I found out about the Full Moon Jams up at Foster Beach two years ago and I finally make it to my first jam last Monday! It’s not entirely my fault; it seems that every time I tried to go in the past I’ve either had to work or it’s been cancelled due to poor weather conditions (including twice so far this year).
The jam began back in 2004 by a group of friends looking to get together and has grown to become a celebration that brings together a assorted mix of performers, musicians and spectators. Once a month, on a day nearest to the full moon, people gather to watch fire spinners perform to music by local percussionists.
I can’t even begin to explain my excitement leading up to the jam – I honestly had butterflies in my stomach and when I saw the fire from a distance I was about ready to jump out of the car! I made one of my co-workers come check it out with me and he was equally as intrigued to see what we were getting into – and what we were getting into was a completely different subculture! Who knew there were this many hippies hangin out in Chicago?!
As the sun set and the full moon rose, dozens of fire dancers ignited their fans, poles, pois, & hula-hoops and performed to the crowd of onlookers gathered around. They burned to the beat of the nearby drum circle made-up of local musicians (and when I say ‘musicians’ I really mean ‘anyone who brought a drum along with them’). Everyone was welcome to join in on creating the shared rhythm or they could jump inside the circle and dance with no inhibition – freedom of self-expression at its finest! There were drums of all sizes, maracas, raddles, people howling and even a tuba. A 7-year-old stood next to a 70-year-old, both with grins going from ear-to-ear. For two hours, I watched in amazement, as they twisted-and-twirled their flaming props, crack a fiery whip and breathed giant puffs of blazing fire into the sky. Here are some snapshots from the jam…
A mesmerizing Monday – if I must say so myself! I’m already looking forward to next month’s Full Moon Jam…and looking for drum as well :)
Would you jump inside a drum circle and dance like no one’s watching?