We've been to four festivals thus far and we've begun to find a rhythm for how these kinds of festivals tend to go. The landscape changes but the set remains the same. We spent the better part of 10 days hand crafting a stellar booth design before leaving for our tour this summer. (Perhaps you've seen photos: www.facebook.com/gybmovement) Though it can be a beast to unload, it looks great once it's firmly established. Aside from our trusty RV, Reggie, it's one of the only constants in our rogue existence.
But we're getting better at expecting variables and running with them. On the pendulum from rookie to veteran, let's just say we're swinging closer to the veteran side of things these days.
Enter: Warped Tour.
Everything is different. It's a quick and dirty one day event. A drive up, load-in, sell-shirts, load-out, drive-the-heck-out-of-town kind of deal. The bands are different. The available booth space is different. Trying to do our bosses proud, we're trying to be super flexible.
To be honest, much of our team was quite frustrated learning the Warped Tour ways this morning. Like the first day of anything, it can be a bit awkward. One person on staff said they could kick us off for trespassing because we were there too early, only to find out all of the OTHER non-profits were told to come two hours earlier. And it turns out they had a whole non-profit tent that we weren't a part of. Flashbacks to middle school sleepovers come to mind.
We were the odd ones out. Like the first day of school, no one knew who we were. What we did. Why we were there. Why we had shirts that included the word "love" on them. And nobody really wanted to know. Needless to say, it was a tough crowd. In all fairness, LOVE is a 4 letter word. So in that sense, it fit right in perfectly.
So the black sheep known as Got Your Back decided to find pasture on a grassy knoll near the Advent Stage. (Oh the irony.) It wasn't much like Christmas in there. We constructed a mini-version of our display and started telling our story. It was definitely a "make it work" moment; Tim Gunn would be so proud.
OUR plan would've been to have our WHOLE setup pristinely in tact in the non-profit tent. GOD's plan had us feeling a bit sheepish, a little more vulnerable. It was, however, much more visible. Thankfully, our plan did not come to pass. And BECAUSE our plan did not happen, we had the lovely opportunity to meet Pierre Bouvier - our new favorite frenchman.
You may know him as the lead singer of the band SIMPLE PLAN.
He stumbled across our booth and decided to dive in to our GOT YOUR BACK family. He thought he was just buying some cool shirts, only to find out that he had provided children in poverty with the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to get an education. He even stopped by just before going on stage for their set to show us he was repping one of our shirts!
We loved having an excuse to head over to the main stage to take some photos of SIMPLE PLAN's set. They put on an awesome live show! Meeting them today was super encouraging. These guys are the real deal. If you want to show them some love, download some of their music on the iTunes.
We had our plan, God had another. And His plan today included a GYB Movement / Simple Plan collaboration. To borrow a line from Friday Night Lights, we are now driving to Detroit with clear eyes and full hearts (can't lose!)
We were humbled and reminded that God cares about the poor and marginalized kids we are hoping to put in school. They are his children. And he even cares about a rag-tag team of twenty-somethings, as imperfect as they can be, traveling from town to town like gypsies with a cause. We are His kids too. HE is working right alongside us, behind the scenes. He knows what we need.
So bring it on Warped Tour! God is so good. Hope to show you guys some love this week.
“This doesn’t happen in cities,” Andrea Howat.
You know those horror films where a group of young twenty-somethings find themselves stuck in a precarious situation, such as in a dark forest in the middle of nowhere with no place to run?
Well, our GYB family just lived through such an occasion.
Driving through the night to make it to our next destination, the road trip seemed to have been going well. A mini dance party was taking place in the front cabin, while our sleepy team members caught up on some much needed rest in the back.
To avoid having to sleep in Reggie, who is being terribly temperamental at the moment, dear Daniel called up one of his close friends who happened to live nearby. Thrilled by the news that we would be sleeping in civilization, we all looked forward to our impending arrival.
With our eyes glued to our trusty Tom Tom, we all became alert as we began to creep closer to our destination. With each passing mile we started to take in our surroundings. The first sign of entering into a horror-like setting was an eerie bridge where Justin oh so kindly slowed down to further the suspense. From this point on the night became a disarray of terror, laughter and some pretty amazing one-liners.
The driver at the time, Justin, continued to follow the road. But within minutes we found that we had obviously missed our turn, no thanks to Tom Tom. Surrounded by looming trees in the early hours of the morning, we soon became skittish as we realized that there was no easy way of turning our 31-foot home around.
Literally pushing the reluctant Justin and Daniel out of Reggie, Rachel took control as she managed a 60-point turn with direction from the boys who were yelling from the middle of a dark and scary forest.
After many attempts, we were turned back in the correct direction, hallelujah. As we all frantically huddled in the front cabin of Reggie, Daniel was ranting about the whereabouts of a particular red government issued trash bin that would lead us home. Along the way we passed by hair-raising monuments, such as a random ladder chilling in the middle of a thicket, a run-down barn with a visible basement and bars on the windows, a metal farming machine that looked like it could be the end of us all and a spastic dog that sent us all flying out of our seats while screaming as if we had just seen a ghost.
Pulling ourselves together, in the distance we were able to spot that darn red trash bin Daniel kept chattering on and on about. Finally, we found our way to our temporary home, safe and sound.