The Rock Star, Bagofest & Aretha Franklin

I know a few female writers and bloggers and they always give their significant other some funny name that is not really his name. I’m not sure why? Other than perhaps to the new reader and/or follower it might make them easily identifiable. Heather, a romance novel writer I met a few years ago, calls her husband “Mr. Heather”. Ally, a blogger who lost a huge amount of weight, calls her boyfriend “The Muscle”.  Well, Ken is just Ken to me, my sweetheart, but I suppose for the new follower we can call him “The Rock Star”.

The Rock Star is a musician. He plays guitar and sings the rock hits we listened to back in the 70’s and 80’s. He’s quite talented, as are his friends that he has band practice with nearly every weekend. They don’t play a ton of gigs, they’re mostly just a bunch of old friends that like to jam and hang out together every weekend. However, they do one major gig every year, and that is Bagofest. Apparently this is the 24th year of Bagofest, but the first that I will be privy to. And it’s TOMORROW! I couldn’t be more excited, because I’ve learned some fun facts about this event. It’s put on by a couple The Rock Star has known for many, many years. They have a couple of live bands, on a stage on their property, with a whole slew of other things going on. There’s a beer truck, with tappers of all sorts of beer, from craft to whatever else the beer lovers like to drink – I wouldn’t know, it’s foreign territory to me as someone who rarely drinks it. There’s fireworks. Not little back yard fireworks, but a massive event like a major city would have on the 4th of July. There’s a bonfire….I’ll leave it at that, but I’ve seen the “pre-stack” and let’s just say they have to keep fire hoses nearby “just in case”. There’s food..and a lot of it. There will even be a food truck on site in addition to what the homeowners whip up themselves.

Who comes to this event? A couple HUNDRED friends. And here’s the kicker…it’s free. What started as a party 24 years ago evolved over time into this huge event that all these people contribute to. The beer is donated. The fireworks are donated. The food is donated. The entertainment is donated. It’s in a rural area of Michigan where they won’t be bothering a soul, the bands get to jam like it’s Pine Knob, and everyone gets to make new friends. People camp out…there’s no drunk drivers leaving this place. My friend Gail aka Cheryl had a birthday this week and is pretty excited as well to be my sidekick and comrade while the Rock Star plays. Not that I wouldn’t be okay without her, I’ve already met a few people besides the band, even communicating with the homeowners via IM on Facebook, and everyone has been super friendly so far. I’m sure she’ll receive the same warm welcome.

After the rush of Bagofest ends, the Rock Star and I have a few days off planned. He’ll be coming to my neck of the woods, the city, to hang out. We joke that he’s the country mouse and I’m the city mouse, but we both seem to really appreciate and love our differences. I can’t WAIT to spend a weekend out in the country and he seems equally excited to get, as he jokes, “culture-fied”. When I learned he was a Star Wars fan, it seemed like it might be fun to go to the travelling Star Wars exhibition they have right now at the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts). So…we’re going and we’re both pretty excited about it. I’ve learned to navigate Detroit pretty well over the years, and as a fan of theatre and the arts, it’s a part of my life I can’t imagine doing without.

Here’s the thing. Aretha Franklin passed away yesterday, at really what I would consider kind of a young age. She might have been the Queen of Soul, but she was also a source of pr636676055426018760-aretha-franklin-atlantic-ride in Detroit. I thought about her a lot last night, and how much her music meant to so many people. And it got me thinking about the Rock Star, and how he says I’m going to “culture-fy” him. But you know what? He already is, whether he knows it or not. So are all those people I’m going to meet tomorrow. Not everyone can sit through a theatre performance, a musical, a Broadway play, or a rock concert. Some people have zero interest in history and museums and art. But one thing that is most certainly true is we are all touched by music.

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. All kinds of it. While genres are certainly a preference, I think most of us can relate to the stuff we listened to in high school, the song we heard at a funeral, wedding, graduation or even during a divorce (“I Will Survive” was playing on the radio when I left the courthouse from my divorce).  We sing sweet songs to babies and children, and incorporate one on every birthday. Couples sometimes have “our song” as do best friends and other close relationships. I can never hear “Two Tickets to Paradise” by Eddie Money without thinking of my invisible friend Roxy and I know it’s true for her, too.

If you listen to music, you’re culture-fied my friend. If you’re lucky enough to be involved in Bagofest in any capacity, you’re pretty blessed to have so many awesome friends. And if you’re human, well, you’ve been touched by the Queen of Soul in some form or other over the last 50 years or so. And if you haven’t…come out from under your rock and I’ll help you pick one of her songs to be your personal anthem.

Rock steady friends, till next time.

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