This letter brings Gilead Fest 2014 to a close in my heart. As of this evening I have posted links to tons of photos at the Gilead Fest website, including photos taken by my own staff - www.gileadfest.com Please take a moment to read this letter and check out some photos of this incredible weekend. Thank you.
It’s difficult to form my thoughts from Gilead Fest 2014 into sentences that make sense to anyone else. Three weeks have passed, and my head is still swimming with all of the feelings and experiences I want to elaborate on and make clear to you. The same text edit file where I’m currently attempting to compose this Fest wrap-up is also filled with dozens of phrases and words that would seem like random nonsense to anyone else. It is my brain on paper, so to speak. My adjustment back to the real world has been a strange one as the fog from that weekend still lingers, densely.
That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the suddenly free schedule, because it’s been something amazing to actually spend time with my friends again over the past couple weeks, even with the responsibilities of my full-time job. But that weekend of July 18th will leave an impression on me for the rest of my days, regardless how long that may be.
For a long time Gilead Fest was intended to be a one-time event. Even on the weekend of the first festival in 2012, although I told people we would “see what happened” when they asked when we could do this again, I was confident this was a one-time thing. I thought then that I couldn’t possibly handle the stress of setting up what I considered to be such a large undertaking again in the future, despite the unbelievable return on the energy I had invested. But in my heart of hearts I had the feeling that this would happen again, regardless of what my own fears, desires, or even better judgment might be, Gilead Fest had to happen again. It must.
It took me a year to realize this truth. And even when I had finally given in to the reality that there would be another Gilead Fest, I didn’t want to admit it to anyone else. I take on stress and hold anxiety heavily, and I didn’t want to put myself through that again. But there’s something I wrote on the bio for the Gilead Media site regarding the fact that this isn’t a labor of love. This is a labor of necessity. I don’t do this because I love it, I do it because I must. I don’t have a choice. This label and this music festival – I need them both in order to function.
As should be obvious to anyone that follows my work with these bands, I pour myself into this. My work is motivated by my love, my misery, my happiness, and my angst. It is intensely personal. My relationship with music is obsessive and has been since I was young. It has been my coping mechanism since I’ve realized my need to cope. This music is my life. It’s what drives me and a large part of gives me the will to carry on.
This scene and the sub-culture we thrive within together is something truly exceptional. In a world that seems to have a dark shadow lingering two steps behind it, what we’ve built together is something of immeasurable beauty and filled with a wonderful light to cast that shadow away. We all have a role to play in this drama that is our life and collective existence. Take a moment and think about what we’ve been able to accomplish together, the scope of it all. Peel back the layers of grit and filth thrown over our precious creation by the mundane nature of life and look at the true importance of what we’re involved in and how, against all reason, it thrives. Our community grows, and in turn it fuels us. This isn’t “just” music. It’s so much more than that.
Thank you to all those that attended, to the artists that came to share their work in an intimate environment, and to my volunteer staff that lent me their time and priceless energy. Every single one of you has been an integral part of the unique atmosphere of Gilead Fest. We all contributed in great ways to the positive atmosphere of that weekend, ultimately creating something much larger than ourselves. Yes, I may have brought you all to my small hometown, but I myself am not the beacon that draws us together. We collectively fuel that light with our passion and dedication and reflect it in our own lives, increasing its luminance. Thank you for being a part of that energy, for reflecting the light, and for bringing it with you to Gilead Fest. For three days this was an epicenter of something tremendously unique, exceptionally positive, and endlessly beautiful. Only through those who share that energy will an inclusive DIY community continue to grow.
I make no promises of the future, but October 2016 could become a time to look forward to.
Adam Bartlett, Gilead Media
August 13, 2014