The Woodstock Fruit Festival Leaves Camp Walden
- by Ronnie Smith
I wrote this while leaving on the bus this year and thought I would shared it with you:
Leaving the Woodstock Fruit Festival 2022 I leave a piece of me behind.
I have not cried in a while but today I was sobbing when I left the camp.
Rumours had circulated all week that the Woodstock Fruit Festival, the world’s biggest event celebrating the raw vegan lifestyle, would be leaving Camp Walden for good. This ends an 11 year connection with the Camp.
For me, I have attended the festival each time it was at this camp, from 2012 to 2022. The 2020 Covid Lockdowns were the only year the festival did not run in that time.
Over that time, Camp Walden became sacred ground for me. Returning to the festival each year was like a pilgrimage and I felt like prostrating on my knees to kiss the ground when I showed up. I would fill with joy and an energy of well being just on arriving at the camp.
This place was an anchor for me each year. Whatever went on in my life the week at the Woodstock Fruit Festival at Camp Walden was a shining jewel I waited patiently for.
The festival has been paradise on earth. A nirvana of positive energy, beautiful intentions, smiles, hugs and gratitude. I would often have my best conversations of the year at the festival…often on just the first day.
It is a gathering of like minded people on the path to live the good life. A life of health, happiness, freedom and peace. Often, those on that path are at odds with a world constantly accelerating towards personal and planetary destruction. Finding other like minded people on this path and being able to spend time with them for a week at such a beautiful place was a heavenly experience.
Too many people in the world line up to be offered solutions to their health and lifestyle issues that simply don’t work. Attention, energy, money and human time pours towards industries that are not solving the problems they are meant to help eradicate.
At Woodstock, we learn that turning to nature is often our best choice. Returning to the proverbial Garden of Eden can bring us back to harmony on earth. We can once again walk on Earth as part of the world of nature.
For many people this place has been a vortex. A portal. A place of transformation. A place to be reborn. A place to heal, stretch, grow, ascend. Growth is not always a nice feeling and many of us have been through intense experiences at the festival also. But this is just the other side to the richness of the event.
I have attended 2 weddings at the festival. 2 memorials celebrating the lives of beloved friends that passed. I have watched the progression of babies becoming children and children becoming young adults. I have seen friends go from dead broke, living in a garage or on the couches of friends to travelling the world making great sums of money through inspiration they received at the festival. It has changed lives in so many ways.
This year had so many moments of bliss. They seem very simple when written down. Deepening friendships and connections. Sitting in the sun by the lake. Singing with Kirsten, Skye and other friends. Dancing at the sugar cane parties. Camp fires. A few great conversations walking around the lake. Pickleball with Dev in the mornings. Gathering together out of the rain. Simple moments…but absolutely rich and divine moments at the same time.
Sometimes I would just sit and bask in the wonder of just being around so many wonderful people. What a wonderful tribe we are.. How lucky I am to be here. Does Woodstock make it easy to appreciate and love people or are the people that go easy to love?
Tim Van Order used to say, for him it was the “Woodstock Awesome People Festival”.I have accumulated many great moments of my life here. I hope I can look back throughout my life and continue to benefit from the rich memories and continue to receive sustenance from these times.
The friendships and connections go deep and have an impact that will last decades and probably a lifetime. Meeting people in real life is always a more impactful experience that lasts so much longer.
You might ask why does it sound like I am talking past tense?The festival has plans to continue and move to Florida. There is a good chance it may get even better now.This is all true. But there is still a part of me that feels like something has ended. Like an inner child that is still confused and hasn’t understood the situation yet.
I experienced some surprisingly intense emotions on leaving. I was sad to miss the Fruitluck in central park which I would always try to stay for, and had I known it would be the last one would definitely had made an extra effort.
It has always been hard to explain and describe this event for those who have not attended. It absolutely baffled me that the event was not full every year with raw vegans from the US.I had knew of so many raw vegans from very close to the camp that had never attended. It really made no sense to me. How could people willingly miss out on this?
One thing I have learned is that fruit brings good people together. Perhaps fruit also brings the best out of people.
Sometimes the universe opens up its hand and puts a golden opportunity in your path. Paradise, nirvana, a heaven on earth are yours for the taking. I’m proud to say I was able to accept that opportunity every year.
The goddess of life offered me the magic elixir of Woodstock and I drank my fill every year. My cup overflowed. I was anointed in its sweet waters (or perhaps it was sugar cane juice?).
Long live the Woodstock Fruit Festival and Camp Walden.
I look forward to new adventures and horizons in Florida.
Do not miss it!
10 time Woodstock Fruit Festival Attendee
I wrote this while leaving on the bus this year and thought I would shared it with you: Leaving the Woodstock Fruit Festival 2022 I leave a piece of me behind. I have not cried in a while but today I was sobbing when I left the camp. Rumours had circulated all week that the…