Pt.1 The Beginning:
Back in May, I followed my friends Arbour Season out to Hurricane Utah for Vanfest. I was excited to get to hang out with them in their element, visit Zion National Park, and also hear one of my other favorite bands The National Parks play. I didn’t know what the setup would be like but I was really hoping that Shane and Emily would get the chance to meet The National Parks, because I love when my talented friends get connected with each other. Not only was I able to introduce them, but I found out that the National Parks were working on getting their delayed Superbloom Music Festival back on the books and that there was a great chance that they were going to end up putting Arbour Season in the lineup. After getting to hang out with them all on Arbour Season’s beautiful bus, I was beyond excited. A month later, it was officially announced and I immediately bought my ticket to be in the middle of the magic. The festival was originally planned to be just outside of Zion National Park, but some unfortunate weather caused them to have to move it to Hurricane only a few miles where the connection first occurred.
Pt.2 The Journey:
Based on scheduling, it worked out that Shane and Emily and their amazing children Sawyer and Juneau and I would have the chance to travel together. It was a process to find the right flights and transportation, but after a lot of persistent searching and changes, I was able to find a decent option that was affordable enough to jump on. We ended up flying into Salt Lake City and renting an SUV to make the 4 hour drive south to Hurricane. The build up to the trip seemed like an eternity and a split second all at once. The day finally arrived and we left their bus parked at the house and crammed all we could in my Jeep and left at 5 am to head to the airport. After a short stop in Houston we were on our way to Salt Lake City. Everything went as smoothly as it could have and we arrived around 5:30 pm at the beautiful Sand Hollow Resort.
Pt.3 The Clouds Part and a Campfire Commences:
The whole drive down was through persistent rain showers. My ticket included the kickoff campfire show on Friday night. Due to the weather, I wasn’t sure if they would be able to hold it; but they posted on their Instagram page that they setup tents and the show would go on. Sure enough the clouds parted and after a bit of a delay to get everything set up, the show commenced. It was an amazing experience filled with stories, laughs, and of course great music! A couple of highlights were getting to hear my favorite song of theirs “Ghosts,” and also getting to spend a few minutes talking with them. I walked back to the room absolutely giddy over the experience.
Pt.4 It’s All Who You Know:
I got up and had breakfast with Shane, Emily, the kids, and my new friend Meg who is an old friend of theirs. A small mixup with the room had Shane’s guitar getting accidentally locked in a bedroom we didn’t have access to. That was a problem as it was the morning of the show and getting close to sound check time. He and I ran up to the main building where we ran into their friends Mitchel and Allie. At the front desk we asked about getting the room open to retrieve the guitar, and I saw a couple of familiar faces waiting for breakfast behind me. Meegan and Natalie (2/3 of the band Joseph) were there and were kind enough to recognize me and chat for a couple of minutes. I was able to introduce Shane to them as well. I was sad that Allie wasn’t also there, but not knowing the setup I wasn’t sure if I’d get to visit with any of them at all so it was good to catch up and just be around them again. After procuring the guitar, I had to make a run to the store to pick up a few things. Shane and Emily stayed behind working on the surprise of all surprises.(more on that in a minute) Once I returned, we loaded up and I drove them down for sound check. Since I was with them, I got to stick around for a couple of hours before the show. Not only did I get to visit more with Brady, Meg, Syd, and Cam from The National Parks; but Natalie, Meegan, and Allie were there too and I got to visit with the three of them more and introduce Emily. The sisters Joseph as a group are super talented and just make incredible music, as people they couldn’t be more sweet or kind. They are simply the best. That goes for The National Parks and Arbour Season too. They all acted just as excited for me to be there as I was to be there.
Pt.6 The Show Begins with an Unforgettable Surprise:
The rest of the morning was filled with last minute tasks to make sure that everything was in place for Arbour Season to kickoff the show. The gates opened at 1 and people started flocking in to claim their spots for the day. There was such a buzz of excitement for what the afternoon and evening would hold. The obstacles had been overcome and the blood, sweat, and tears with all the hard work were about to be paid off; the long anticipated day was finally here. Arbour Season came out strong with “Arcadian.” They sounded amazing as always as they followed with “Rubatosis” and their new take on “Turn Your Eyes Open Jesus.” It was their next song that totally floored me. They said they had just written a yet to be titled song. They went on to say it was written for and about me. I listened through tears and chuckled as I was picking up on all the things they included from our adventures together over the last almost couple of years.
Pt.7 Hearing New Bands and Making New Friends:
Before the show started Shane came down to talk and I mentioned that a couple was talking about their shirt in the merch line. He went and sat in their hammock and serenaded them with one of his classic made up songs. After my song dedication they invited me up to sit on their blanket front and center. I became quick friends with Cam and AJ and hung out with them and Meg the majority of the rest of the day. By the end of the night they were affectionately calling me “uncle Jeff.” (Inside jokes are fun) I wasn’t familiar with all of the bands on the lineup, so I was really excited to hear some new music! I got introduced to the likes of Brother, Ellee Duke, Joshua James, and Yoke Lore. They all put on great sets and had their own unique sounds. Easy to see why they were selected to play this festival and I’m excited to hear more.
Pt.8 Portland’s finest brings down the house
Before the official lineup was announced I had already planned on buying my ticket to attend Superbloom. When I saw Jospeh on the list, it solidified it for me. I’ve been a huge fan of theirs for several years now and have been amazed every time I’ve seen them live. Sometime Friday I realized that the first time that I saw them perform was at SXSW in Austin in 2016. That just so happened to be the first time I traveled to see The National Parks. What I also realized is that Superbloom was the tenth time I saw each of them play live. I thought that was a pretty cool coincidence. They played some of my favorites including “S.O.S,” “Fighter,” “Green Eyes,” and “Half Truths.” It was getting to hear their new songs “Switch” and “Sun” for the first time in person that made it extra magical. I’m so excited to hear more of what they’ve been working on. After their set, I ran over to give them one last greeting and tell them how awesome their new stuff is. I’m so excited for show number 11 down the road!
Pt.9 The Main Event
The evening built up to the moment that The National Parks took the stage and the crowd went completely insane. We jumped, we danced, we sang along for the entire set. One of the many highlights for me was getting to hear some of the new songs that they had just released Friday including “Dizzy,” “UFO” and my personal favorite “live it we die.” They fed off the energy of the crowd and produced one of the most memorable sets I’ve ever been a part of. They were genuinely gushing about their dream music festival coming true and what an honor for me to be there to see it all. During as we ran, they had the crowd get down as low as we could and then jump up to close it out. I got down as low as my 40 year old knees would allow and gave it my all. After it was all said and done, I got to go tell them all how incredible it was and thank them for putting it on. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a while and I can’t wait to do it again.
Pt.10 The End is Just the Beginning
After a late night we got up and walked to the resort restaurant for breakfast. I got a little bit later start than rest but made it up to order nonetheless. At breakfast we made plans to drive back up to Salt Lake City early to meet up with Mitchel and Allie for lunch and then hit up a coffee shop. As we were walking back to the room to load up, Brady and Megan honked at us and we stopped to chat for a few minutes. We loaded up and said our goodbyes to Meg as she left to continue her adventures in Utah and drove back to the main building to check out. Brady, Megan, and Sydney were still in the cafe so I got in one more goodbye and thank you. Shane and Emily and the kids loaded up and started the long journey home. There were few bumps along the way but they all worked out and made for added good stories to an already amazing adventure. I can’t wait for the next trip to Superbloom Music Festival, but more importantly my next adventure with all my friends old and new.