As the dust settles from summer shenanigans and restaurants begin to add fall seasonal items to their menus (don’t act like you aren’t excited about pumpkin spiced everything), some of your favorite local lady musicians are getting together to throw a really special event called Festival of the Muses. It’s billed as a festival, but this is really a spiritual goddess gathering. There is a lot of intention behind this event. It isn’t just another party.
Festival of the Muses is about lifting each other up, connecting with a feminine community and building bonds. This intimate festival (only a couple hundred attendees are expected), thrown by Mackenzie Page (Gipsy Moon), Bonnie Paine (Elephant Revival) and Bridget Law (Elephant Revival), is meant to nurture and transform.
Festival of the Muses takes place from September 15 through 17. See the whole festival (tentative) schedule here, including more information on workshops, registration (and ticketing), accommodations, directions to Joyful Journey Hot Springs.
After most festivals, you typically power through a hungover drive home and crash out for the next day or so. You’ll unpack that tent and hose out the cooler (eventually). But after Festival of the Muses, the ladies want you to feel refreshed and accomplished, having shared space and taken part in something bigger than yourself. The idea is to share skills, inspire creativity and acknowledge the power of women in our patriarchal society.
The venue, Joyful Journey Hot Springs, is home to healing waters that Native American elders from the surrounding Crestone area consider to be highly sacred and energetic. Soaking in the mineral rich pools will be a rejuvenating compliment to daily workshops, ceremonies, yoga classes, communal meals (also included in the ticket price) and, of course, music.
303 Magazine had the opportunity to catch up with Mackenzie Page and Bridget Law to discuss their vision for this Goddess Gathering, the concept of the muse and why it’s so important to honor and respect our inner #ladyboss.
303: How do you three (Mackenzie, Bonnie & Bridget) know each other? Can you give us a little bit of backstory about how you all came together and decided to put on this event?
Mackenzie Page: Yes, we met because of Nederland. A friend took me to a picking circle up there when I first started playing music, and I’ve been living there ever since. I met Bridget and Bonnie through friends. I was so inspired by the two of them and how they openly expressed themselves. It really showed me what was possible for a woman in a very male dominated music scene. A lot of the inspiration for the festival came from that. Seeing a creative woman express herself with no fears can really inspire you to create and expand your views of possibility. The seed for this festival was planted by my friends Tim and Kira Riley, out of Crestone, who are also facilitating the event. I travel a lot for music, and I am constantly meeting women who inspire me in one form or another. I starting wondering what would happen if all of these amazing women I’ve had the chance of meeting could be in the same place at the same time, and what kind of fantastic creations and collaborations could come of it. I think when women come together in support of one another’s growth, instead of competition, everyone ends up in a better place.
Bridget Law: Thanks to the wondrous town of Nederland! We were all drawn there in various ways. I’m a Colorado native and was excited to move to Nederland when I finished college so I could work on the ski hill and be in a community drenched in live music. Bonnie was drawn to Nederland through her experiences there with Vince Herman. It was a great place for three bluegrass-picking females to come together. The scene is so colorful and accepting, it’s easy to be expressive and creative.
303: Can you best explain what being a “muse” means to you? Who are some of your personal muses?
MP: A muse is the personified source of creative inspiration. In Roman and Greek mythology, the muses were the nine creative goddesses of Zeus that preside over the arts. I am very interested in the idea of creativity, what drives a person to create and why some feel that they must. Creativity also relates to women specifically, as our bodies create within them. So the festival is an honor of that creative force, focusing on Colorado women in the arts teaching each other skills and inspiring one another through community and support. Some of my personal muses include nature, poetry, playing with language, music and just the overall search for meaning in the ordinary parts of life. And, of course, other creative women.
BL: A muse in my mind is the inspiration to make art. Often this term is given to a woman who woos art, both in herself and those intrigued by her. I think in the context of “Festival of the Muses,” the term is more generally used to describe women dedicated to art and creativity. I’m happy to be included in this circle. Inspiration and muses are some of my very favorite things. My personal muses are nature, emotions, the circumstances of the word and my handsome man.
“I think nurturing the feminine is how to plant the seeds of change. Encouraging women to feel comfortable and proud in their choices and artistic achievements without feeling competitive creates a more collaborative social environment. This will set the tone for future generations, regardless of gender, and hopefully lead us to a more liberated, equal, innovative and peaceful society.”
303: Why Joyful Journey Hot Springs? Can you describe the location and space? Why you chose this specific venue to throw your festival?
MP: There’s a lot of healing energy there. I feel like we really need that right now. We need the strength of community. I think when it comes to making a change in the world, you have to first heal and make that change in yourself. Joyful Journey also has a very small, communal feel to it. And I haven’t met a woman yet who doesn’t love hot water.
BL: The San Luis Valley is an enchanting place. And what better spot to gather ladies together than at a magical hot springs? I had very little to do with any decision making, but I’m definitely glad they chose to host the festival at Joyful Journey.
303: What inspired this Festival of the Muses? What will make this festival different than other Colorado festivals?
MP: I think the thing that makes this festival different than any other in Colorado, besides the sole purpose of honoring women, is the intention and the focus on skill-share workshops. Most of the offerings are geared towards learning a new craft or skill, whether it be painting, komboucha making, metal smithing or how to divine with tarot cards. There are also classes geared toward inner learning and healing such as the Shamanic Journeying class and the Sound Healing workshop. We will also have music in the evenings and an open mic portion for others to share their gifts.
BL: Focusing on Goddess energy and the supportive feminine.
303: There are lots of workshops taking place at this festival — which ones are you the most excited about?
MP: I’m really excited about the bookbinding and painting classes. Also, we have Jodie Bliss, who is a Colorado female metalsmith, teaching a workshop. She is currently creating metal Goddess sculpture for the festival that we all will get to adorn and paint. There is also the Goddess Chair led by the 5 Weird Sisters. I’ve done this workshop before with them and it is amazingly powerful and healing. Honestly, there are so many great workshops it’s going to be really hard to decide which ones to choose.
BL: Green Witch Medicine Making, Bookbinding, Contact Improv and Goddess Tarot all sound fascinating.
303: Given our current political environment, why do you think the time is ripe for a festival honoring women, specifically? What do you hope attendees/participants will come away from the Festival of Muses having gained?
BL: I think nurturing the feminine is how to plant the seeds of change. Encouraging women to feel comfortable and proud in their choices and artistic achievements without feeling competitive creates a more collaborative social environment. This will set the tone for future generations, regardless of gender, and hopefully lead us to a more liberated, equal, innovative and peaceful society.
MP: I think Bridget said it perfectly. Our society has recently been fed a strong sense of division. There’s been a lot of focus on what makes us different from each other, which is turned into fear, violence, competition and hate. More than ever, we need to focus on what makes us the same, what makes us human and how we can support one another. We need to return to compassion, and I think that mindset comes through a sense of community and support.
303: Are boys invited to the Festival of the Muses, too?
MP: Yes! We invite all female, male and LGBTQIA friends and family to join us. There will be some separate spaces, like the women-only Red Tent and the men-only workshop led by Nederland elder Gurratan, but we aim to hold an inclusive space. This will be a great time for men to connect with one another and to also learn how to best support their sisters, brothers and the feminine within themselves.
BL: This will be a wonderful opportunity for men to recognize, encourage and marvel at the Divine Feminine in her element.