If Taylor Swift were to write a song about this weekend it would be called Girl Squad and would be about dancing and singing at the top of your lungs in the grass with your best girls, twirling to your hearts content, chasing balloons with childlike precision, letting the music seep into your soul and open your heart chakra, and watching the sun set arm-and-arm with your best friends thinking silently - this moment is perfect. Any experience can be grand in the presence of the company that you keep, and that couldn't be truer for our camping warriors: Sara, Robin, Nickie, Nadia and myself. We made our pilgrimage in the hopes of having glorious memories and transcendent musical experiences, and we accomplished those and found a bond that only kindred spirits could find.
If you want to get to the heart of someone go camping with them, it will test their comforts and throw out their insecurities, vulnerability runs high when you don't shower for three days. I learned a new little piece about each of the girls I spent the weekend with. Nickie is the fierce lawyer by day, protecting wee ones with a mothering nature, and was a fox by night as the constructor of the group (without her our tent would not have gone up) and her heart is gold and open for the world to see. Nadia sees the world with childlike awe and wonder, always happy and finds joy in any situation (she burnt her hand before the trip and never complained once) her spirit earned her the title of Peter Pan. Robin includes all, shares her light in an unassuming way and before you can even ask she has done the thing you needed, she takes notice of the little things and will always remind you about the beauty of a moment. Sara is a wild soul and is so unapologetically herself that it's so infectious to be around her. To say she's the life of the party is selling her short, she is the party - but don't be fooled, that wild spirit always comes from a place of love, I have never met anyone more loyal than this woman and I am proud to call her my stage mom (you had to be there ha!). To round out the group I would be the earthy one, grounded and tranquil, letting each moment just be what it needs to be and finding the beauty in anything.
What brought us to Wayhome is what also bonds us: the music. Hozier came first for me and he will be one of the most memorable. His smile lit up the stage and you could see it written all over his face that he was profoundly grateful to be there. That humble nature coupled with his haunting voice makes it possible to feel every lyric. He charms without trying and has even converted Robin to appreciating the man bun, a feat we never thought possible. Kendrick lamar seemed to draw the biggest crowd at the fest, playing in the night with an impressive light show and even ending in fireworks. I didn't know much about him except that we shared the same birthday, but when I saw him perform I was instantly hooked and understood what everyone else already knew. It seems fitting that later on I was asked to rap some of his lyrics for the Wayhome documentary that I happened upon, there was a lot of happen-chance at this festival. Neil Young, despite playing mostly his new politically charged album, was a legend and will always be a legend and such a privilege to see. On the last day Vance Joy serenaded us at sunset and made me fall in love with love with his new song fire and the flood, and we were able to get up closer and personal with the help of some VIP passes we scored from some generous concert goers while at our Starbucks freshen-up. And we closed off the festival with the beautiful Sam Smith. I will never forget running hand-in-hand towards the stage singing I'm not the only one. We danced and danced and danced until the very last moment and left with a full heart and a lifetime of memories.