by Nelson Holmes
GARDNER- I was hoping to hear that “Hippie Days” would have risen from the ashes of its pyre; a phoenix renewed. Well, it seems, not even successful events are immune from the minor plagues which waft about this county’s confines. I was hoping that I could have shelved this piece and turned my mind toward the grinning anticipation of a tie-dyed summer afternoon.
For the record, my remorse is not rooted in a personal sentimentality toward “hippie” culture, however one may define it. You point me toward a sign that declares “No Bad Vibes” and I’m compelled to conjure up a few. By the time I hit my first bong, peace and love had been relegated to the cliché heap and were, at best, naïve exhortations from a time already alien to my experience. So, I will not miss Hippie Days as a cultural celebration.
And I won’t miss the glassy-eyed, inebriated, sometimes belligerent, waltz of those ill-equipped to manage their poisons. Alas, one can watch sea-legged drunks at almost any hour of any day in Huerfano County. Any gathering, from a wake to a wedding, is likely to be fraught with some desperate soul concocting whatever excuse justifies a departure from responsibility.
So why do I rue the passing of Hippie Days? Well, to toss any event into the dustbin that brings a wide cross-section of the community together seems a great waste. As gatherings go it was fun and inclusive. The music, though not always polished, was always entertaining and the fact that most of the artists were local made the day even more enjoyable. Anytime you have cowboy hats and dreadlocks on the same dance floor is a time for celebration. The festival was also an acknowledgment of a community of elders, as justified and deeply rooted in this space as any other group that has long had ties here and bears the weathering of the dues paid. The rare fact that this event was a success in a place, and at a time, when little victories are far and few between seems as valid a justification for the show’s resurrection as any. The bigger you get, well, the more logistical problems you’ll have. And folks who can’t hold their liquor simply come with the territory. My only concern is that the baby was healthy; it was just the bathwater that needed tending to. If more security was needed I, and others, would have volunteered. If the rowdiness is a concern during the evening hours, just curtail the fun a little earlier. If liquor is a concern then banish the booze as well as the bad vibes. If a one day event proved a more manageable format; then pare it down. Back to the hackneyed bathwater metaphor; if you find the baby floating face down, maybe a little assistance and some CPR would make things right… I just believe that the first call shouldn’t be to the mortician.
Stuts, Hippie Days is your baby and I respect your beseeching us to “accept no substitutes.” But, I’m sorry man, I’ll accept any sincere attempt to showcase this area’s talent and, in tense and troubled times, bring neighbors together. Call it “60’s Days” or “Tie-Dye Days,” I don’t care as long as people are gathered in friendship and spirits are lifted.