Dreaming of Live Music and Fairs in 2021

At this point, we are fatigued from hearing about the millions of ways that the pandemic has thrown our lives into disarray. Whether it is staring at a computer screen for 10 hours a day, ordering groceries online, or struggling to see family and friends, this past year has certainly exacted its toll. The pandemic has significantly modified our daily lives and eliminated many of the enriching activities that keep us going.  In February of 2020, I was just about to sign up for a local art class. I had already purchased a new gym membership that I was actually using for once. While these may seem like minor complaints given the scope of the pandemic, these types of activities used to give me something concrete to look forward to after a long day. 

Of course, after spending the last 14 months withering away inside my apartment, there are tons of other things that I have missed and can’t wait to resume. I have missed traveling to IFC center and the Quad, hunting through thrift stores, staying in a hotel, getting my hair cut, eating out at a restaurant, and one million more things ranging from minutiae to international travel. But, what I have realized I miss the most are big, live events like music shows and festivals and fairs. I can’t count how many times I wished I could return to JetLAG (the USA’s largest festival of Russian, Slavic, Balkan, and Eastern European music) or the Starland Ballroom or the Warrensburg Garage Sale. After such a long year, I have found that these places seem more like mystical memories than actual locations that I have been to. 

As someone that used to be very involved in the local New Jersey music scene, live music is something that I have missed a great deal. I used to attend and organize DIY shows that featured women artists regularly. Local music events are often heavily male-dominated, and I always felt obligated and inspired to help change that. But, with live performances coming to a screeching halt at the beginning of last year, it has been challenging to support women artists in the same way that I have in the past. It turns out that the digital world doesn’t adapt as well to activism and change as we might have once thought. Listening to music through headphones and liking a Facebook post pale in comparison to the experience of standing right in front of musicians as they put everything they have into playing. Because of this, I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of organizing and supporting music made by women, and I hope that these types of events will eventually be able to come back in full force.

I have also missed something else that is incredibly specific: The New York Renaissance Faire. Although I have only been going since 2017, the Renaissance Faire very quickly became one of my favorite places in the world. Held in the late summer and early fall, it features live jousting, glass blowing, harpists, magicians, and crafters of all kinds. People from all walks of life come dressed as elves, warriors, pirates, knights, fairies, and sometimes creatures I can’t even identify. What’s more, many of the attendees and performers are women. I remember being absolutely mesmerized by how deftly a woman glassblower handled molding a vase in front of hundreds of people. I remember sitting peacefully under a tree as a nearby woman plucked a medieval tune on a golden harp. With so many incredible opportunities to experience women artists, the Renaissance Faire is on the top of my list of activities to return to later this summer.

While I have yet to venture out just yet, I am eagerly awaiting the resumption of activities like live music and fairs. As more people become vaccinated, I’m hoping that I’ll be spending less time at home and more time laughing with friends, experiencing art, and participating in local activities.

© Dayna Hagewood (5/28/21) – Feature for FF2 Media® LLC

Featured Photo: Jousting at the Renaissance Faire

Top Photo: A functional instillation at JetLAG 2019

Middle Photo: Me with an unidentifiable creature at the Renaissance Faire

Photo Credits: Me!

Tags: Dayna Hagewood, live music, pandemic, renaissance faire

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Dayna holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University in English and Cinema Studies with a concentration in Creative Writing. She recently graduated with her Master of Arts in Teaching English from Montclair State University. Dayna currently teaches middle-school English in New Jersey. She has taught students spanning grades K-12 and loves encouraging young people to pursue the arts. Dayna enjoys working with FF2 Media because writing about women artists harmonizes some of her greatest interests. She is passionate about film, literature, and antiquing.
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