Camera angle looking from ground up at four decked out women with bright orange, pink and rainbow colored fluffy feathery bedazzled outfits

Are you a fan of The Grateful Dead? Bluegrass and funk? A variety of art performance and talent all packed together over a three-day weekend event? I think it’s time you prepare for next year’s Dark Star Jubilee festival, where you can expect all of this and also making friends with a family of people who all share the same passions for these things in life.

I kicked off my summer as an official painter at The Dark Star Jubilee festival. The performance art coordination was held by member of the stilt-walking troupe, The Amazing Giants’ Jessica Jessijem Minshall, who made it possible for me to be there and perform as a live painter.   Live painting to a fully recreated Grateful Dead set from a show performed in Ohio by Dark Star Orchestra was pretty incredible – a slice of a life in the 70s, at least closer than I ever experienced in a live performance. The energy in the crowd vibing off of song after song that created the cult following of deadheads – who continue even to this day. You can say a lot of bands were influential to rock and roll, but there’s no doubt that many of those bands you can list do not have full festivals devoted to their music and essence.

At the Dark Star Jubilee festival you can expect all of the good stuff of a proper festival – a lot of magnificent art, flow arts like fire spinning and hooping, and stilt walkers thanks to The Amazing Giants presence. A notable mention is a contraption that bounces around idly in the middle of the crowd, with a flailing performer bouncing back and forth to the music. It is something to behold and a spectacle in the middle of a Dark Star Orchestra show.

While some people who might think of a stereotypical hippie drug festival of psychedelics, The Dark Star Jubilee is actually a very family-friendly, safe environment with a lot of people there just for the good music – and rightfully so. My weekend consisted of painting mostly when the sun went down enough to be comfortable standing for hours at a time, and being greeted with people who gave me confidence and gratitude as an artist. Well, besides the one guy who gave me the Spanish inquisition about the nature of my art and then quoted Nietzsche, expecting me to give him answer.

The truth is, art is my purpose in life, if I am going to be so callous as to assign one to me, and making art for the sake of it and enjoying life is all I can ask for. To be given a gift is enough as it is, and it’s a crime to not cultivate creativity if you’ve got a grasp on even a sliver of talent – and not to say I don’t have a long way to go as it is. But, being in an environment like that surrounded by other creative people, even dancing to the music, expressing themselves – what more of an answer do I have to give?

 “That was our 7th year performing at the Jubilee and its more or less a family reunion surrounding the celebration of music that the Grateful Dead gave us. DSO is one of the hardest working, most traveled and touring artist around the US today and we are happy to be a part of a continuing spirit of sound. The Amazing Giants are the Jubilant Jesters “modern day merry pranksters” - Jessica, The Amazing Giants.

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