Friday, June 18, 2010

"There's no such thing as an inconvenient opportunity" (Harmony Fest, Sonoma CA)

Last weekend, we performed 2 consecutive nights at “Harmony Festival”, perhaps northern California’s most important music festival all year. We had been hearing about it for months, and people kept telling me, “you’ve just GOTTA meet Debra Giusti, the founder of Harmony. She’ll love you guys!”

Although Harmony Fest didn’t even know us 2 months ago, it turns out we had ourselves unknowingly made some influential connections since we started this tour, with people who were intimately connected into that whole network. And those people simply made it happen for us. They brought us in the back door, almost at the last minute, and gave us the stage to do what we do. And it was ... as it always is .. magical.

However, it didn’t look that way when we showed up Friday, the first night. In fact, the guys, bless their hearts, almost pulled a mutiny on me when we showed up and circumstances seemed a bit less than we would have scripted. Admittedly, it was a bit stop-and-go, hopes rising and falling amidst a dusty, chaotic fairground environment as we tried to find our way n just to park. Not all the barriers to our entrance had been removed. Most of the official festival didn’t really know we were going to be there. We didn’t have a parking pass; we didn’t have artist passes; and - due to the after-hours 10pm slot we were given which was the same time the whole festival had to shut down any amplified music due to their permit rules - we weren’t even going to be allowed to amplify our instruments or voices and would have to go completely acoustic in the midst of late night festival chaos.

So the guys were less than excited as circumstances revealed themselves on our arrival. But it was a foot in the door of the most important musical festival we’ve performed at so far - and a number of wonderful people had stuck themselves out to get us in there, something the guys had almost no awareness of - and I was committed to seeing it through, regardless of whether it was an “ideal performance experience” or not.

I rarely insist on anything with the band, which I attribute to two things: 1) I generally live in a state of unknowing, so what’s there to insist about?; and 2) we’re so much in line with each other that when I feel strongly about something, the band typically feels the same way and so no insisting is even necessary.

However, on occasion, we are at odds, and I can only think right now if one other incident when I insisted on something they weren’t excited about. My instinct was quickly proven right on that one. And I knew this one would be the same. I was not letting them back out of this one.

It is funny, though, that as we got in there and the night wore on, I went through my doubts, too. People had mostly wandered away from where we were going to perform, and I began to lose hope that anyone would even experience the band other than those who brought us there who had already seen us!

But then energy started to shift and our friends started to call for HERE II HERE to set up in a small temple in what is called “The Goddess Grove”. That temple looked like it could hold about 20 people tops.

So we did. And then people started to gather around.

It was a beautiful crisp northern California summer night. The tall trees in that lush little “Goddess Grove” sparkled with thousands of bright laser pinpoint lights dancing silently across the canopy. HERE II HERE gave a beautiful hour-long unplugged performance for the 50 or so people who eventually wandered up to see what was going on in the Grove.

... and wouldn’t you know it, I discovered halfway through, that Debra Giusti, the founder of Harmony Festival, who I had been told I need to meet and who needs to know about HERE II HERE ..... she was right in the middle of it all, getting a fully loaded shot of HERE II HERE.

It’s always such a treat to meet someone whose name has long been circulating in my awareness before actually meeting them. So sweet. And there we were.

Although we had only been scheduled for that late night acoustic performance as an afterthought to the event, it turned out to be a great blessing. We weren’t even “supposed” to be there, if you’re given to conventional thinking. And yet, on the strength of what we created in that “less-than-ideal” moment, we created enough energy and good-will to get invited back the next day to perform on an even bigger stage, with our full sound system, for a much larger audience.

As I insisted to the guys when they were thinking of backing out earlier that night, “There’s no such thing as an ‘inconvenient opportunity’. While I certainly understand that the road to performing on the Main Stage here for thousands of people DOES NOT necessarily have to go through this perhaps uncomfortable experience tonight, it sure seems to me the most powerful step forward that we’ve got right now towards that Main Stage experience.”

They couldn’t argue with that. At least they didn’t.

As it turned out, in that moment, serving the vision of something bigger than our own immediate comfort brought the founder of that Harmony Festival right into our midst, got us invited back not only the next night, but ALSO already to next year’s festival.

Of course, it must be said that even if we never play on that Main Stage, I know human beings experienced something profound during those two HERE II HERE performances. I saw people moved, healed, inspired, shaken up, wide-eyed and fascinated ... I watched that happen.

And in this moment, that is success enough for me.

p.s. Special thanks to Kathrine, Sooz, Tirza, Elizabeth and everyone else in our new Sebastopol family.


  1. Though far removed from my experience of the night's events, it's fun to read about the drama you enjoyed.


  2. Isn't it fun to recognize that we each live in our own worlds that seem to have nothing to do with any outside absolute truth?!!??

    Truly liberating!

  3. Hey!? June 18th?! How did I miss this? I signed up for updates or follows or "stalking Brian Reeves" but never got an alert. And here I've been jones'in for a "blian" wondering if you were just too pooped to pop and resting up.

    Anyway when I saw that you guys would be at that expo I thought, "Wow! That thing looks huge!" The excitement for you was instantly followed by my visual of it all being too huge and crowded for my comfort. Your description of the first night fit pretty well in my "That's why I don't do HUGE functions like that" mind. Made me nervous just reading/picturing it.

    So glad you guys stuck it out...for your sake and of course all who would have missed the chance to experience the Magic. Invited back next year? Guess that means you may travel near enough for we San Fran folk to bask in the Glow again. Yummy! :)

  4. Oops. I meant to type "blyan." Know a Brian too. :)