It's been four years for me now. I stumbled into year two as a photographer for the band I am now in; M.O.T.H.
I drove up on Saturday night and pulled in to a frantic Jason Meyers saying with his raspy voice, "Hey bud, do you have a wristband?" How little did I know what that sentence and the man saying it would come to mean to me.
My second year, Groovin' 3, I was in the band. We played our hearts out next to our bro's in Cure for the Common. Joe Sheehan, the drummer for Cure, and I owned Redbrain Media together, an upstart marketing agency. The fest was in dire straits, and we finally connected with the founders, Jason Meyers and Pete Lease. We found out that they were over it. It was too hard they said, and it cost too much money out of their own pockets. It had started as a private party for themselves and their friends but it had outgrown that concept without proper infrastructure.
Joe and I were inspired. We saw something bigger about Groovin'. Something deeper. Family. People who cared. About each other, about their environment, and everything else they were given the opportunity to care about.
We told Jason and Pete that our company was in. We would do anything to help, pro bono, until the fest showed itself to make some money.
Years four and five have proved to break even and that itself is worth celebrating, but that is not the story I am telling.
In year four my main job was stage manager and it turned out, I was also MC. I went to bed at four am on the first night and got up three hours later, fully expecting to drive my four wheeler around and pick up trash 'til it was showtime. I hopped on the four wheeler and began to drive around looking for trash. I drove, and drove, and drove, surveying every square inch for the typical festival nightmare that is trash detail. Nothing. Not one piece. The festival had cleaned up after itself.
I had never seen anything like this. I was astounded. My heart lifted up in song and joy. I knew the love I hoped for in humanity was real. And I have yet to be let down. Even when something goes wrong, like this year when a dobro went missing, it was returned with remorse, and there was healing and cries of joy and cheers and hugs resounded through the fest and the energy lifted even higher than I expected.
Keep it up my friends. You are doing more than you know, and you make me proud to be a human, and I long for a year from now when we all gather together again and celebrate the gift of life by Groovin' on the beautiful Gallatin River.