How a Viral Facebook Post Recovered This Missing Painting

Drake Arnold and his painting at Suwannee Hulaween
Drake Arnold and his painting at Suwannee Hulaween

An uplifting example of the power of social media

When I saw Drake Arnold’s Facebook post saying his painting Giver of Light had been stolen, I remembered being captivated by it at Suwannee Hulaween. It stood alone so I didn’t get the chance to acquaint myself with the artist, but I saw the post because it was shared by a friend who’d also been to the festival.

I felt dismay and disappointment hearing that this happened at what had been such a beautiful fest (and knowing that it happens at other fests, too). So when I saw the painting again at Bear Creek Music Festival, back in the hands of its creator, I was delighted and intrigued. I wanted to know how it had found its way home.

I spoke to Drake and learned that the Facebook post had actually played a big part in the painting’s return, a bigger part than even he thought it would.

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Permaculture Action Tour Organizer Talks About Its Success

Jasmine Fuego at Orlando impact day site
Jasmine says some people haven't been expecting to hear this message at the shows.

She hopes her work with The Polish Ambassador will inspire other artists to speak out for change.

David Sugalski, aka The Polish Ambassador, and Ayla Nereo have just wrapped up their cross-country permaculture action tour that brought permaculture education and hands on activism to each city on its route. Successfully crowdfunded in one month, this groundbreaking tour has received overwhelming support from music fans who are ready for their musicians to step up and use their voices for change. 

The aptly named “impact days” have seen high levels of attendance; on some days volunteers have even worked simultaneously on projects in different locations. At one of the Orlando events, I met Jasmine Fuego, a community organizer and dancer for the tour. In addition to doing her thing on stage, Jasmine was responsible for reaching out to local organizations to get them to come to the shows, educate the audiences on the organizations' work in their communities, and host the impact days where people could come out and do real work in the areas of permaculture, food justice, and sustainability. 

I sat down with Jasmine and asked her a few questions about the promotion of the tour, the response from fans, and the future of this kind of activism in the music industry.

So far it seems that you guys have been getting a very positive response to these impact days that you have been putting together. What kind of reactions have you personally been getting from people about what you guys are doing? How are they responding? 

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Members of Papadosio Talk Shifts & Sound in Jax Beach

Papadosio photo collage
Papadosio plays Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

"If our music was a spaceship, we’re taking little vehicles out and exploring ..."

I arrived in Jacksonville Beach a little early on Saturday to attend the “Inter-Kinnector” pre-show gathering hosted by my friends at C4 Collective at the Ananda Kula yoga studio. Anthony Thogmartin, Sam Brouse, and Mike Healy of Papadosio were leading a panel on the “kNew Paradigm” and discussing how we in the music festival community can be amicable in our pursuit of a new and sustainable model for living.

“In this community ... we have, in some way, bought into the idea of us and them," Anthony said. "And because of that, a lot of times our ideas, we feel like they fall on deaf ears … If we could do one thing better as our community, [it] is to try to relate to people. … We have to stop taking ourselves so seriously, and take what other people think of as serious, because we want to reach out to them; we want to be able to embrace them.”

Awareness of how we approach people with our truth is vital, especially in this time of transition.

“My parents weren’t all that environmentally friendly or forward-thinking until we started to be. So I feel like we are the first real generation that has a lot of forward-thinking individuals,” Sam added.

The conversation went on with several outbursts of laughter and thoughtful input from members of the circle that had formed on the studio floor. We discussed how music festivals themselves could do better at facilitating real change in the communities they temporarily occupy and living up to the “transfomational” moniker. But we also talked about the individual and how each of us has a responsibility to make an impact on the lives of those we come in contact with.

The time came to shift over to Freebird Live in preparation for Papadosio’s set. Rob McConnell was holding it down on stage with his second band, Asian Teacher Factory, a psychedelic-infused expedition through rock and roll soundscapes. I sat down for a brief interview with Anthony on the reasons behind some of Papadosio’s most recent moves.

The Imaginal Cells Fall Tour has you making a total of six stops in Florida (That’s quite a bit for you guys.), including Orlando where you haven’t been in a while. What made you decide to come back?

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Earthdance: Uniting the World Through Music and Art

Earthdance Florida Festival Flyer
The largest global synchronized peace gathering

Earthdance Florida is part of a global party for peace.

Would you go to a festival where the theme was ancient mythology and you'd have the chance to recite a Prayer for Peace with people all around the world at the exact same moment? Attendees at Earthdance Florida 2014 will get to do just that, over the weekend of September 18-21 at Maddox Ranch in Lakeland, Fla.

This 4-day festival, presented by Earthdance Florida — a branch of Earthdance Global — is part of the largest global peace party that has been held in over 600 locations in 80 countries since 1997. Florida's event will feature art, music, workshops, live performances, and vendors spread over five interactive "realms", inspired by ancient cultures and the elements.
The Greek Realm (Air) will host Saturday's Prayer for Peace at 7 p.m., with an effigy performance and burn to follow at 8:30 p.m. It will also be home to the Lotus Tempe Stage and the vendor market.
The Egyptian Realm (Fire) will hold the Gateway to Eternity Stage and be the location of various flow workshops throughout the weekend. 
Vision Lab's visionary art galleries will be found in The Asian Realm (Spirit), as well as the Tribal Council dome where art, energy, and wellness talks and workshops will take place.
Local change organizations Rising Light and C4 Collective will host workshops on sustainability, upcycling, and more in The Celtic Realm (Earth), the site of the food market and recycling and compost station.
Finally, The Atlantis Realm (Water) will be a place to get wet in the pool or showers, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Musical acts to include Random Rab, Phutureprimitive, Aphrodite, Govinda, The Human Experience, and Greenhouse Lounge, as well as local favorites Come Back Alice, The Funky Nuggets, and Holey Miss Moley will be performing over the weekend. Dela, Christopher Morphis, Emily Kell, and Bonnie Goodson are just a few of the visual artists that will be present at the festival.

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St. Pete Artist Has This Advice on Becoming a Live Painter

Jerry Cahill ART
Jerry Cahill's art on display at Blackstock Music Festival.

"Be persistent."

I had the chance to sit down with St. Petersburg artist Jerry Cahill while I was volunteering in the art gallery at Blackstock Music Festival. When we spoke, he had just quit his job, moved out of his house, and was planning to take his work on the road as a full-time artist.

He said that it was a good time in his life, that he had just gotten his A.A. degree, and that he had saved up some money in preparation. "... I gotta figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life, so I'm kind of taking a break on everything."

When I asked him to give some advice to upcoming/beginner artists, he had this to say to anyone wanting to get into painting live:
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Local Singer/Songwriter Discusses Challenges of Full-Time Musicianship

Singer/songwriter performance
Singer/songwriter Loi Head performs at the 13th Annual DeLand Original Music Festival. 

"It definitely brings up a lot of questions ..."

For Loi Head, music has always been a part of life, even in the early years. Her mother and grandmother sang to her as a child. Her older sister was a singer, and may have been the inspiration for her joining chorus as a young student.

In college, Loi joined a worship team and sang back up vocals for a campus ministry. This got her around musicians, and after college she picked up the guitar and started to learn.

The decision to become a full-time musician came after the encouragement of others piqued her interest.
"Several people had just randomly talked to me about that," Loi says, "which I had never thought of before on my own, like, oh, I should be doing this. So then words of encouragement got me thinking about it, and then picking up the guitar and learning that kind of flowed together. I would be practicing and just thinking about words and songs and melodies and everything kind of coming together. So just through writing songs, even when I wasn't proficient at the guitar, made me want to do it even more." 
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5 Tips for Protecting Your Rights at Music Festivals

What to do if you encounter police at a music festival.
Photo adapted from The B's "Police Woman"

Knowledge is key.

The sun is shining, the nights are longer, and every weekend brings a different music festival jam-packed with camping, non-stop music, and the gathering of like-minded individuals from across the country.

Festival season is upon us and it is a mecca for some during these glorious summer months, but it is also a profitable time for police and task forces in the local governing areas. It’s important to remember that although being at a festival can feel like your own personal playground, “drink all day and rock all night, law come to get you if you don't walk right.”

The number of people arrested at music festivals is growing, and you don’t want to be one of them. A weekend of fun that changes your life could do so negatively if slapped with a drug charge. The majority of people arrested at music festivals are charged with drug charges that range from misdemeanor marijuana possession, felony distribution of LSD, trafficking a controlled substance, to knowingly obtaining, possessing, or using a controlled substance. 

So, if you are ready to get away from reality and escape to a festival for a weekend, let’s focus on how to keep it a pleasurable experience and create a more responsible, positive community.

The most important thing to remember is that you have rights, and you need to know them. If you are going to travel with anything illegal, be smart, drive safe, and don’t bring attention to yourself. Make sure all lights are working, registration is up to date, your car is insured, and that there is nothing that would make law enforcement suspicious of you and your vehicle. If you are traveling with other people make sure that they are not drawing attention to themselves and they are educated too.

If encountered by police at a festival here are some important tips:


Blackstock Music Festival Through The Lens

Blackstock Music Festival Main Stages, Blackstock, S.C.
The calm before the magic.

A First Time Fest with a Cultivated Charm

Blackstock Music Festival came to life for the first time last weekend (May 30-31) in Blackstock, S.C. This inaugural fest — though it did hit its fair share of bumps in the road — had so much to offer those in attendance. Four stages, an extensive art gallery, craft beers (provided by Sweetwater Brewing Company), workshops, artisan vendors, Innova disc golf, and cornhole.

I was blown away by performances from Galactic, Papadosio, Boombox, and Zoogma that got my body moving and helped me find the release that comes from losing myself in the music. I was introduced to up-and-coming acts — such as The Revivalists, Treehouse, Spongecake & The Fluff Ramblers, and Electric Soul Pandemic — and experienced my first Leftover Salmon show.

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Experience the First Annual Zen Awakening Festival

Zen Awakening Festival, Winter Garden, FL
Elevate your mind, body, and spirit.

A Synthesis of Music, Dance, and Enlightenment

The first ever Zen Awakening Festival is happening June 20-22 in Winter Garden, Fla., less than 30 minutes from Orlando. Surrounding the summer solstice, this festival is intended to "promote enlightenment, spiritual awakening and the unfolding of our oneness with the universe." 

Attendees can expect mind- and body-opening activities, such as yoga, meditation, drum circles, and presentations on topics including spiritual transformation and awakening. Music will be provided in the evenings by Minnesota, Earphunk, and others. There will also be dancers, fire performers, and art installations visible at the event.

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Local Artist Evan Taylor Jones Has This Message For You

Evan Taylor Jones plays at Twisted Tuesday at the Red Lion Pub
Have YOU heard it?

Interview with Evan Taylor Jones at the Red Lion Pub

Last Tuesday, I caught up with Evan Taylor Jones for a long-awaited interview at the Red Lion Pub. That night he played with his band — Tyler Hood (guitar), Cris Faustmann (bass), Omar Rodriguez (drums), Mikey Guzman (keys), Matt Gutkin (organ, synth) — and was accompanied by Christian Ryan on saxophone.

Last year, Evan released his debut album and played over 100 shows in the state of Florida. He is well on his way to topping that number this year, having already played 23 shows in May at the time we spoke. Listen to the brief interview, where he talks about what keeps him going in the face of such an intense tour schedule and what he hopes you will gain by listening to his music.

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