A Love Letter to Grickle by Jamie Faye Ryan

We all have that friend that we maybe don’t see or talk to as often as we would like but, who when we do see, it feels like nothing has changed and we spend a wonderful night laughing, crying, and reminiscing with them. For me, that is Grickle. Having been involved with Grickle in varying capacities for the duration of its decade, and now as it comes to a close, I’m filled me with a myriad of feelings: a little bit of sadness, a lot of happiness, and a whole lot of love.

Reflecting on the past ten years of Grickle makes me feel so happy that this festival has been a part of my life, and here is a glimpse at the top ten memories I will carry with me when I think back on my time with Grickle. 

The evolution of the Grickle Garden

Grickle has grown and evolved over the years but the garden is the one part for me that has both stayed the same and grown tremendously. From a little patch of grass on the south side of the Children’s Museum to being front and centre in its own dedicated spot, the message of the garden has remained the same – sustainable living, growing local, and teaching kids and parents alike about the benefits of gardening in urban centres. 

The visual artists 

When people think Grickle they think of music, but over the past ten years there have been some truly amazing visual artists involved – from the yearly posters to décor to multimedia projections and installed artworks. In years to come when I think of Grickle I will always think of Sebastian’s projections in the caves, Tegan Moore’s installation, and the ten extremely talented artists that created unique posters for each year of Grickle. 

The bands 

Grickle has hosted so much talent. So. Much. Talent. It is hard to nail down one single performance that will stay alive in my Grickle memory so I am not even going to try. Seeing Lido, Petra Glynt, and AKUA were all dreams come true, but watching Silkken Laumann (now Silkken) take over the multipurpose room and turn it into a dream dance party will forever be ingrained in my memory. 

The partnerships

Seeing the growth of Growing Chefs and the growth of both the organization and programming of the Children’s Museum over the past decade makes my heart have a lot of feelings. Both organizations have changed tremendously in the past ten years and being able to witness their growth annually has really been something else. 

The wonderment

I am not from London and was never fortunate enough to experience the Children’s Museum as a child, but witnessing the wonder and sheer joy of night time attendees at Grickle is unlike any other kind of joy you will ever witness. Watching attendees of all ages relive their childhood, listening to music while reminiscing through their own memories under the whale tail is perhaps the truest embodiment of wonder and joy.

The community 

Not being from London, becoming involved with Grickle happened at the perfect time for me. I was about to graduate from my final year at Western and knew that I was sticking around this place I now call home, but volunteering that first year at Grickle introduced me to the music, arts, and not for profit sector in London. It ultimately helped me find my self-made family here, and propelled me into my work in the arts and music sector in London. For that I will always be grateful to this thing we call Grickle. 

The kids 

With each year of Grickle there has been a new crop of tiny tots who join us to partake in the daytime programming – from planting in the garden, to bookmaking, to yoga, to breakdancing, to cooking with Growing Chefs – but it is the kids and families that return year to year, and the ones who were babies alongside year one that are now turning ten, who have grown alongside the festival and look forward to it year to year, that proves what Grickle has done over the past ten years is an important and valued part of our community. 

The sunburns 

Taking it away from the emotions that are starting to hit me in thinking about Grickle and the impact it has had on my life over the past ten years I have to touch on the sunburns. In a day that is always amazing and fun and a little bit chaotic there comes the forgetfulness that often comes with sun protection, and Grickle has definitely seen me go through the day into the evening with a worsening sunburn. Don’t forget your SPF this year, folks. 

The hiding spots 

Every year during the night, and at post-Grickle cleanup, I am amazed at the new and inventive spots people find to slyly stash their empty beer bottles. How do you do this? How are there new hiding spots every year? 

The organizers 

Over the past ten years Grickle has become more than just a festival for me. It is a community gathering, it is a safe space, it is an annual reunion of some of the people I love most in the world all celebrating the same thing. Grickle is where I have made some of my fondest memories. It is where I met my family. It is where I have laughed. It is where I have cried. It’s where I have danced. 

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The gratitude I have towards every single person that has been involved with Grickle throughout its ten year run is immense. To those I have worked closest with over the past few years: Deanne, you are the boss lady of my dreams and I miss you every Grickle while simultaneously am envious of your UK adventures. Sav, you are one of the most caring, hilarious, passionate, no BS women I know and your capacity for multi-tasking awes me every year. Sturg, your kindness and support is boundless and your ability to curate bands I never would have dreamed of being in the same venue at the same time astounds me. Alex, you are so capable in so many things and read the need and energy of every situation; I can’t put in to words what an absolute gem you are. Jenna, you beautiful angel who will forever be my Grickle Garden in a Bottle partner in crime. 

To Pete, Alayna, Ryan, Joe, Andrew L., Innes, Renee, Jessie, Andrea, Nicki, Tegan, Eric, Steve, Kyle, Lynn, Katie, Sara, Andrew W., Penny, Erin, Nate and everyone else I am forgetting, but have had the pleasure of working with over the past decade, I am forever grateful. 

This turned into a love letter — and I suppose that’s what it is. See you June 1st!