|Yes, this really is in Bannerman Park. Look at all those smiling faces.|
On Saturday August 29th, 2015 I got to see Bannerman Park transformed into a riot of joy. In one corner of the newly restored Victorian park there were happy people bouncing off each other safely as they were encased in giant plastic balls like hamsters. There was face painting, fire twirling, a bouncy castle, a splash pad and a swimming pool going full tilt. But animating it all were the driving and alternating floating sounds of dance music. It had the feel-good ambiance of a Woodstock music festival minus the drugs and alcohol. I danced for nearly three hours in the sunshine and shade with strangers– from grandparents to kindergarten aged children. What made all this happen?
It was Neon Satori that was "rocking the house" from 11 in the morning to 10 at night. I credit the group for supplying feel good vibes that included all ages and mammals in attendance as well as providing alternative activities like painting on supplied canvas with brushes. Others on the sidelines played Frisbee to the music.
After ten, the party moved to a downtown nightclub called Levels, where I am told the after party lasted until 6 a.m. I can only speak first hand about the park event where wave after wave of D.J.s took over the turn tables, sound boards and speakers to create music that could be heard from one end of the park to another–if the wind was blowing in the right direction. I smiled when I was speaking with staff from the T.D. Bank who were handing out ice cold water and Italian soda for a donation that went to Easter Seals when they said, "we wish we were closer to the music".
One senior citizen commented to me that he had never seen so many people in downtown St. John's happily together in one place. "Haven't heard a yell or a smack all day".
|The park's new splash pad.|
I think the City of St. John's should be congratulated for organizing an event that brought together all genders and generations in a relatively cost free event. Everybody was there from Nan to the new baby and the family puppy. Some brought picnics, others fetched pizza. You could buy a Beaver Tail from the new kiosk. Maybe we could invite Obama next time. (I still remember how smitten he was with the Beaver Tails in Ottawa.) One young couple had returned from a local Vietnamese restaurant with duck and noodles, which they generously shared with me. We joked that you used to have to go to a big city to get this kind of experience but not anymore. This summer I am staying home and pretending I am a tourist.
More about Neon Satori: Neon Satori is a non-profit group of like-minded people whose mission is to give people a fun, educational, exciting experience that is alternative and different from what is being provided in the clubs downtown. They focus on holistic health and well-being, alternative and new music, showcasing local artists and creating an atmosphere where people of all ages and walks of life can get together and act as a community of friends and family.
Neon Satori focuses on responsible activities and looking out for each other. They do not advocate any type of dangerous activity or getting “wasted”. Responsibility is very important in setting a good example for newcomers to the events. All acts, performances and the time of the Neon Satori group is by volunteer. Donations are accepted at the events in order to cover the overhead costs and to keep the ball rolling on new and improved events for the community.
I say, "Amen to that!"