RelaxPansion Organizer Lloyd Barde Talks Music, Love and Life Philosophies
One of the casualties of the pandemic has been music festivals in southern Oregon. With mainstays like Apple Jam missing-in-action, one of the few standing festivals is RelaxPansion, a three day old-school hippie festival, complete with goddess temples and fireside jams, and a few dozen musicians. For some insights to the event, the Messenger caught up with Festival Conductor Lloyd Barde.
June 24 – 26, Jackson Wellsprings, Ashland. Tickets available at RelaxPansion.com
Rogue Valley Messenger: You’ve been at this game for a while. Forty years! If you could travel back in time to when you started producing concerts and festivals, any advice you would give yourself?
Lloyd Barde: Get help!
RVM: You attended college at the University of Washington in the late 60s, a time associated with the genesis of music festivals, like Monterey Pop and, of course, Woodstock. Did those events plant any seeds for you about what you wanted to do when you “grew up”?
LB: Music, all music and only work with friends. Plus, no guarantees have become my “norms.”. “Stand your ground …. and surrender every inch” is my motto, and becoming a Conscientious Objector.
RVM: Forty years in the business is a marathon. What keeps hosting and promoting festivals fresh for you?
LB: Let’s say my passion for music, and turning people on to artists that I love, and a sense of showmanship as I’ve learned over time to be a fine Host/MC by genuinely welcoming and thanking everyone as they arrive, offering relaxed connection and intimacy throughout!
RVM: Looking at the lineup for RelaxPansion, can you point us to a few musicians that are a bit further down the line—not the headliners—and tell us why you are excited they are part of the event?
LB: Two duos from Nevada City will share an extra long set, playing as duos and foursomes and exchanging songs and instruments. Bright Blue & Honey of the Heart. Great friends and couple, too! Shylah Ray is a superb songwriter. Donna de Lory toured for 20 years as one of two backup singers and lead dancers with Madonna, and I’ve done annual concerts with Donna since 2004! Snow Raven of Olox is from N. Siberia, growing up in -90 degrees and learning all animal and bord sounds to which she adds dance beats and voice rhythms.
RVM: As I understand it, you relocated to southern Oregon about four years ago. That is tough timing, in terms of promoting live events. During the “down-time” are there one or two particular lessons that really stood out to you—and that you are excited to implement with this June’s RelaxPansion?
LB: Yes, I actually “invented” RelaxPansion as a body of work that allows both full breathing and spreading awareness out, up and around. After the festival there will be a book, website and classes about this “body of work.” Fun to “invent something!
RVM: Can you compare hosting a festival in the Ashland area versus Marin County/San Francisco-area? Different challenges or virtues?
LB: Less population, less traffic, more competition for audiences, and the ability to “think more quietly” here in our forever home Ashland!
RVM: What does RelaxPansion mean?
LB: This is an ongoing, ever revealing body of work “invented” by festival conductor Lloyd Barde. This phrase emerged from my own lifetime commitment to and study of personal disarmament, dissolving separation, and discovering what might occur when we truly become present, and fully here! Three principles: One, relaxation is the key (all ways just a breath away…). Two, curiosity is the cure (I wonder what’s going to happen!). And, three, everything is a reason to Open Your Heart (nothing is a reason to close your Heart).