A year had past (unbelievably quickly) and it was that time again, to hop on a plane and make my way to Offenbach, Germany, for the Rockwood Music Festival. Now last years event, on it's maiden voyage, was epic, an adjective that I do not use lightly as it has become something of a common word for average feats. That being said, this years festival, had a lot to live up to, big shoes to fill, a shadow to overcome and it, my friends, did not fail.
My journey started off with an extremely early morning connecting flight via London on the Thursday, where I was slightly delayed by 27 mins, I know, it could have been a lot worse right! So, I turned up the volume on my iPod, (I was listening to Dropkick Murphy's, for those who are interested) and waited for the gate number to appear on the overhead screens.
I strapped myself into the seat, re-positioned my headphones and watched, from my window, the buildings getting smaller and smaller on our ascent, before altogether disappearing in a sea of cloud. My 1 hour and 47 minute flight to Germany had finally begun, which, by the way, took less time than was specified and the softly spoken pilot made sure that we knew that.........on more than one announcement.
I was kindly driven to my hotel in Offenbach by the Boss Lady, Sabine, where I quickly departed to my room, to catch up on some sleep, you know, with the jet lag and all, to find Billy Moran, my 'roomy' for the weekend, with the exact same idea.
Well rested, it was time to meet up with the crew for a quick beer before heading out in the evening for a team meeting/dinner. It was great to see the old faces, Hayden, Billy, Rob B, Rob H, Jason, Emma, Aaron, Coop, Emo, Sabine, Chrissy, Uli and a pleasure to meet the new ones, Briana, Osric, Amanda, Tim, Mike and Stephen. It only took a couple of sips before we all felt like we were one, big, messed up family.
Friday came and it was time to get down to business with the opening ceremony, backstage party and the much anticipated karaoke party, to say that we were raring to go would be an understatement. The karaoke was a great success, with some voices AND dance moves well worthy of the stage, actually some of which put us 'artists' to shame. Fair play to those who got up and gave it their all. The highlight for me, was Rob Benedict's bass solo to 'Carry On My Wayward Son' by Kansas, all done with his mouth, that was impressive! Briana and I got into a little bust up during the Rockwood Staff's rendition of Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger', luckily (for me) Tim got in between us as the officiator and split it up, damn that girl can throw down!!
Saturday was here and after a fun filled day of unplugged lounges, photos, autographs and an incredible jam session, which in itself was a heck of a show, it was time for the concert. A line up, that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, meant I couldn't only wait to get on the stage and play, but I couldn't wait to watch my fellow music makers do their thing. The sets were, from artist to artist flawless, the individual efforts from Hayden, Emo, Osric, Brianna and Tim matched the emphatic performances of the bands, The Station Breaks, The Mots Nouveaux and Saturdays headliners, Louden Swain. Everyone brought their A game and left everything on the stage, which was equally matched by the audience, screaming, dancing, kazooing, singing, you guys were a pleasure to play for and a show in your own right!
The weekend was moving quicker than everyone involved would have liked it to and Sunday was upon us. With a similar schedule to the Saturday, some may be foolish to think that the performers would be a little less enthusiastic on this day but they couldn't be more wrong, the green room was alive with rehearsals of new and old songs alike, jokes, laughs, bottle tops popping, glasses hitting the wooden table top and the annual match of Rock, Paper, Scissors between Hayden and Rob H, those of who were there to witness it last year, remember fondly, Hayden loosing a commanding lead after a Rob Humphrey's Special DURING A DRUM SOLO!!! After another day filled with unplugged lounges, in which I got to be the front man of Louden Swain for four songs, a highlight for me, more laugh filled photo and autograph sessions and a jam session that topped Saturdays, all because of Mike Borja's performance of 'Knockin' on Heavens Door'. With a slight shuffle of the line up from Saturday and unfortunately missing the charisma of Tim Omundson, as he had to be elsewhere, it was show time once more.
Sunday's show had a lot to live up to and the crowd were ready for it. Jason Manns opened and set the bar high, if anyone thought they could take it easy on stage on this night, they had to think again. Every single performer brought their A+ game and blew the roof off, the crowd were LOUD! So loud that after Sunday's headliners, The Station Breaks, closed the night, they wanted more. It was only fitting that everyone appeared back onstage and sang The Beatles, 'Come Together' to end a memorable weekend in which everyone did just that.
Monday saw the departure of everyone, as we went our seperate ways, which is always a hard thing to do after such an enjoyable and unforgettable experience. After our heart felt goodbye's, myself, Jason, Hayden and Emo, travelled on to London, where we had a show at The Borderline and indeed it was another great gig. Missing our comrades from the festival, we made it a memorable night for everyone in attendance, especially since we all broke down on stage, in the middle of song, into a fit of laughter, which to me felt like an eternity and in reality was probably only a few seconds.
All in all, from Mike Borja's mic drop (highlight reel winner) to the schnitzel and mushroom sauce, this was a festival weekend for the ages. I have come away with friendship bonds stronger than I could ever imagine possible, a better musician and performer because of the talent i was surrounded by and an overall better person because of the people in attendance, your dedication and support makes what we do that much easier, we are indebted to each and everyone of you. I would like to say a big thank you to Sabine and her staff for putting on an incredible festival for all of us to enjoy.
Anyway that's enough from me, keep rocking and stay strong, till next time!