At Shakori Hills, our main goal is to bring out the common good and common ties that have bound us together as humans throughout history. We do this through music, dance, and art because those all speak a language that we can all understand and with which we can all find connection. For only 8 days a year, we build a community here in which we hope people can join in and find ways to bring that joy, magic, and spirit of connection with them to the outside world. The “outside” world, really, shouldn’t be all that different than it is while the festival is happening, but we have found ways – through hatred, judgement, negativity, fear, and separation from our own true hearts – to make it difficult and scary, lonely and sad.
At the festival, we seek to build up the community, to love everyone in it, because everyone has a part to play and every person’s life effects everyone else’s. Why is it that to some, being different, is such a bad thing? And really, how different can any one of us be from anyone else? We all laugh at a good joke, cry when we are sad, feel good when we can be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and have a desire to be happy.
We are a part of a time in history when the hatred takes the headlines and the separation seems vast. We are located in a state where some think it is ok to discriminate against people just because of who they are; to make it part of the law to cast people out and take away their right to work, to live, to do the very things that make us human, just because they were born a little different from the ones who make these laws. So many act under the banner of a commandment to “Love one another,” but forget what that truly means. We are better than this.
We also live an an amazing place! We can see the timeless ocean and the ancient mountains in the same day! We can stand in a spot where music from Africa escaped to the hollows of Appalachia and where banjo became bluegrass. Where countless battles in civil rights, women’s rights, and marriage equality were waged and won through love and standing on the right side of history! And we can dance under the stars to everything from Del McCoury to Rubblebucket to old vinyl records and everything in between. There is a lot of love in this state and a lot of it is represented right here at Shakori Hills. Let us continue to speak through these ancient languages of music, dance, and art and let us stand with each other to uphold the greater good and work, through love, to make our world – large and small – better every day!
We at Shakori Hills GrassRoots stand with open arms to all people – all who have hearts to feel joy, peace, and the safety of a loving community. One of our favorite terms here is “Ubuntu.” It is a Southern African philosophy meaning “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” Let us share what we have, learn from each other, love one another truly.
With that love, and with respect and the spirit of Ubutnu, we welcome everyone to the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance!
The Shakori Hills GrassRoots Team
Ubuntu photo by Elizabeth Larson