by Anis Salvesen
You know those events you really look forward to, and then they turn out even better than you hoped? You’re on cloud nine afterwards. That’s how it was for me at this year’s Power to the Peaceful Festival. I was not able to attend the second day of the festival, but I did attend Day One.
It had been warm the week leading up to the festival, so when the weather turned out to be quite overcast on Saturday, the day of the concert, I was concerned the atmosphere might not be as lively. I need not have worried. Even as you walked up to the venue, you could hear the music beckoning you.
What awaited attendees once they walked past the donation boxes (donations not required) was a jolt to all of their senses. Music was all around, with the stage on one end of the field and a DJ tent on the other. The delicious smell of BBQ and other foods wafted toward you as you ventured down what I’ll call “Tasty Food Lane.” Vendors of all sorts of art, jewelery, clothing, leather accessories displayed their wares in eye-catching fashion. The mood of the crowd was so buoyant, it felt like I was back in grade school and the teacher had let us out early.
After circling ‘round the vendor’s stalls, we headed toward the stage. There were lots of people, but everyone was calm and happy, so it was not an unpleasant experience moving through the crowd. Directly in front of the stage, people had camped out on the grass with their blankets and picnic baskets, some just chatting while the kids played with hula hoops.
If it were just me and a bunch of my friends getting together in the park, it would have been “pointless.” But advocates for continued military action cannot ignore thousands. And the participants weren’t just speaking out by showing up to the event. Many of us learned more about important issues, signed petitions, found out about different nonprofits. The concert was not an end in itself but a sort of battery recharge of one’s commitment to peace and to service. I came out of there totally energized and ready to do my part to change the world for the better.
Thanks for reading this blog post. Do you see the little girl in the photo who is standing on her dad’s hands? She’s the one in the white jacket, and there are a bunch of kids behind her in the crowd. That’s our future right there – the next generation of peace makers.