Tomorrow I fly to Dawson Creek on a twin-engined, medium-range turboprop to emcee the Sweetwater 905 Arts and Music Festival at Rolla, B.C. This annual weekend festival, held on the grounds of the Mattson Family ranch, features music, poetry and visual art by “the community, the province and beyond.”
The last time I saw Dawson was in 1972, when my mother sent me from Port Edward, B.C., where we spent part of our summers, to my aunt at Edmonton. It was on the windy, blue-skied nothingness of the Dawson airport tarmac that the flight attendant walked me from a smaller plane to a larger DC3. (I will never forget that walk.)
A more recent visit to the Peace took place in 1998, during a reading tour organized by poets Barry McKinnon of the College of New Caledonia and G.P. Lainsbury of Northern Lights College (G.P. will be reading at Sweetwater this year). It was at Fort St. John's North Peace Cultural Centre that I met Emilie and her sons Dean (who did the tractor/sun/barn logo for this year's festival) and Karl, whose exhibitions opened that night at the gallery adjacent to my reading.
I am looking forward to seeing the Mattson Family again. The last time we ganged together was at Edmonton, where our mutual friend Brian Jungen had an opening at the AGA and we were invited to the dinner. It was fun catching up with the Mattsons, just as it will be fun seeing them on their home turf, at Rolla. But even more fun because Brian will be there too, fresh from the most recent exhibition of his work (his dog run piece below) at Documenta 13.