It's really easy to remember the bad shit. As a self-proclaimed pessimist of the highest degree, I almost always breeze over anything positive in leu of the dire. But last weekend was quite possibly the most fun I've ever had during my music career. Ironically, all this fun happened in the little town I left 10 years ago... Sometimes what we were looking for was right under our noses all along- we just have to be separated from it long enough to reveal its worth. In fact, that little sentiment is exactly what inspired our song, Fly. The events of this past weekend were a reminder for me of what's important.
We loaded Vanna White up once again with 4 bandmates, Mary Mayhem, and our favorite bartender and friend, Tanya -and headed North. We arrived at Bayfront Festival Park to the most welcoming group of folks I've ever encountered. Rainbow clad and smiling, they hugged our frames and kissed our cheeks, barely able to contain their excitement that we were playing Duluth-Superior Pride Festival this year. We received the most wonderful reception anyone could ever hope to be graced with from the beautiful Twin Ports LGBTQ+ community. I'll never forget it.
We got to play the stately stage neighboring Canal Park, in front of a jubilant group of new fans. Tents, flags, and lovely painted faces were what we looked out onto as Lake Superior gently kissed our backs song after song. It's not Carnegie Hall, but to me, it doesn't get much better than that. It was a perfect evening and I can't wait to return next year. We were treated like royalty by everyone involved, which was the morale boost we desperately needed. We rolled back onto the highway as the sun was setting, with a sense of rejuvenation and hope. That night, we sat around a campfire, had some refreshments, and gazed up at the brightest stars any of us had ever seen. We needed a win and we got one.
The next morning we went on a 4-mile hike out to the sea caves. In the winter you can walk the ice out to this frigid tourist destination, but we had the luxury of 70 degree weather and seeing it all from above. We ate local smoked fish and foraged for berries. After we all gave our tickers a nice workout, we headed back to the homestead to prepare for the evening's events.
Our show that night was at a secret festival in the middle of the woods. Throw your cellphone in the trunk, (because you won't have reception while engulfed in the massive maze of logging trails) grab some gummies and a flask, and you're ready to party at Baystock. The roaring bonfire is stoked day and night. The generator is hidden somewhere in the woods behind the gorgeous covered stage, which is built at the base of a natural amphitheater among the pines. The attendees are salt-of-the-earth folk who just want to be surrounded by music and like-minded souls all weekend. We rolled in and played what I consider to be our best set to date. Something about the energy of the people, Mother Nature, and our music co-mingling was mind-blowing... and I was sober as a judge. The rains came right after we'd had the chance to drink a beer and enjoy the final band.
I'll be riding the natural high last weekend provided my mind and body for some time. This was truly what we all needed (perhaps me especially) to wake our asses up and remind us why we do this in the first place. Sometimes we're able to share the greatest sides of ourselves where we're most comfortable... and for me, evidently that's back home.