Written by Lily Mason
Photos by Filip Zalewski
The theme of the 7th annual Grand Point North was levitation. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of levitation is, “the rising or lifting of a person or thing by means held to be supernatural”. This was the perfect theme for a wondrous weekend at the waterfront. Upon arrival, Small talker was filling the air with melodic medicine. Warm embraces were continuously observed as I looked around the venue. Moments later I found myself near the rocks, gazing at Lake Champlain in awe and reverence for the scenic landscape. Inspired by the artistry, a short poem transpired.
None of this creation is mine
Executed in perfect time
Creativity flows through my mind
As I entered Reverb’s Eco Village to check out the featured nonprofits, Tank and The Bangas were sharing the zest of New Orleans with Burlington, enchanting us all. I was elated to feel the soul pouring from stage while learning that the proceeds from the Grand Point North reusable water bottles would benefit CarShare Vermont, Vermont Community Garden Network, and Lake Champlain Land Trust. The statewide impacts of these local organizations are uplifting and refreshing. In efforts to progress society, CarShare Vermont is strengthening the network for sustainable transportation. They provide members with affordable alternatives to owning a car. Sharing resources to curb carbon emissions is an approach they offer to help individuals offset contributions to climate change.
The Vermont Community Garden Network empowers hundreds of people by advocating for and cultivating gardening initiatives. They educate through workshops, facilitate the building of community bonds, and amplify food security to transform America’s conventional food system. Lake Champlain Land Trust conserves over 6,000 acres in the Lake champlain region, protecting water quality and preserving public access. All of these efforts are admirable and essential to the health of Vermont. Teamwork makes the dream work!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
I continued to the stage feeling proud to live in a state that works daily to support ecological balance. Hurray For The Riff Raff, also based from New Orleans, was enlivening the crowd. Alynda Segarra and the band organically layered multiple genres with powerful messages, further inspiring myself and countless others to rise above complacency. Her authenticity gave her authority. By their last song, a deep yearning to explore this group surfaced. Kudos!
Shortly after, Mondo Cozmo executed a serene performance. They played “Shine” before the sunset, producing rhythms for a grand release. “Everything will be alright if you let it go.” This is a very simple statement but actually surrendering your mind to trust the universe as a conscious action has profound implications for any individual. The energy of the group shifted as people reflected their wisdom, verbally affirming and embodying the divine act of trust. I overheard quite a bit of excitement for Dawes. Once they came on stage and started to play, I understood why. They set the bar high and captivated the audience as the stars gained visibility. This sonic journey was smooth and elevating. With folk rock filling the air, it was hard to feel anything but happy.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals were seemingly commanding the wind Saturday night. Grace also announced her pregnancy which was a tender moment for her fans. In solidarity, she briefly touched upon the crises we face collectively. Being that levitation was the theme, I found it respectful that she acknowledged the world at large. Everyone who was lucky enough to be a part of Grand Point North had the privilege to experience the mini utopia that was created that weekend. Taking time to ripple out love far beyond the Green Mountain State was humbling. Her set moved me into a deeper state of gratitude for the glorious network that we can all contribute to in a wide range of ways. The Vermont Community Garden Network is planting literal seeds as artists at Grand Point North watered the mental seeds of human hope. The band closed their set on the drums together, a playfully synergistic dynamic to end their offering on.
Vermont is proud of Potter’s successful career and was honored that she was home for the annual festival. Considering that the Seventh Generation Inc. is down the street from the venue, I was once again reminded how important all of our efforts to co-create a sustainable future are. It is awesome that music was the catalyst for positive social and environmental change. Public interventions that encourage action reassures me that humanity will continue using creativity as tools for transformation. Artists, participants, the volunteers for the non profit organizations, sponsors, Higher Ground staff and operators of Grand Point North make it the truly special occasion that it is. Our commonality, passion for music, once again brought us closer together as a community. Heart sight clarity within each of us harmonizes our lives.
Grand Point North is a platform for new and old friends to connect. In a chaotic world, it was refreshing to be among a group who merged artistic expression with sustainability. The theme this year prompted festival goers to transcend limitations. Thanks to the vital life force energy of love, I can confidently say barriers were broken. Connections were made as dreams for a brighter future were nurtured. To put a phenomenal experience into few words, heart strings were pulled. Topping off both nights with free Ben & Jerry’s was sweet too.