A listener of community radio for over ten years, MC MitiSwell saw a gaping hole and decided to fill it. Disappointed but not surprised that such an enormous body of work had been overlooked by an alternative, independent station, MitiSwell set out to rectify the situation. After much thought and deliberation, negotiation and manifestation, Three Packs a Day was born on November 7, 2011.
You don’t have to dig too deep to find the similarities between the Grateful Dead and independent media: both foster a sense of community and shun the corporate rule. Both rely on the participation of its members and embrace an inclusive, symbiotic process. Both thrive on chaos, a feeling that the controlling elite would rather not encourage; after all, who knows where we might go?
With a history of technological and improvisational wizardry, MitiSwell feels strongly that the dominant culture has failed to give credit where credit is due. During the 30 years that the Grateful Dead was together, the band delivered more than 2,300 life altering shows, a record. They set another record by performing more free shows than any band in history. The band freely shared their live performances and encouraged the creation of the ‘wall of sound’. Erected at each show, the wall of sound enabled fans to tape, reproduce and distribute the band’s music – for free!
Introduced to the Grateful Dead in 1989, MitiSwell admits to having had “almost no idea of what to expect” when s/he attended her first show in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But the impact was so positive that s/he went on to see the Dead 18 times over the next three years. To this day, MitiSwell is in awe of the space that the band created: space for the audience to co-create and participate in the making of something truly beautiful and magic. The mutual adoration that flowed from stage to floor and back again continues to be felt by this believer: being shot by love has had a lasting impact.
From magic to mayhem, MitiSwell is aware that every culture has its dark side and Deadheads are no exception. With a personal experience that demonstrates just how closed minded and intolerant people can be, MitiSwell chooses to focus on the good. With eyes wide open to the risks involved and trust required to put it all out there, MitiSwell has created Three Packs a Day to share the Dead with the Harbour City and beyond.
MitiSwell is clear that s/he is not a throwback or a Sixties Revivalist, nor does s/he agree with the ‘go with the flow’ passivity which is often synonymous with Deadhead culture. MitiSwell understands the importance of personal action. Having been given the opportunity to participate in magic, MC MitiSwell now shares that experience with listeners of 101.7 fm. Tune in to Three Packs a Day every Monday morning from 7:00-9:00am and get on the bus. And, stay tuned for a movie/memorial to Jerry Garcia on August 9th at CHLY headquarters. There is no divide; we are indeed, all one.
Alison Roberts has seen the Dead. She lives in Nanaimo and is a volunteer writer for CHLY.