My Grickle Top 10 by Deanne Kondrat

The Grickle Grass Festival is diving into Year 10 and it’s final year, while the London Children’s Museum, the Grickle home for this decade, begins it’s move to a new venue. It is truly the end of an era! I was involved with Grickle from Years One to Seven (and have been a cheerleader from England for these past 3 years.) And I can’t even begin to drill down to what Grickle has meant, and what it has given me. But since we are moving into year ten, let’s take a look at my top ten moments (and feelings, really.)

Celebrating our local heroes

London has some quality musicians, like amazing. Year one (how has it been 10 years) started with a wonderful band called WIld Domestic. We soon saw local favs like Lonnie and the Garden, New Zebra Kid, SHHH, FOAM, Whoop-Szo - gahh there are too many too list. I think we forget how incredible the music scene is in London, it took moving to another country to realize how spoiled we are. So be sure to give our local fam one hell of a round of applause during Year 10 (please, for me!)

Experiencing the museum I knew as a kid

I was a born and raised Londoner, which meant many a school field trip centered around The Children’s Museum. And it was great, stare a Baleena the whale, dig up dinosaur bones, explore the Arctic. It was an adventure. And it was awe inspiring to work in that space as an adult and get to know the space intimately. Eight year old Deanne never imagined she would be planning if a bar works better in the ‘Doctor’s Office’ or ‘Tree Room’ - but dreams do come true. The museum is given a fresh breath of life during Grickle.

Space with Petra Glynt

A Petra Glynt set is pretty wild. As, a wonderful alternative art punk vibrato, she is the type of act that would make sense to perform in a Space shuttle amidst streamers and tinsel.  Her set forced me to take a moment during the 2015 festival amongst 100 sweaty bodies dancing through a replica space ship control room - I couldn’t help but think is ‘Huh, Grickle is pretty fucking magical, isn’t it?’

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Working With Growing Chefs Ontario

Who would have thought you could have kids excited about eating salad?? Let me tell you, have them make their own salad dressing and they are INVESTED. I came from the generation of pop tarts and pizza pockets (hello 90s convenience!) But working with them also forced me to take a step back and evaluate how I interact with food and breaking those convenience habits. And I am so happy that London and area children has GCO to help them understand how fun and delicious food can be, especially when you make it yourself… or slap a happy face on it.

Making my favourite salsa with Growing Chefs Ontario

I still use this recipe to this day. I have it tucked in a cookbook and have carried it to England…. It appears I have even made a grocery list on it at one point! If you don’t have kids, make it for your friends, or to eat entirely solo while marathoning Ru Paul’s Drag Race (like me!)

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Rich Aucoin’s Parachute

I just did a quick check and Rich Aucoin headlined in 2013… Six years ago and I still carry this performance with me to this day. Hundreds of bodies, dancing and singing under Baleena the whale When he brought out his signature parachute during ‘It’ (I believe?) We all knew we were experiencing something together. We may not have knew what that something was at the time - but I can only really chalk it up to the magic of Grickle Grass.

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Zaki Ibrahim showing that pregnant ladies can still move

There is something about Grickle Grass that leaves you feeling empowered. Zaki Ibrahim headlined in 2016 and known for her South African Space beats which see her busting impressive moves. She performed while extremely pregnant while hardly breaking a sweat. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but forget Beyonce. Who run the world? Zaki.

Learning the strength of black fly coolers

I love Black Fly. They have been supporters of the festival since the beginning - and, man, those coolers in their nice recyclable bottles pack a punch! Perfect dance juice for a warm pre-summer dance party… which may not be helpful when you need to sweep floors after the festival is over.

I never thought I would have talked about Dr. Seuss so much in my life

Within mere weeks, the original Grickle Team had gotten the okay to run a sustainable music festival at The Children’s Museum, put together a line-up… but we were short one thing… a name. I still remember the vivid brainstorm session where we wanted something child-like, but carried the message home. The ‘Sustainable Is Obtainable’ Festival just didn’t have that ring to it. However, good thing there was an old copy of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax close by - and thus ‘The Grickle Grass Festival’ was born.

The Grinkle Grass, The Kingle Festival, The Gringle Festival, it’s been called a lot of different things, but as long as you’ve bought a ticket along the way - you can call it whatever you want!

Working with The Grickle Team

Okay, not to get sentimental (Lies, I’m totally feeling sentimental right now). But I grew up with dear Grickle, from 23 to 30 - such crucial years -  it was a huge part of my life. And I am so happy that the passion of my dearest Savanah Sewell has ensured it’s carried on.

I learned so many important skill sets career wise, and it opened up so many doors for me in the community, this time was a truly a blessing.

But the real blessing was these people. The ones who hauled gear, tended gardens, served food, slinged beers, put up posters. It was a community that raised this Grickle baby to a festival standing in its 10th year.

It was hard work - but a lot of times it felt like a gathering of friends instead of work - as there were the late night planning sessions, but accompanied by wine while someone played a guitar in the background. Or group barbeques where we celebrated over food and laughter. I have never experienced a community like this anywhere else.

So thank you -all of you. And, an aside to the Grickle mama herself, Savanah. Thank you for making this a reality for so many of us. We are truly indebted to your passions and perseverance. And as Grickle will come to an end after year 10, I know a gap will be felt in the community. But I also know you have other tricks up your sleeve, and can’t wait to see what they are.

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