The spotlight now swivels to the third VIP for Mythmoot II: Back Again, rounding out a panel of creative artists who will set the Moot on fire!
“Did you ever get the feeling that fairy tales don’t seem so fanciful anymore? Lately it seems the monsters are real, the quest insurmountable, and the heroes are only you and me.” – John Di Bartolo
John Di Bartolo has often wondered why at some point before or around ten years old most children lose their desire to make up funny languages, play with action figures, and slay dragons in the back yard. “Losing your imagination and wonder of creation is the opposite of growing up, to me it is stunted growth. I think that is why I identify with Tolkien & Lewis so much. They kept that priceless part of their childhood and turned it into a life’s passion and profession.” John has made part of his life goal to keep the road well traversed that leads to the cottage of lost play.
From table top role playing games and back-yard adventures of the imagination to historical and fantasy reading, bible scholarship and music composition; the spiritual has ever been tied to imagination for John. “It was actually reading Dungeons & Dragons manuals that led me to become a voracious reader of fantasy and history. I truly believe our own real history, though much of it lost but still hinted at, is just as exciting as any fantasy world the best author could invent.” All of this lore going in to John’s head, had to come out through a creative filter.
Music dominated the field of his imagination from age 16 to 33; writing & recording hundreds of songs, honing his audio production skills and performing in national touring Celtic Rock bands FATHOM & KING KELTIC, which has culminated in the Lonely Mountain Band music project. Lonely Mountain Band focuses on a self-styled genre called “Folk Fantasy”; songs built with an acoustic skeleton, digital flesh, and in the spirit of Tolkien & Lewis.
A Bachelor’s Degree in English of course led to a free-lance career in website & graphic design; and that computer experience became invaluable at the early stages of founding the Middle-earth Network LLC with Mark Ostley in 2011. Mark & John met in their wanderings of the virtual Eriador known as Lord of the Rings Online. John had previously founded one of the largest gaming groups in the game under the name Lonely Mountain Band, and popular in-game events like “Ales & Tales” and the first “Weatherstock”.
It was this deep involvement in music, computers, online gaming and Tolkien art & scholarship that found John as one of the original two founders of the Middle-earth Network of artists, creators and fans. John played a founding role in many of the exciting endeavors and concepts that have grown out of the fertile ‘chance-meeting’ grounds of the Middle-earth Network; including but not limited to Middle-earth Network Radio, SwordSong Records, Legendarium News & Media, Oloris Press, MyMiddle-earth and the Mythgard Institute.
John continues as a minstrel writing, recording and performing new original material for Lonely Mountain Band, and is on the board of founders & directors at Middle-earth Network, and is desperately trying to find time to guide Galenhir to Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings Online.