I was thrilled to be asked to headline this years Womens Red Rock Festival in Torrey, Utah, USA. I absolutely loved the two previous years playing at this festival – in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by incredible people and incredible landscape. The last two years I had driven to Utah, with Amy by my side. This year it was to be a fly in, fly out job.
I had five nights off in Melbourne with family and friends, and then set off to USA on the Thursday morning. Travel time was just under 30 hours all up. Flew Melbourne, Sydney, San Fran, LA then finally arrived in Salt Lake City around 7pm. I was greeted by the wonderful Georgette and Paula, and my friend Kazz who had flown in from Canada for the weekend. So the four of us set off to Torrey - a four hour drive. To be back in this country was awesome. To be with these ladies was also awesome.
Arriving in Torrey was that old feeling of coming home. Got to have a sambuka with the amazing festival organiser Jeri, and then I hit the sack.
But hitting the sack kinda meant nothing. Jet lag had kicked in. This was to be the first of four completely sleepless nights.
Friday was spent working out merch, trying to walk but getting stuck in the rain, writing set lists and drinking a lot of coffee. I had a solo set at 5pm, and walking on to that stage was such an incredible feeling. Talk about feeling welcome! Talk about open arms! My warm and fuzzies had begun once again. It was a short and sweet set, but with so much amazing energy thrown at me by the crowd. Last song I looked over side stage and Eric and Ivan (my drummer and bass player from Winnipeg, Canada) had just arrived, so I pulled them on stage for a song. So lovely to see them after along year of no catch-ups.
The headline act that night was an American band Antigone Rising. I was pretty keen to hear their set. They really did rock their set, and the crowd loved it- so did I. It seemed the second I met these girls and miss Michelle Malone, something happened. Firstly we got drunk. I never really do this on tour. But I thought screw it, I am in the middle of nowhere and we headed to a very very large, county pub with a stuffed bull at the front and way too many buffalo heads sticking out of the wall. Somehow we created a new band called Prison Love and I think each and every one of us actually began to think we were in this amazing imaginary band. People at the bar were even buying drinks and sending them over to that band called Prison Love. Can’t really complain about that.
Theres something about this festival which makes you feel like you are part of one big loving family. With all the audience members, volunteers, festival organisers and other artists. I had such a fun night. Way too many shots, and way too little sleep – but a huge amount of laughs and a bunch of new mates. New mates that I was meant to meet.
The next day I felt a little hazy, but I was so happy to sit and watch some fabulous artists play – like Ellis – yep she’s good.A fabulous singer/songwriter. It was a relaxing day. Just hanging and listening and chatting and having more laughs with the Antigone Rising girls. I also got to spend some great time with the lovely Vicki from The Waits. Always good to see her.
That night the show was amazing. We were headlining and we where so ready to play a great show for this crowd. Eric and Ivan did an awesome job, and we loved having special guests up on stage – Mona Stevens on harmonica, Michelle Malone on harmonica and vocals, Cathy Henderson on slide guitar and the Antigone girls – Kristen, Nini and Dena. Prison Love suddenly, magically formed right there on stage… and yes, all we did was repeat the words Prison Love to a Johnny Cash tune, but whoa…the potential!! (ha!)
So, my favourite part of the entire weekend … I was about to start playing my chirpy lil song “Don’t Go’. The wonderful festival organiser Jeri suddenly stood on stage holding a sign. I had no idea what for – I couldn’t read it as it was facing the crowd. It took me an entire verse to realise that the entire crowd was doing a flash mob dance. I really could not believe it! I nearly had to stop playing due to wanting to have the happiest cry ever on stage – but I managed to play on and this awesome crowd just kept on dancing and singing. It was the best surprise and the best feeling to be watching it all right there in front of me. What a treat! Thanks so much everyone – really you made my weekend even more spectacular.
So, all in all, I left feeling the most tired I had felt for a very long time, but also completely filled with a bunch of happy happy new memories. I feel so lucky to have stumbled across this festival a few years ago – one of the best finds ever. These are the experiences that make me realise that I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing in life.