Friday, 3 August 2012

Hillbillies vs. Hippies

I have been to Big Valley Jamboree the past 8 years in a row, and many are finding it quite odd that on this year which marks the festival's 20th Anniversary I am choosing not to attend.

Me, Gloria, Nicole & Charlene
Well there are a number of reasons- some financial, some personal. Either way Chris and I decided to instead take in the Calgary Folk Fest which was this past weekend.

And I fell in love.

I'd like to attempt to compare the two festivals, not by music genre (the obvious difference) but instead by overall experience and a few sub-categories. Please keep in mind that this comparison is based solely on my own experience at both- I am fully aware that there are people that experienced BVJ in a completely different way than I did. I am not summarizing the Jamboree as a whole- just as I saw it.

Kids vs No Kids.

This was one of the first things I noticed. There were parents with small children at the FF. Babies even. Strollers, wagons and baby slings were a natural accessory for many. I'm not saying I've never seen a child at BVJ. They actually have an entire section of camping for families. The difference here is that it is completely appropriate for babies to be hangin around FF. BVJ... not so much

Let me explain with my next category

Clothing (or lack there of)

Last year while sitting at a picnic table eating lunch on the midway with my husband a group of girls walked by wearing thong bikinis and chaps. Thongs. I could see their bums, and I didn't enjoy it. Sadly, this type of attire was not shocking in any way, but instead quite normal for the setting. BVJ is one big 4 day party. I've never shown my bum at a party, but in 9 years I've seen my fair share at BVJ.

FF was refreshing - about 75% were dressed like your average joe with the odd super hippy sporting the no bra / tight shirt look, or a man wearing a kilt. In comparison? I'll take hippies, thank you.


Just one thing to note - while I'm not claiming there was nothing deep fried or unhealthy at FF, I can say the majority was pretty impressive. Vegan, gluten free, sushi... you could find something for everyone! Nice change for sure. Oh, and pretty cool that you get all your food on a real plate, which you return afterwards (You pay a $2 plate deposit which you get back when you return it) Way to be green FF ;)

Party vs. Music

Here is my overall comparison in a nut shell: BVJ is a party atmosphere. People are there primarily to get drunk and go a little wild. Not everyone... but a LOT. The nickname for general camping is LOUD- and it's quite literal. In my earlier years at BVJ (in my pre-Christian days) I wholeheartedly experienced the party for all it was worth. I witnessed the fact that some people just don't go to bed until the sun comes up. A lot of people actually. The concert area gets full for the headliners, but is pretty bare throughout the afternoon. During the day you'll find most festival goers playing music at their campsite whilst getting hammered, or sleeping off the prior night's hangover

FF is a whole other story. The focus is actually the music! (Can you imagine?!) All day long each side stage is full of people listening, dancing and enjoying. It was amazing. 80% of what we sat in for I had never heard before, but I loved it all. More so I just loved the people, and the atmosphere.

Show Me The Money

For reserved seating and camping I was paying close to $250. I am slightly embarrassed to say that this was completely not worth it mainly because of how few concerts I went to. Last year Chris and I saw 1/2 of one concert. Very sad. Even in the early years when I made more of an effort I think the most I ever went to was 6-7. (Out of 18 in total!)

Folk Fest costs $160 for 4 days of nonstop music. This year we only went for one day, and paid $65 (per ticket) I probably would have paid that just to see the headliner, but instead got an entire days worth of sweet music, sun and food out of it. Worth it? SO much so!

I apologize Big Valley, but I don't think I will be seeing you again. Folk fest for the win!!

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  1. Good post here cousin!

  2. Another awesome thing is that Calgary folk fest is usually ahead of the game. You'll notice Edmonton getting the same artists a year or two down the road!

  3. Well Done Melissa!