Songs about Blue Skies
Blue Skies All Around
This is a wonderful song about Blue Skies from one of our very own talented musicians, Dave Tilston. You can often find Dave playing until very late in the evening around the campfires.
“It is somewhat of a tradition with Blue Skies that we start our organizing meetings with a song. When I was asked to choose something to kick off our annual planning retreat in 2017, I wasn't sure what I'd do. I had some ideas about songs that might fit the occasion but nothing felt quite right. So, I decided to try writing something that captured how I, and hopefully others, felt about Blue Skies. I wanted something everyone could sing along with because we're all better when we sing and make music together. This song is the result. I hope it captures some of those things below the surface that make Blue Skies such a special place. I hope it brings some Blue Skies to you on a cloudy day. I hope it reminds each of us how we can make our world away from Blue Skies a bit better everyday. It was a joy to write and more than that to play and sing with fellow organizers and friends.”
- Dave Tilston (Mar. 2017)
One Of Us
We usually begin and end meetings of the large Organizing Group of Blue Skies with a song. Often it has been Magoo serenading us with one of his originals. More recently, Dave Tilston has created a number of songs that celebrate some aspect of our music festival, Kids' Arts Camp, Adult Music Camp or even our beloved Kubota tractor.
There are always some people at The Retreat who are there for the first time. I have always thought that it must be daunting for them. Everybody else seems to know everybody else. I wanted to write something that would make them feel welcome, make them feel that even though they may be new, they are now "one of us". And I wanted that feeling to be extended to every person who had given up their weekend to come to The Retreat to help plan a music festival.
I wanted a song that I could quickly teach to others, a song that would have a chorus everyone could join in on. Joan Osborne's 1995 hit One of Us came to mind (actually written by a guy named Eric Bazilian - and yes, he has written a "Bazilian" songs).
The lyrics explain a bit about our process of listening to everyone and eventually coming to a consensus, about how we enjoy each other's company in shared meals and informal parties, about what a diverse bunch of people make up the Organizing Group and about how each person's unique contribution helps to make Blue Skies "The World's Greatest Festival". Most importantly, the song tells every single person that they are valued, that "We're so glad you're one of us".
This song had its world premier performance at the end of our planning sessions on Saturday, February 22, 2020 at Camp Merrywood in Port Elmsley, Ontario. It was performed by a hastily put together collection of musicians and singers including Dale Driver (guitar), Dave Tilston (mandolin), Deb Chatreau (ukelele), Eva Peringer (vocals), John Sedgwick (vocals) and Gord McDiarmid (keyboard and vocals). The song was very well received.
- Gord McDiarmid (May 2020)
Blue Skies Hallelujah
Another great song about Blue Skies penned by our former Legal Hat, Gord McDiarmid. It is played to the tune of Leonard Cohen's famous "Hallelujah".
“From 2003-2005, Blue Skies was working hard on planning how to become and how to be landowners of the Festival site. As the lawyer for Blue Skies during that period (officially known as "The Legal Beagle") I was very involved in the mechanics of the transfer. I had also been very involved with the fundraising effort to allow Blue Skies to buy The Land.
As we approached our annual retreat in early March 2006 at which the formal transfer of The Land would take place, I felt a strong sense of relief that the future of Blue Skies was at least somewhat assured for the foreseeable future. I felt some pride that Blue Skies would be the first music festival in Canada (as far as we knew) to own its festival site. Finally, I was feeling gratitude for what Blue Skies had been and excitement about how this change would move us as an organization. I felt the urge to write something to commemorate the event and to celebrate the fabulousness of Blue Skies.
At the time, I was still in the thrall of k d lang's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". That word struck me as the perfect one to express how I was feeling about the whole thing and it wasn't long before "Blue Skies Hallelujah" found its way onto a piece of paper. I thought that it would only be heard once - by the people at the Retreat that year, but the reaction was bigger than I expected and I was asked to do it on the stage at the Festival that summer. I recruited Magoo, Andy Rush and Kevin Head to play it with me. Then, on the tenth anniversary of Blue Skies becoming the owner/caretaker of The Land in 2016, I was asked to do the song again on the Sunday night. Magoo and Dave Tilston joined me. By that time, I had four granddaughters there at the Festival, so the last verse was particularly poignant for me.
Thanks, Lenny (Cohen) for turning a blind eye to this blatant theft of your incredible song.”
- Gord McDiarmid (Mar. 2017)