Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rock Festivals

So, before there were rock festivals,
before there was even rock and roll music, there were rocks!
And way back then, like now, 
fans and enthusiasts of the Stones – Real Stones – 
in all shapes and sizes,often came together to celebrate how much they liked them by erected some amazing megalithic creations.
These people, moved by rocks,
figured out how to move them.
And shape them
And use them
To build all sorts of wonderful structures.
And so, throughout subsequent civilizations, the tradition of developing and promoting the craft of rock and rolling all over the earth ensued.

We like to think of Rocktoberfest as a continuation of this tradition of celebrating stone here in Canada.

Is this such a crazy idea?
Surely not.
We have ribfests, snakefests, mudfests, UFOfests, cheese rolling fests and a myriad of other strange events.

Two photos (above and below) were taken by Sean Adcock
Our passion is to see people come together and build things with rocks, just rocks; not overly technical, precision, machine-sawn, over-engineered edifices built with heavy machinery and involving complicated modern procedures, but rather informal structures and collaborations that promote a communal effort and a sensible approach to building with stone that combines fun with education and creativity.

The structures may be permanent or fleeting. They may be functional or purely aesthetic. Whatever we assemble to build, it is always a celebration, an event, the pleasure from which is shared equally by participants and onlookers. We believe the process is as important and entertaining as the final result. There will be risks, setbacks, changes in design and many surprises along the way, but this is all part of the attraction of the Rocktoberfest projects.

We are not in competition with modern masonry, but looking back longingly at a time when everyone was a lot more used to being around stone and comfortable with seeing it used in all sorts of aesthetic and practical applications. We are looking ahead to a time when people again will draw their inspiration from being close to stone and work with it structurally, not just decoratively.

Are the collaborative constructions we build at our festivals perfect?
Are they a final statement of combined craftsmanship and knowledge?
Are they designed to be an affront to the work of professionals who spend their working lives building permanent structures

They are celebrations in stone. Hopefully inspiring not only those who give of their time to work on them but the members of the public who watch them being made in addition to those who come in the future to see what we have done here.

The spirit behind Roctoberfest may be difficult to get your head around. Our goal is to create a festive atmosphere and showcase a craft that has for too long been mired by the rampant over use of manmade products in our modern environment.

 We all enjoyed working with people this last Rocktoberfest discovering new and old ways to build walls (and arches) without mortar and meet with DSWAC members and some of the growing ranks of skilled wallers who work with stone in Canada and abroad and hopefully add some much needed beauty and character to our human landscape.

The last four photos were taken by Sean Adcock

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