Cavalcade of Volkswagen Vans en route to Mariposa

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vwBusDon’t be surprised if you experience a flashback to another era at Mariposa Folk Festival this year. With music icons that defined a generation like Arlo Guthrie, Randy Bachman and Murray McLauchlan setting the mood, it would be easy to let you mind drift back to an earlier time. But, when you see the large collection of Volkswagen Vans camping at the Festival site this year, you’re bound to think you’ve stepped back in time, by three or four decades.

During the past few years, the number of VW Van owners at Mariposa Folk Festival has been growing, but this year the Festival is expecting a lot more now that smaller recreational vehicles are allowed to camp at the festival. Expectations are especially high since owners of Volkswagen Westfalia Vans, ‘westies’ as they fondly call them, are organizing. They plan to descend on Mariposa Folk Festival in numbers, and they have even set up a Facebook event called Busses at Mariposa to enlist more recruits.

vwBus1So far, they are expecting vans from New Jersey, Québec, New Brunswick, and from numerous communities across Ontario. Some of these ‘westies’ are vintage vehicles dating from the 1960’s through to the 1980’s. All of them have proud, wandering owners. Some bring their kayaks and paddle out to the point to listen to the great music on Mariposa’s daytime stages while floating on beautiful Lake Couchiching. Several are musicians, so they will make good use of the Hootenanny Stage for campers every night of the festival.

The ‘westie’ owners coming to Mariposa Folk Festival in recent years have made new friendships with fellow ‘westie’ owners. They see each other only once a year, but are building relationships, and catching up on kids, life, and events while sharing their love of music and their vans. With all of the van campers expected at the Festival this year, we’re looking forward to a whole new ‘westie’ era in Mariposa’s storied history.

vwBus2The instigators behind the ‘westie’ cavalcade are Linda and Doug Alcock of Mississauga, Ontario. They have been coming to Mariposa Folk festival for ten years. Doug is a singer, songwriter and guitar player, and the two of them go to music festivals all over Ontario. According to Linda, “We love Mariposa because it is the biggest and best, it’s a great venue and the lineups are always terrific.” They met Dave Gunning at Mariposa Folk Festival in 2004, and have had him at their home three times since for house concerts.

vwBus3Once, when Linda and Doug were sitting outside their ‘westie’ at Mariposa Folk Festival, someone came up to Doug to say his performance was really, really good. The problem is, Doug didn’t play at the festival. So, if you see a guy in a beret with a beard and grey curly hair, especially a guy sitting beside a ‘westie’, just so you know, it’s not Ken Whitely. It’s Doug Alcock. Stop by and say hello.