Taco ‘Bout It: A Little Help From My Friends

by Taco Olmstead

(photo of Mad Tea Party Jam 3 by Jeff Myers)

Another year is coming to a close, a new chapter is ready to be written. The last couple of days in the year is always a time of reflection for me. I try to remember clearly, the good times, the bad times, and why it is that I persist on the path I have chosen.


.The times of light were brilliant, the dark times, although full of sadness there was also a glimmer of light found there, and always in the hearts of our friends. When we are at our lowest points, those who care for us, love us, generously reach out. It is these moments that I find myself reflecting on the most.


There is not a community or family, or so it seems, that went unscathed this past year from the plague of heroin addiction. I personally lost at least a dozen friends and acquaintances, members of our community to the deadly grip of heroin. I know many of you lost many, some more, some less, but all the same, your heart carries the burden of losing someone. It is never easy, it never becomes less hurtful, but together we all carried on and moved forward. There was light that came from this darkness as well.


This year, at The Mad Tea Party Jam we all thought about what we could do to help make a difference. We enacted sobriety workshops and designated a sober camping area. Did it help? I hope so and I would like to think so. If we could just plant a seed in the heart of someone who is suffering, that may just save a life. We are moving forward in 2016 by offering more sober spaces at our little festival, increasing the amount of recovery workshops in order to let people know that we care and we want to help. We are a family aren’t we?


The workshop space at The Mad Tea Party Jam this year will be created by some very special people, so we hope you participate in this integral part of our festival experience. Shannon Shine, Christopher Closson and Ashton Robertson, creators, founders and operators of Project Bring Me to Life have served as a beacon to our community. There has never been a time that these folks have not shined like stars when I needed a lift. They are an example of how a world is more vibrant, simply because they exist. If you’re ever looking for a boost, check out their project, I’m sure you’ll find something there to soothe your soul. You can view their website here: http://www.projectbringmetolife.com/.


I think back to some of my more personal struggles this past year and the outpouring of love that came from so many of you. There were so many times when we wanted to throw in the towel, surrender to the pressures of the outside world and just shut down the magazine and festival. None of you would have it and from hugs, to simple thank you’s, you enabled us to tighten our belts, pick our chins up and face the day with a renewed energy and hope, and for that we thank you.


I could go on and on about so many wonderful people I am blessed to have in my life. My wife, my children, housemates, friends, artists, my life is abundant with warm, loving energy. 2015, it was a rough year, but with friends and loved ones like mine, like you, we made short work of the obstacles. I look forward to how we as a community, together will move forward in 2016 and continue changing our world.

Do more, take less and remember, Love is an action word, so let’s get to work!