I did blog during my and Madalyn’s trip to AROTR but it was on my main blog. Rather than copy-and-paste the entire thing here and have both blogs showing identical content, I’ll just link to the two entries.
That done, here are some more thoughts now that I’ve had a few days to absorb everything that happened over the course of the four days we were at the festival, disjointed and non-cohesive as they may be.
As befits a Libra, I am of two minds about the experience of having Madalyn along with me. On one hand we did have lots of fun. She likes to travel and loves staying in hotels so just the mere fact that we were doing that was enjoyable for her. She liked some of the music and we found some common ground in our new favorite AROTR performers, whom we followed from stage to stage all weekend. I think she certainly enjoyed the time away from her younger siblings and the opportunity to have something that was only for her and didn’t have to be shared AND where she didn’t really have any responsibilities except following me around.
Then there’s that pesky other hand. Her attention span was not what I’d have chosen it to be if I’d had my pick. Prior to the trip, when considering the subject, there was a big question mark over it in my mind. Yes, she’s only eight, but she’s a mature eight and has been listening to the Beatles her entire life. I felt it could’ve gone either way. I’d say, in the end, I’d put the behavioral percentages at about 60/40 in favor of her being antsy and/or bored.
So, where does this leave me? Well, in a bind, that’s where. At this point, if I had to make the decision right this moment for 2010, I’d chose to go back to attending alone. But here’s the problem: Madalyn liked going. She’s already asked if she can go again next year and I said yes. This was while we were still at the festival; before I’d had time to digest everything. And, in her defense, she did have times when she was very tolerant and even excited about getting back to the festival after we’d been away to grab lunch or something. But then there were those times when I intended to stay for a band’s entire set and she started nagging me to leave after two songs, even when I’d made it clear I meant to watch the entire show. And there were a number of times those exchanges ended with her pouting and having a really bad attitude. To put it in simple terms, it really harshed my buzz. I go to this festival to, in a way, commune with the Beatles and remind myself of why I love them; to let the music and its message engulf me and carry me away for a few days. That didn’t happen this year. Every time I started to have a moment it was interrupted by complaining or nagging. Then again I didn’t have much success having “moments” last year, either, and I was by myself then. I now suspect that may have been just a one-off that wouldn’t have repeated itself this year, had I made the trip solo again. Madalyn will also be a whole year older when the next AROTR rolls around, which obviously will do nothing but help in the maturity/attention span department. I don’t know…..I’m just glad I don’t have to make any decisions about it for a while.
On to happier subjects: our new favorite performer/s. I don’t even recall how but we stumbled across a band called The Sun Kings, whose lead singer, Drew Harrison, also did some acoustic solo shows during the festival. Both Madalyn and I fell for them, hard. We were but helpless fatalities of their awesomeness. Drew (solo) and The Sun Kings were the only shows that Madalyn sought out and didn’t ask to leave early. The Sun Kings have been at AROTR but somehow, shamefully, I have managed to miss them every time (the result of my previous continual wandering from stage to stage rather than sitting for a block of shows, I’m sure). I’m now annoyed with myself that I missed out on those chances to see them. It won’t happen again, though. Next year they will be the first band I look for on the schedule. Both Drew and the band play gigs around California (yes, not only are they majorly talented but they are Californians — could they be any cooler? No, they could not). I hope to maybe catch up with them somewhere in CA while we’re there this summer.
Of course I can’t rave about someone like that without providing audio/visual evidence of said awesomeness, so here we go. I am not yet finding any full-song videos of Drew or The Sun Kings from this year’s AROTR but there are songs available from last year. Here is the group performing Dig a Pony and One After 909:
And here is an all-too-short clip I filmed myself of Drew this year during a solo show. I wish I’d have recorded the entire thing but was low on room on my memory card. Hopefully those who were able to record whole songs will get those up on YouTube soon.