order a copy of my friend Antonia Banyard's novel Never Going Back,
and offer it as a gift to one lucky friend. Antonia Banyard and I have been friends since we were six years old. I have written two blog posts about the impression her family had on me
, and about our friendship and her career as a writer/editor. Never Going Back
is her first novel. The following is a description of the story,
Four days, five friends, a birth, a death, a suicide.
Evan, Siobhan, Lance, Lea, and Mandy were once inseperable, but in the tenyears since high school, they have barely spoken. When a memorial finds themreunited in their hometown of Nelson, BC, a small town with a big reputation,each friend is forced to confront secrets from the past. If they don't face themselves, each other, and the central trauma of their lives, they'll never be able to move on.
I have read the book a few times and enjoy it more each time. Of course, there is so much in it that is familiar to me, the setting (my hometown of Nelson), the types of characters, the humour of the writer, but the story stands alone very well as an engaging read for anyone who ever negotiated their way through the challenges of the inevitable changes in friendships that endure after high school is over.
So, if you would like to enter for a chance to win the book, just leave a comment on this post telling me you would like the book, and next week I will put all the names in a hat and draw a name. You also have to be willing, if your name is drawn, to email me your full name and mailing address so I can send you the book!
Good luck! (Now back to the festival)