By Kevin Alan Lamb
His name is Atticus Richardson; he’s seven-years-old, lives in Richmond, VA, and he’s my dance partner. If you’re so fortunate, you may discover him busting a move in his Dino glow suit at 4848 Festival on Snowshoe Mountain, in Snowshoe, WV. When Atticus hears music he feels it in his heart, and it makes him want to dance (sounds familiar).
He was doing just that when our fates intertwined at the Village Stage during Keller & The Keels on Friday of Labor Day weekend 2021. We recognize our own on this journey, and I saw the best pieces of myself, and our world in this young man. He embodied the spirit of what I can best describe as a dino-bear, bubbling over with joyous roars, as he chased me through the crowd in our embraced understanding of scare-dance. I showed him a few of my moves, and graciously borrowed one or two from his bag. At the time I was working, on call as one of the eight stagehands responsible for building, loading, unloading, transitioning, and tearing down every set on each of the two main stages (Sky Stage, Village Stage).
Thankfully, this allowed me the grace of float time and space during performances. Set times between the two stages were conveniently staggered, allowing attendees to see every act, if they so choose. While I was admittedly a bit intimidated to work as a stagehand at a major music festival for the first time, working with mostly new faces, I found myself right at home under blue skies, a shining sun, in the bosom of Snowshoe Mountain Resort, joined by thousands of humans who love and celebrate the very music my heart and soul are tuned to; all the while dancing on the job with a young Jeddhi named Atticus.
He attended his first music festival in July of 2020, also at an altitude of 4,848 feet; and assures me he will be able to confirm whether or not the third time is in fact, the charm, after he attends again in 2021. Some of Atticus’ favorite bands include Tom Petty, Talking Heads, Ramones, and the Jurassic Park Soundtrack. He recommends 4848 to other kids, saying “Yes! Because then you get to see all of the dancing kids.”
If the written word doesn’t convince you, Atticus’ parents made a highlight reel of their time together at 4848, within which I was lucky enough to make an appearance, and can be seen here. Touring life and home life can come at a stark contrast, when I find myself feeling lonesome, I look at the picture Atticus drew for me, hanging on my wall. It depicts him and I dancing with the words “Thank you for dancing with me 67 Kevin at 4848, from Atticus.”
I don’t know who needs to hear it right now, but I’m guessing we all do at least a little bit; Even on the heaviest days, we have access to joy, hope, and love if and when we open ourselves to it. Sometimes that means turning off the television, picking up the phone, and talking to a friend who believes in you, your gifts, who gives you the nudge you need.
The truth is we’re only as lonely as we allow ourselves to be. Goodness is everywhere, and it needs our helping hands, hopeful hugs, subtle gestures, and commitment to one another. In its embrace comes righteous remedy for pains which ache. We are the answer we seek; the love we need; and the dance partner we’re grateful for, as they ensure you will never have to dance alone, because we are together in spirit; especially when it doesn’t feel like it. It seems perhaps now is the time to trust love, at 4,848 feet, below, and above.