submitted by community member, Lyle Estil
I’ve watched Shakori Hills rise from the earth. For years. Cobbled together by little more than passion, vision, and an assembled army of believers. To some it is largely known for its torrential rains and mud slides, but to others it is the very model of a successful grassroots endeavor.
I’ve been a “vendor” for Shakori. They have run some of their fleet on biodiesel made by Piedmont Biofuels, where I work. I’ve supplied some of their acts with fuel to get their buses to the next town. At Piedmont Biofuels we have been “fuel attendants to the stars.”
I’ve also sold fuel to festival attendees—occasionally doing “concierge fills,” where we pluck a diesel car from the parking lot, fill it with biodiesel, and send it on its way. We were once a program “sponsor”—advertising “Shakori Fills.”
At Shakori I have sold books I have written, and spirits we have made at the Fair Game Beverage Company.
I’ve “performed” at Shakori—giving talks on backyard biodiesel production at the Sustainability Pavilion, and dragging our Clean Technology Demonstration trailer out to show festival attendees.
When Shakori needed to deploy some “alternative” financing to buy the land that houses the festival site, my wife Tami and I made a donation toward the down payment. When the time came to make a loan, we helped out on that too.
I’ve “volunteered” for the festival, dragging my big chess pieces to the grounds–repairing them and washing the mud off them twice a year.
Despite my many connections to the festival, I don’t think of myself as a vendor. Or a sponsor. Or a performer. Or a financier. I don’t consider myself a volunteer.
My self image when it comes to Shakori is that of “attendee.”
I camp. I dance. I visit the seemingly endless people I know on the scene. When the festival comes to town I like to vanish into its midst, and consume all that it has to offer. I leave my world for the better part of a week and immerse myself in the event.
Each time Monday slams up against me at the end of the festival, I return to my world with what I refer to as “The Post Shakori Let Down Blues.” I try to shake them off by taking the spirit of Shakori with me into my non-festival life. In the world I want to inhabit, Shakori’s undeniable grassroots power should be an everyday occurrence, rather than just a couple of time a year…