My mind is becoming a bit fried due to all of the first-year lesson planning & preparation I have been undertaking this past week. In much need of a break, I find it extremely ironic that I immediately jumped to writing instead of vegging out on the couch or taking on some other mindless activity.
I just couldn’t wait to share! Last week was absolutely amazing; we caught 4 separate concerts in one week with two more on the way this weekend! This wasn’t on purpose; it was neither our vacation nor our stay-cation, it’s how the summer concert schedule fell. After surviving Bonnaroo and still having enough energy left-over to anticipate it again for next year, I thought I was ruined. I mean really, how can any show compare to 125 amazing bands spread across multiple stages for 4 straight days? The answer: it can’t, but going to see the band I instantly fell in love with at Bonnaroo play a show only an hour away from me, for FREE, now that is definitely enough to ban my musical pretentiousness.
As we walked into the Hartford Amphitheater an hour early, we realized that we came completely unprepared. This was an outdoor show within a huge amphitheater that resided in a local park. People had set-ups that looked like they came straight out of the Cleveland Browns Muni lot (spot for tailgating pros only). There were pop-ups for shading with buffets of food, endless supplies of alcohol, people of all ages, and numerous dogs eating up all of the attention, along with plenty of forms of entertainment: music, cornhole, Frisbees, hillbilly golf, and hula-hoops. I’ve now come to realize that no concert is complete without hippies awing the crowd with their hula-hooping skills. With everyone in our surroundings so well prepared, we looked around at our group. We had nothing in the aforementioned statement; we did not even have a blanket to throw down and sit on. I have never been one for planning. My spontaneous nature reverts me back to childhood when anything fun is on the brink of happening. My brain turns on repeat screaming, “I’m excited, let’s go now!!” Not ready, not prepared, living by the motto: I’ll figure it out!
And we did just that, making our way through the sea of people down to the perfect spot, front and center. As the show was scheduled to start, thick, black clouds threatened to give us quite a down pour but as the band came on stage, any worries of rain quickly disappeared. Everyone became immersed into the music, on their feet, dancing, singing, and jumping (the local cop even threw the beach ball back into the crowd when it landed in restricted territory, “the coolest thing a cop has ever done” noted my boyfriend, Nick). With my Nikon DSLR in tow, I snapped away stealing moments for myself to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and amazing music being shared by thousands. Grace Potter & the Nocturnals’ set lasted for over 2 hours, included multiple jam sessions and left all in attendance exceedingly pleased. Still jumping around, we left the concert area after the 2 song encore ended with my favorite “Medicine Man.” As we trekked back up to find the car, I found that my cheek muscles were aching terribly. It reminded me of the first time I went to Disney world as a child; the home video showing me smiling ear to ear every second of the day. That first night in Disney, I was very serious when I asked my grandmother (while making the craziest of expressions) why my face was so sore? She responded, “because your happy, Ashley, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have many days when your face hurts just like this!”