Monday, April 28, 2014

Bumpin' ... Weeks 22 & 23 with Jack Johnson and Friends

St Helena lookout above Byron Bay

Over the Easter break I travelled to my mother's home to care for her post-surgery. The nights had cooled and mosquitoes buzzed in the hundreds at the river house after the recent rainstorms. I hadn't planned on venturing away from the house much, mostly to take the short drive to the next coastal town to purchase groceries and home again to make comfort food: Roasted pumpkin soup; steaming chicken and corn soup with grated ginger and egg ribbons; roast duck stuffed with dried apricots, pine nuts and cranberries and cinnamon spiced warm apple pancakes.

Main Beach, Byron Bay

As I hadn't planned on a holiday, I did not equip myself with my usual Canon 6D camera. As a result, the images you see in this post were taken using a tiny, lime green lightweight Sony Cybershot camera. 14.1 megapixels, compact, smaller than your wallet and lighter than a mobile phone. Byron purchased it last minute at the airport some twelve months ago- An $80 impulse buy. I wasn't thrilled about wasting money although it has served us well on shorter road trips... Which brings me to the current Byron Bay road trip: The busy city drive made by Joe and B from Sydney to greet me at my mother's before heading off to Blues Fest.

Byron and Joe exploring the backstreets of Byron Bay

Joe and I take in the incredible vista of Pat Morton lookout, Lennox Head

Trying not to inhale the dust during Joss Stone's performance

3.5 cheeky monkeys listening to funky beats and husky voices belt out well-loved tunes

It was at Blues Fest where I relaxed to the smooth lyrics of my first love, Mr Jack Johnson. It has been one of the top ranked activities on my personal Bucket List to see the family man/ surfer/ soulful muso perform his chilled melodies live since I was a jittery, leggy school girl. Back then I imagined that I would be front row as he hummed centre stage before we locked eyes and he smiled as if his eyes said, 'I'm glad you made it'.

The reality of the true experience was somewhat different... I originally stood with Joe and B but as a crowd of younger teenagers pushed forward I could feel the temperature under the tent rise. The air was palpable and thick, swaying space was reduced to a tiny confined area comparable to a sardine tin where I was forced up against strangers, some smoking, some drinking, some too far gone to realise where they even were. I lost B and Joe in the crowd so I retreated to the cooler, relaxed spaces of the back of the tent where I found a lovely patch of grass. Sure, I had lost my up close view of Jack but I could still hear him strum and sing.

From where I sprawled out on the grass with the older folk in picnic chairs, my oversized hooded jacket draped over my face, my knees bent to avoid being trodden on by the odd passer by... I listened intently and sang along to songs that formed a special part of my youth. And there in the blackest tent as flashes of lasers lit up the big top roof, little Pecan began to roll and sway, kick and stretch from within my belly to the gentle melodies.

I may not have been serenaded by Jack Johnson but I took away from the live performance something far more magical and enchanting than my 17 year old self could have ever imagined.

Oh, and if you ever happen to stumble across this blog, Mr Johnson (I know friends, it's a stretch, right?)... You'll be pleased to know that I'm personally acquainted with your youngest fan.

Enjoying a moment of solitude, accompanied by the sea breeze and occasional gentle Pecan flutters

Somehow in the darkest corner of that tent, Byron found me, he took me by the hand and carefully wove his way through the thousands of moving people to guide me to an open space near the front of the tent where I could clearly see Jack on stage. Together we danced under that tall, open tent as we listened and swayed...

"Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing, it's always better when we're together"

Two lifelong friends exploring the Byron Bay seaside markets

Long afternoon shadows, salty beach hair and flip flops in Byron Bay

I wish I could have stayed longer with the boys on their road trip however, it was wonderful to return home to tell my mother all about my brief visit to Blues Fest, seeing Jackson Johnson and excitedly describing how my baby danced about to one of his/her mama's favourite musicians.

These past two weeks were spent with my best friends, my favourite music, my beautiful mother and my fondest memories, relived.

Have you ever wanted to see your favourite band or musician perform live? Is it on your Bucket List? I urge you to take that list and scribble the tour dates, venue and booking details on the back. Make it happen. Don't miss the chance to reminisce whilst creating new, fun memories. Take your friends and have a blast.

Love Bella xx

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Love Bella xx


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