Home Feature Dispatches from Soulshine day one (Friday)

Dispatches from Soulshine day one (Friday)


I packed up the car (literally….PACKED) with my tent, blow-up mattress (since turning 50 last week, I have officially eschewed thermarests), pillows (yes, plural) and dancing shoes, all ready for Soulshine. This festival is described as “inclusive, providing sustenance for the entire community,” which is does by providing nourishing food, healing workshops and speakers talking about community, sustainability and envisioning/creating a positive future. The venue is pretty sweet, and just outside Blackstock ON, and uses two incredible properties: Souls Path Retreat (Former Girl Scouts’ Campground) and Purple Hill. The grounds are perfect for forest walks and strolls along several paths and provide a great place to be together, and to have some solo reflection time in nature. For an extroverted introvert, this place is totally my jam.

I arrived late afternoon, was greeted by helpful very soul-shiney hosts, and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have to schlep all my belongings to my campsite; they had a gator/4X4 to deliver all of my gear right to my camping area. Luxury for a gal who doesn’t travel light.

Once settled, I geared up for a night of mellowness. But first, dinner. What I love about this festival is that meals are included, and this provides more of a camp or community atmosphere where we all eat together. They provide four days of vegan, whole-food nourishment provided by their Community Kitchen of volunteers.

The opening ceremony was so sweet, and a beautiful way to gather community and set an intention together. We called in the four directions, lit the sacred fire (which will burn all weekend), sipped on sumac and pine tea (harvested on the land) and created a huge drum circle lead by Tom Wolf. Truly magical.

This year’s theme is “embody” whereby the focus is “tune into you.” The collective who created this festival have a clear vision and describe themselves as a “community driven by the values of freedom and care; together we work on defining the leading edge of our awakening.” I felt this immediately upon entering the gates.

Toronto based Robin Benedict played a set of inspired powerhouse tunes, both originals and a few covers. This gal can belt it. I can see why she’s doing a Janis Joplin tribute soon. There was an open stage whereby many of us festival goers could get up and do a plugged in jam, replete with a real upright piano. We ended the night with a VERY late night jam around the fire….as in….I went to bed at 4:30 a.m. No drugs were involved; just the pure medicine of music.

Excited to see what the rest of the weekend has in store.


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