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Яркий свет русских костров


“A Russian Campfire Burns Brightest”


By: Brendan Carruthers


On the 9th of May, two days before Mother’s Day, I was lucky enough to take part in a Russian music festival just outside Temecula, Calif. with my family. We arrived at the campground to meet a group called, “Time Presses.” The group consisted of seven other families which we shared two campsites with. We proudly hung our banner above the campgrounds. 

            I was immediately immersed in the campground world, as music flowed into my ears from the groups around us. All around the area, men and women sat and talked with each other. Though their Russian words escaped me, their tone reflected the blissfulness in the fresh air.

             As the sun went down, the dark forest was illuminated by sudden pinpricks of light that grew stronger and materialized into campfires. This gave me a new look into how many people were there, as well as peaking my curiosity. The campground was perfect for any type of activity, be it running, hiking, singing, playing music or just relaxing.

            The beautiful campgrounds were host to one of the most passionate of concerts I have seen. As if there was not enough incentive for the performers to play, we arrived on Victory Day, the day that Russia and the Allied Forces defeated Germany. And so Victory Day was forever dedicated to the men who gave their lives for freedom. That night, the men and women sang for their fallen comrades as my uncle, aunt, cousin, parents and I put up the tents and prepared for the night. For the three days we spent there, we saw many performances, especially ones that involved the guitar. We went to see the performances on the stage, but also heard many more that were played casually by the fireside.

            After the more traditional music that was played on Victory Day, the bands played folktale songs and originals. The passion with which they played was truly stunning to everyone. Though I could not understand their words, I followed their emotions through the songs, and felt the ripples that their words left every time they strummed a chord. Their talent in music was surpassed only by their gift of storytelling. Some of the best moments at that festival were the ones spent by the fireside at night, gathered around in a circle listening as stories were told. They were about many things, including past life experiences and folktales. We listened intently, though these stories kept us up very late, making it difficult to arise early in the morning.

            The great company of “Time Presses” mixed with the event made a powerful combination. Due to their kindness and willingness to inform, I learned more about Russian culture there than anywhere I have ever gone. We met many new people there and became good friends. It was an experience that I would not have missed for the world. I will eagerly await new chances to continue my lessons on Russian culture. These events are good opportunities to immerse oneself in a different world. But don’t tarry, remember, time presses.