Thursday, 20 June 2013
A FRIEND MISSED
Sad news broke today that Sopranos actor James Gandolfini has died aged 51 in Italy.
Sudden death has to be hardest thing for a person's family, friends and colleagues and this great actor's demise reminded me that this time last year we lost a friend in similar circumstances at the festival we visit each year.
Jane Beetrootz, as she was known, was found dead in her van at the end of the event. She was a big woman, with a big heart and there is still a huge gap that can never be filled for us and many of the festie friends at this time of year.
A talented percussionist, she banged her bongos all weekend long, held workshops to teach kids how to play drums and created the beat and rhythm backdrop to the festival which helped to create its unique atmosphere. When she wasn't playing she would drop into our tents and vans for a cuppa and a chat. Everyone loved to see her because she was one of the most popular festival goers there.
Jane also hosted the festival's disco raffle held in aid of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and she was at the first ever Eco Fest as it was called when it began in 1996. It marked the end of an era when the last one was held last year and it was at the end of the end of the festival that Jane was found. She had been reading as she lay in bed, and found book laid across her chest as if she was sleeping. If only she had been.
The couple who organise the festival each year gave Jane a lovely send off for her friends at the event they also hold each year in September, Small World. The photo above shows the other percussionists playing and singing as Jane's ashes were buried in her favourite spot and a memorial space was created for her.
The festival is not on this year and sadly a new Afro-Brazillian drum and dance workshop event was cancelled but we crew who meet up year after year are still going camping at the spot in the rolling hills of the Louth Wolds. No doubt a drink or two or three or five will be had in memory of Jane.
She may not have been as famous as James Gandolfini but she will be just as missed by those who knew her, loved her and were honoured to be counted as one of her friends.
Her memorial event last year also marked a sun-drenched festival. This year, the weather will not be as kind but we are a hardy bunch. I guess the most important thing to remember is the wellies - and hopefully someone will bring a drum and the spirit of Jane with them in every beat.
Or maybe her spirit will be found over a rainbow like this one.