So, obviously I’m really excited about this year’s Aftershock line-up, as it was what I had considered to be my dream line-up last year. But that’s a festival for you: the possibility of having more than one of your favorite bands in front of you in the same place on the same day (or over the space of a weekend). I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of shows in my life, and I have a huge passion for live music (who doesn’t?) – but festivals are a whole different kettle of fish. Festivals are music, but also an entire experience: the food, the people, the atmosphere. Festivals are my idea of a circus, in the best way possible. At Aftershock last year some of my favorite memories are of when we spent time strolling around, checking out the different food options, and the different tents to see what they had to offer. We found ourselves circling back to The Music Experience area time and time again, because it was a real interactive treat.
The Music Experience is a place where brands can interact with the public, in a way that makes the public feel like they are walking away with something. That something may be knowledge, a new skill, a purchase, or just the feeling that they met some cool people and had a fun time. We walked in because we wanted to look at the instruments on display, and ended up learning all about different drum kits. Our then two year old sat down behind a huge drum kit and to her delight was handed a couple of drum sticks and told to play. This child is pretty shy at the best of times, but she just grabbed the sticks and started playing, tapping out her own little beat in her head (she’s somewhere on the @SJCDrums Instagram account too). Through-out the rest of the weekend we kept ending back up there just to hang out, and again, someone came over and gave the kids a little egg-shaped shaker, which they ended up shaking around for the rest of the evening (and still continue to play with today). I just loved how welcoming everyone was, and how passionate they were about communicating their love for music. The Music Experience is an awesome way to get people involved in music in general and in the music industry. Their tent goes up all over the country, at festivals like Chicago Open Air, Louder Than Life, and Aftershock of course, and they also host a ton of band signings. (Seriously so much easier than climbing fences and hanging out around a tour bus… Yes I have done that in my youth, and yes, it did lead to some interesting encounters, like playing football with Impaled Nazarene or nearly falling at the feet of Nick Cave).
Another cool Music Experience activity is The Student Experience, where kids between the ages of 7 and 21 who are interested in music and arts, can actually participate in a festival by experiencing all types of activities. From Q&As with band members and all of the people behind the scenes, without whom the festivals wouldn’t take place (sound engineers, tour managers, roadies…), learning about the ins and outs of the industry, to just really experiencing a festival from the inside. If you know anyone who would be interested in joining the team at Aftershock this year submissions are open until October 10th for Aftershock right HERE. I would have leapt at the chance to do something like this when I was a teenager.
Also represented at Aftershock is Fuck Cancer and their Dyin 2 Live program. Everyone knows at least someone who has battled cancer (most people know several people, sadly), and the disease doesn’t discriminate. Old or young, rich or poor, black, white, orange, or blue, cancer lurks everywhere, Fuck Cancer is a non-profit that aims to raise cancer awareness and education about early detection, and the Dyin 2 Live program helps grant wishes to kids and adults battling cancer. You can read more about Fuck Cancer here (and why you shouldn’t have an issue using the “F” word when it’s associated with cancer), and about Dyin 2 Live here. We will definitely be stocking up on merch too, their tank tops and t-shirts are gorgeous. If you know of someone who could benefit from the program submit their story to firstname.lastname@example.org!
You can also check out Maynard James Keenan’s wine, learn about Heavy Grass, create some art with Juxtapoz Projects, hang out on the Monster viewing deck, and help animals in need through Take Me Home.
I’m already planning my outfit in my head, as well as what the girls will wear (I was thinking of Grit n Glory t-shirts converted into dresses because I have to rep my old friends, and because their new tees are going to be amazing), and can’t wait to experience all the fun again this year! Check out the Aftershock website for tickets and all the info you need.
(PS: Did I already tell you how much I LOVE Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and A Perfect Circle?)
Also – I thought this Sacramento Bee article from last June was a great portrayal of what a great event Aftershock is for the city of Sacramento. I know I only moved here 18 months ago and often complain that I miss NYC, but there are some amazing events that are held here all year round, and they are always super accessible to everyone. And, well, I just love a great music festival.