In a vibrant kaleidoscope of colour, the light-hearted ringing of laughter and the groovy notes of live music, the first annual Midsummer Night’s Dream Colour Festival began! Held at Hamilton, Ontario’s lush gardened Gage Park; the colourful festival was put together by Pure Creation Institute with the sole purpose of spreading good will, peace, and positive energy.
When my friend Joanna and I first arrived at the park, we were greeted by the warm rays of the sun and a throng of happy and needless to say multi-coloured people. Scoping out the scene, we found various tents offering: food and beverages (including some delicious green smoothies from Green Smoothie Bar Hamilton), powdered dyes, tarot readings and the visionary works of local artist Amber L. Colbear. Pleasant chatter and the live musical performances of: Hachey the Mouthpiece, Vincent Tompa’s Rhythm Church, Live How You Live, David Cucuz and Social Animals danced on the summer breeze, and added a pleasantly rhythmic air to the day.
A sign hanging in the dye tent simply read: “Paint Toss Every Half Hour”, and as we were curious to find out what it was all about, we purchased our packets of dye, and waited for the next throw. After a break in the live music, all of the festival goers were asked to make their way out to the middle of the field, where after counting down from ten we all spiritedly threw our rainbow of dyes to the wind, and ultimately, at each other. The aftermath: a psychedelic cloud swirling over a now barren yellow and purple streaked field—save for a few festival goers smearing the remnants of their dyes on their unassuming friends.
The event was inspired by Holi, an annual Hindu festival also known as “The Festival of Colours” that takes place in March to welcome and celebrate the new life, energy and colours of the spring season. The Hindu legend which Holi is based on is a tale of the demoness Holika, who tried to kill Prahlad, the son of the demon king Hiranyakashyap, for refusing to worship his father. Instead, Holika is consumed by flames, which is replayed each year with bonfires and effigies, before the celebrants break out the gulal (powdered dyes) and the joyous antics of the festival.
It is now a day later and although I’m still trying to wash out the rainbow of colours from my hair and clothes, getting the chance to spend the day outside in a beautifully manicured park surrounded by century old towering trees, blooming flower beds and a group of like-minded, positive people was totally worth the colourful souvenir. The vividly hued festival was a success, as it turned out to be innocently fun, oddly liberating and, at least for one afternoon, it gave us all the chance to break free from the ties of adulthood and connect to the young and playful spirit of our youth.