After reading all the post Connect posts on my Facebook and on the Connect Tribe facebook page, I’ve felt compelled to write out my thoughts that have been flooding my brain the past few days. I know I’ve already written about it this year, but this post will be about the years, the memories of Connect past.
I began going to parties here in Winnipeg back in 2001, but I had heard about the old Warehouse parties since the late-nineties. Not having any friends who would have gone with me (as they weren’t the “electronic dance music” types), I never went. I remember listening to 91.1 on Saturday nights and wondering what that kind of life was like. Fast forward to 2000 and I was supposed to go to the first Tranceformers party, about an hour south of the city, but the people I was supposed to go with ditched me and left me without a ride there. Honestly, I think had I gone to that party, it would have been the only one I would have gone to. I didn’t know anyone in the scene at the time and my friends never went back to another one after that time.
I met people in the scene at a local bar and became friends with a few of them, they convinced me to go with them to my first party, “Chemical Attractions”, it was a sweaty mess, but oh so much fun. I met many new people that night who became my friends for the next several years. They also introduced me to #p-raves and #popup, both were online IRC channels that were for the Winnipeg and Saskatchewan rave scenes. There, I met a whole world of new people whom I was and am happy to call my friends. We had the same backgrounds of loving the “underground” music, loved going to “raves” which was frowned upon in regular society.
My first Connect was in 2002, the last year at MacLean’s. I had been convinced by Dan and Randal that I should go, that I would love it. And boy I did. I don’t remember much about that year, but I do remember meeting lots of new Saskatchewan people, getting “lost” with Dan on an evening wander, and dancing under the stars with new and trusted friends. I made sure that I would return the following year. That year was the first year at Besant and I met so many more new people, hung out with the No-Town crew and added so many more memories to the already growing list of memories. The year it rained all weekend and it we only got maybe an hour of sun all weekend (I can’t remember which year that was), dancing in mud to Romeo Kardec at 5am, watching friends dance on the speakers and just about fall off because they were slippery. From tie-dye shirts, to field hangouts with good friends, lots of laughs and hiding in tents from the rain. Being blindsided and tackled by someone from NoTown while sitting on a camping chair and breaking it countless times over the years, to watching Rob wrestle with one of the random guys from NoTown ending up with a goose egg in the middle of his forehead. There are so many more memories that were made and countless number of laughs. 2004 was the year of the megaphones from both Craig and Mich, and a lot of us wanting to scream from our tents at 6am as Mich and Craig asked if “the robots wanted to party?” and that the garbage cans were “made for percussion” as we were all trying to sleep.
I only missed 2006 and 2008, and both of those years, I felt like something out of my summer was “missing” because I wasn’t going home. I haven’t missed since 2009 and would always make sure that I would be able to attend.
I met my current group of friends in 2009, through a couple of people on the now defunct online message board Mixhard. These guys created so many more new memories and Camp Hail Damage was born a few years later. After a couple of years of hanging out with them at Connect, I knew I was supposed to be with them. That this was part of my chosen family. Their weirdness meshed well with mine, although they’re much more weird than I am 😉 The loyalty and love shows through and through with them. Yes, we’re loud and can be overly obnoxious but it wouldn’t be us if we weren’t.
Hanging out at NoTown Bar the past few years was always a highlight of the weekend (“Fuck you Greg Eversoul” will always make me laugh), along with the 7 years of Beer Pong Tournaments and having Kayla as my partner for 6 of the 7. Getting to see countless number of amazingly, talented DJ’s both international and local, dancing until my knees, feet and ankles are so sore and getting to meet some of the best people I’ve ever met and this year meeting so many more new people, I’m happy to call friends. The wanderings between the Temple stage & the Garden and almost always running into someone you knew, trying to see DJ’s who played at the same time but you don’t want to leave one set because you can’t stop dancing.
All of these things I wrote about will forever be engraved in my brain and the pictures I’ve taken over the years will be cherished. Connect has helped shape me into the person I am today, it was my “home away from home” and it always grounded me, I would turn off my phone for 4 days to be able to disconnect from the real world. I would always return home feeling refreshed and ready to face the rest of the summer head on before the “real world” of the regular day to day job (aka the school year) would begin.
Thank you to Jeff and all of the Connect Tribe, (including those people gained and lost over the years) you made a festival worth returning to year after year. It became more of a family reunion for me than a music festival. I would look forward to the weekend where I could see my friends from Saskatchewan and Alberta that I only see once, maybe twice a year. All of your hard work and dedication over 22 years is definitely an accomplishment. To NoTown and Hail Damage for the countless number of laughs and memories, and all the other people I’ve met over the years. Thank you.
Next summer will be different without making that 7 hour drive to go “home” to Connect. There is a new festival in the works called Emotion Arts & Music festival (that I’m more than happy to be helping out with) and I’m really hoping that people come our way this time, to create new and long lasting memories. Because we all have to stick together, and create a new “home”.