April 12, 2018

As I write this, I have got the protests against Kinder Morgan pipeline going into the ground in British Columbia, Canada, on my mind.

What often come with protests are fund raisers to support or maintain the environment or whatever else is threatened.

The following is a report I did on a dance fund raiser at Beaver Point Hall in the south end of Salt Spring Island, BC.  It was to raise money to maintain the land that was threatened to be clear cut  on the island around the turn of the century:

Spotlight : a weekly supplement to the Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, March 1, 2000


by Tanya Lester

By 1:30 a.m. last Sunday morning, Woodstop had raised close to $6000 for Texada land acquisition. Everywhere there was song and celebration while Beaver Point Hall floor shook under the feet of those dancing on a pulsing musical energy wave created by the Carrot Revolution.

Described as a community music festival, there could have been little doubt to approximately 500 people attending that it lived up to its publicity with 28 performances by mostly local musicians and actors.

First up on the dance floor just after 4 p.m. Saturday were three pre-schoolers, who did an impromptu butterfly to Stone Circle’s fiddle music.

These wee ones first focussed their interest on the performers, when big people pretending to be little people raucously danced out onto the floor.

There big hairy unruly fellows turned out to be none other than the “dwarves”, still hanging out on Salt Spring long after they made their debut in the Christmas pantomime, Sleeping Beauty and the Eight Dwarves.

Maybe they were enticed by Susheela, who directed the pantomime and hosted Woodstop. The dwarves would have to wander a long time in any forest to find a willow more wispy than the one Susheela portrayed.

Whatever their motivation for being there, the dwarves were shocked when they ran across only stumps where their forest once had been. Momentarily dismayed, they soon recovered and proved themselves to be men of action as they encouraged everyone to write letters to those in power about clear-cutting and handed out pine cones to all the kids and adults within arm’s reach.

Then, the performers kept on coming.

There was Mary Applegate singing about those who don’t feel they need to answer to anyone when they cut down trees.

The duo called North and South sany about touching the “sacred tree” without cutting it down and reminding everyone that you cannot eat money.

James Wilkinson and Arvid Chalmers proved they were as comfortable with musical instruments as they are on stage acting. “The only thing people should cut down on Salt Spring is their smoking,” Wilkinson quipped.

By the time tantalizing aromas began wafting out of the kitchen in preparation for the potluck feast, people were starting to chat.

One talked about artist Leslie Corry’s beautiful stage backdrop displaying the artistic version of a forest with a naked woman dancing in it.

“We see (the beauty) every day when we look around us,” reminded another who has been camping at the site off Musgrave Road which started in protest against Texada Land Corporation (TLC) loggers’ use of Crown land without an access permit.

Dick Willmott, a retired math professor from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, and his wife Jill Willmott, sat on one of the benches as the entertaining night was warming up.

They said they moved to Salt Spring half a year ago because of the island’s beauty, its caring sense of community and its slower pace.

Fearing their reasons for re-locating here might be jeopardized if clear-cutting continues on TLC property and perhaps spreads to Channel Ridge which is near their home, they have signed the petition asking the provincial government for stronger environmental legislation.

They also quickly attend land acquisition fundraising events such as Woodstop. They plan on becoming Salt Spring Land Conservancy members, too.

The evening turned into night. People came, went and returned.

Chalmers led the auction. As well, Robert Bateman posters adorning the walls near the

hall entrance were donated for the silent auction.

Deb Toole performed an operatic treat that compelled one man to marvel out loud about the evening’s wonderful musical variety and a community that can provide all these innovative variations.

Robert Osborne, who has worked hard as a facilitator and spokesman for those opposed to the clear-cutting , got on stage to present Susheela with flowers for her contribution to the evening’s success. Osborne went on to thank all the women who have expended and will continue to expend energy to this cause, including Devon Guest, Sandra Hunter and Aylwin.

Then, everyone got down to serious dancing with one tight band after another, starting with Simone Grasky belting it out in juxtaposition with the nice little hand movements and mike handling that goes with every song she sings.

The Escape Goats did an excellent set, too, with the super voices of Tonya Horoky and Sarah Morris blending rock, folk and blues.

(It would be a good thing to hear them around more often.)

Earthmen were tight and bright with a lot of orange and a drummer who imitated Arvid Chalmers imitating a hippie rock musician when Chalmers did the Hysterical Society’s Paradise Lots play last summer.

These boys with Gulf Islands roots have really got it together. Their music penetrated the dance floor and everyone was up moving and grooving.

By the time Carrot Revolution tuned up, most of the middle-aged rockers had drifted off but there was still a large group of dancers determined not to miss the ethereal rock of this fabulous Vancouver band with its roots deep in Salt Spring soil.

A quibble about the event: once the serious dance music got going, it would have been preferable for it to stay that way. To intersperse the bands with more introspective artists towards the end of the night was probably not the best way to do things.

There was a real mix of talent at Woodstop. Some were obviously not as far along in their artistic careers as others, but Woodstop had an incredible energy flow created by Salt Spring people both on and off stage.

It’s a good bet that Woodstop was a lot more fun than running up your gambling debts in Las Vegas could ever be.


Tanya Lester, BA and master tea leaf reader, has been doing tea leaf reading, tarot readings, psychic channeling, mediumship and gypsy readings for more than one decade in Canada, the USA and Europe. She is also a Reiki master and a fulltime housesitter. For more information go to her web site: teareading.wordpress.com or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.  To book an appointment for a reading or a housesit, text/message or call 250-538-0086 or email: tealeaf.56@gmail.com

Tanya’s books are : Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader, Friends I Never Knew, Dreams and Tricksters as well as Women Rights/Writes.

To read my posts on this blog of eclectic writings on a wide range of topics by and about Tanya, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com






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