Kerry Henderson: These artists are largely coming for just very little money, because they believe in the vision, and they believe in us, and we like them. We all get on. A communal meal is prepared every night at someone else’s home and everybody gets together and talks and chats. It’s sort of old style. In this area, there are very few hotels, bed and breakfasts even. They’re all booked up on the weekend and we don’t have a budget for that. But the whole community has come together and is billeting people. People have a little cabin out the back; an artist stays there. I have the bass, Maurice Robinson, staying in my loft. It’s just an incredible coming together of artists and creating, in a way, an artistic community as well.
We have the two things working together. We have our local community here and our support system here, and we also have the community of artists who we’re bringing here, who we like, who we get on with, who we enjoy eating with, talking about our careers, our difficulties with, and hopefully over the years, really developing a family there. I think there’s great strength in that and I don’t think that happens much in the world today.
And we could not do this festival without the help of skilled people from the whole community. We have 120 volunteers this year who are donating their time and this is just not the people you see in the park as far as the ushers and the stage crews and the hospitality crew. The other day we had a team of carpenters -- 20 guys -- who put up this huge stage in about eight hours. We have people with skills in rigging who are climbing the ropes, you know, hanging the supertitle equipment. I can’t tell you how many people have donated food, and meals. We have amazing chefs in this area it seems, and they’re all coming out of the woodwork. They’re feeding our artists for free. We could not do it without the support of our entire community.
And I think I developed a much greater appreciation and respect for people around me. There were people who I, in the course of my normal career and life, I wouldn’t come into contact with. Now it’s like the guy down at the store is helping to usher. The kid who I would pass in the street is a computer wiz who has ended up designing and creating our entire website. And in fact, last night was rigging all of our lights until five in the morning. We couldn’t have done it without this guy. That’s just one example, too. There are a myriad of people who’ve contributed in similar ways.