A Family Affair – By Joy Rose

This year, like every year, brought changes to the Mamapalooza Festival landscape. New artists appeared like Ruth Cassie, all the way from Toronto, The Silly Dilly Band and Meg’s Melodies along with some old favorites like the Swingset Mamas and Moey’s Music Party, who kicked in great energy and vibes.

Festivals across the country, in cities like Columbus, Ohio and Pleasanton, CA found themselves in new larger venues, while we saw seven successful years in partnership with Westchester NY Parks Dept. come to a close –This year’s Kensico Dam event completed a great run after changes to the Westchester Office For Women and budget issues forced us to decide this year would be our last in that location.

While ‘change is good’, I often find it challenging to adapt to new roles gracefully, so I am the one lumbering, jerking and twitching towards fresh goals and destinations. (or, hula-hooping – see photo)

Swingset Mamas, Joy Rose and Friends Dancing

Some of the most recent developments in Mama-Land include forward-focus on the Museum Of Motherhood and a commitment to a physical location for exhibits and programming in NYC in 2011. It will be my job to slowly morph from Mamapalooza maven into a more active role as Executive Director of M.O.M., which has been a tandem activity anyway for the last three or four years.

Lynn Kuechle, Director of Programming for M.O.M. has already started planning for a fall conference on ‘Creativity and Motherhood’ in Minnesota, October 26-28, on the heels of our most successful conference to date at Marymount Manhattan College May 23-25 in NYC, and our goals will include two M.O.M. conferences a year moving forward.

There are so many people to thank with regard to this year’s Mamapalooza and M.O.M. events. The performers, emcees, exhibitors, sponsors and members of our immediate Mama-Family, like Laura Tropp of MMU, Paula Caracappa of PPC Group, Carol Lester and Pilley Bianchi of MamaPUBlooza music publishing who pushed through a Compilation Kids CD at record speed (See ‘Player’ to listen, bottom of Mamapalooza homepage) with Plum District as a partner and my ever-constant comrades Suzanne Dawson, Stephanie Schleicher and Amy Andrews.

One of the most significant things I noticed this year as I traveled from event to event and program to program, was the presence of children not only as festival goers, but as conference participants; sometimes swaddled, breast feeding or sweetly in tow – as stage performers singing back-up, sharing embraces or playing instruments with their families on stage and, as in the case of my three college age sons, and high school daughter, contributors who facilitated transportation, set-up and general help.

To me this is the core of everything we do; Creating an environment for families to not only enjoy each other, but to encourage ongoing dialogue about motherhood, family dynamics, feminism, education and so much more. Passing the torch to the next generation so they see first hand the passion we bring to our individual and collective voice(s), while including them and encouraging them to participate in our endeavors exposes them to a lasting legacy of empowerment and support. Ultimately, for ourselves, and our children, our future belongs to feminist family values and a sense that ‘the family who plays together, stays together’. That is our greatest and most lasting success.

Please stay tuned and if you’re looking to get involved find out more at Motherhood Museum.org or MamaZip.com

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