There were countless magical moments and heemeesheemees surrounding my trip to the Berkshires last weekend. I’m sharing my top six favorites with you here.
Number One ~ How I Ended Up Attending Wilco’s Solid Sound Fest 2019
This is a story of good karma and great friendship.
My dear friend, Kate McLemore saw my friend, David Adams, post on my Facebook page that the band Wilco was having a karaoke contest and he thought I should give it a try. Though I never did enter, Kate told her husband (and my good friend) Brad about it.
Out of hundreds of video submissions – Brad was one of ten winners chosen to play live with Wilco!!! He won two 3-day passes and gifted one to me since he and Kate were already going.
This every-other-summer festival sells out practically the day it’s announced ~ as do all of the places to stay in the small, college town of North Adams, Massachusetts as well.
Nonetheless, within hours of Brad gifting me a pass, I’d secured my airline tickets (using miles!), found a place to stay and a ride down from Hartford, Connecticut with some friends ~ meaning that I was able to enjoy a weekend in the Berkshires at Wilco’s Solid Sound Fest filled with music, art, comedy and some of my favorite humans on the planet!
Number Two ~ Part A ~ Watching My Friend Brad’s Fab Performance With Wilco
Brad is a top-rate musician, guitar player, singer and songwriter who owns and teaches at two music schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has been in bands off and on for years. He was so at ease and sounded so great and rocked out so profoundly during his performance of “I’m The Man Who Loves You” that he could have easily been mistaken for a band member by anyone not in the know.
Number Two ~ Part B ~ Feeling So Freakin’ Proud Of Brad
Walking around town, the Mass MoCA museum and festival grounds with Brad the rest of the weekend it was pure joy as person after person stopped him to tell him what a great job he’d done or high five him and let him know how happy they were for him. I believe emotion is energy and there was a whole helluva lot of positive energy happening that weekend!
Side note ~ I met and reconnected with some of the most amazing humans during this festival ~ from all over the world ~ and just soaked in all of the positivity and love and joy! Still buzzing from it all!
Number Three ~ Riding On A Harley Davidson And Avoiding A Ticket
My afore mentioned friend, Dave, has attended every Solid Sound Fest and as a motorcycle rider dreamed of riding on along the beautiful, winding tree-lined roads around North Adams, Mass. So he reached out to a Harley Davidson dealership to see if he could rent one.
Though they don’t rent motorcycles ~ for some unknown reason (call it more travel magic) they decided to lend Dave a Harley if he promised to wear one of their t-shirts while he rode. Done.
As a result, I ended up having the chance to hitch an impromptu ride with him from Mass MoCA to our B & B one afternoon. I haven’t been on the back of a motorcycle since college so it was at first a little scary, then exhilarating and then a really fun experience. Even more exhilarating when we rode up to the front of our B & B and saw a police officer pull up next to us.
Dave wasn’t wearing a helmet (we don’t have helmet laws in Texas) but the officer let him off with a warning and no ticket. (Don’t worry, Mom & Dad ~ I was wearing a helmet!)
Number Four ~ My Magical Reunion Moment With Jonathon Richman
About 27 years ago, I had the honor of opening up for Jonathon Richman here in Dallas, Texas at the legendary Poor David’s Pub. I was never really sure why David Card (Poor David) chose me to open for Richman but I was thrilled by the opportunity.
The show was sold out and I think I the most nervous I’d ever been, though I’d been performing my entire life. I made a couple of flubs here and there and apologized to the audience from the stage. Afterward, in the tiny closet sized office that served as a green room, Jonathon told me,
“Jill ~ 95% of the people in the audience could never get up on stage and do what you did tonight. You did great. They didn’t even realized you’d made a mistake. NEVER apologize.”
His words of wisdom have stuck with me all of these years, so I was delighted that I was going to be able to see him perform at Solid Sound, and a little sad when he shared from the stage that because of vocal issues he could sing, but wasn’t able to talk afterward or sign autographs and take photos, etc… in order to save his vocal chords for performing.
I happened to see him out and about just after his set. I said, “I know you can’t talk, but do you mind if I share a quick story with you?” He shook his head yes and I recounted my tale of opening for him all those years ago and when I came to the back stage part of the story, he shook his head in remembrance and before I could finish – he whispered the words “NEVER apologize.“
I teared up and said “Exactly!!!!” I asked if we could take a quick photo, he shook his head yes and an already sublime weekend leveled up a notch on the magic meter!
Number Five ~ That Stupid Rainbow
During the final set of Solid Sound Fest ~ Jeff Tweedy & Friends ~ on a gorgeous sunny afternoon, as Jeff and the crowd were singing the Wilco classic “Let’s Go Rain” ~ yes ~ it began to rain.
And then, of course, there beamed a beautiful, complete rainbow off in the distance and in typical hilarious, deadpan fashion, Jeff commented ~ “Well, would you look at the stupid rainbow. I don’t even believe in that kind of stuff.” But even he couldn’t deny the gobsmacking magic of the moment.
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Big thanks to Roylenn on Instagram for capturing and sharing this magical moment!
Number Six ~ The Magnificent Creative Oasis Spaces of MASS MoCA!
Where to begin? I think I’ll quote straight from their website ~
“MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA is able to embrace all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film, painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. The broad-shouldered, raw industrial character of our soaring galleries (with 250,000 square feet of open and often naturally lit space) has proven both inspiring and liberating to artists.”
I enjoyed two virtual reality experiences created by Laurie Anderson, an exhibit by Annie Lennox and countless others exhibits. It may be one of my favorite Creative Oasis Spaces of all time ~ rivaled only be the MET in NYC.
My wheels are already spinning to lead a Creative Oasis Adventure there sometime within the coming year! (Let me know if you’d be interested in more info on this trip.)
It’s moments like these, and dozens of others that I didn’t share here, that make me such a lover of travel!
In fact, I’ll be heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico this fall to lead a Creative Oasis Adventure.
Until next time, all the best from my Creative Oasis to yours,
Life Coach/Creativity Coach/Music Lover/ Art Lover/Travel Lover/Life Lover