Last weekend, we took a little trip down to Melbourne, Florida for the Eighth Annual Native Rhythms Festival sponsored by the Indian River Flute Circle and Native Heritage Gathering, Inc. It was set in Wickham Park, a lovely little wooded park in the midst of an enchanted forest, or so it seemed with the trills of the flutists wafting along on the breezes.
There was something magical about hearing Native Americans playing their tunes that most learned from their forefathers, legendary music passed down through generations, while wandering between the ancient live oaks that flanked the tall pine forest. It set me back in time.
While we were there we browsed the vendors and came across a very kind lady who hand makes drums with different animal skins stretched across the raw hide frames…buffalo hide, deer, and elk. Each drum has its own pitch and tone, depending upon the thickness of the animal skin. Drum circles are popular events around here, especially on the beaches. I wanted one, but I also wanted a new Keurig, and coffee won that battle.
Artists and craftsmen/women had their works displayed throughout the park and the vendors were very friendly, taking the time to teach people about their crafts. I tried to learn how to play a flute. I need a lot of work, but it was fun trying. No trading with beads and shells here, but they take VISA and MasterCard.
But, by far, the coolest exhibit was a real teepee.
The teepee was fashioned from dyed and painted animal hides braced on poles. We hesitated to go inside the tiny doorway, but the gentleman standing by the door told us it was not something we wanted to miss, so we went inside.
He was right. It was stunning, and much larger inside than it appeared from the outside. There were two cots, one on either side, and a large living space adorned with trophy furs and blankets.
The costumes were beautiful and colorful with leather, seed beads and bone. Don’t see too many feathered headdresses with the Florida native attire.
There is a short clip of some of the sort of flute and drum music we heard playing. The weather was perfect and it was a nice day out. BTW, the park is an Omanyte nest right now for all you Pokemon Go players. That’s a very rare and ancient fossilized snail.