10.02.2011

Good Vibes. Life is Good.

When I was in high school, I volunteered at a camp for several summers. My best friend and I would eagerly count down the months and days until we drove down to Camp Omega to spend two weeks as volunteer counselors. We lived for those two weeks. We loved meeting new people, working with happy children, singing our hearts out around nightly camp fires, and taking capture the flag way too seriously (imagine two high school girls in sweatpants holding hands in the woods and crawling on their bellies to avoid being caught, while most campers just casually walked around kind of playing the game.) For those two weeks a summer, we were completely ourselves. We were free of the distractions from home- no cell phones, no television, and no stress. It was wonderful. 

Last year, I discovered my adult, grown up version of summer camp. It is the Life is Good Festival. Brian and I count down the months and weeks until we make the trip to Canton, Mass. for the most amazing two days of music. We meet new people, see happy children, and sing our hearts out to our favorite artists. And oh is it wonderful. 
The Life is Good Playmakers, formerly known as Project Joy, is a Boston-based non-proft organization that strives to provide children with joyful play experiences to help them overcome life-threatening challenges, including illness, violence, and poverty. The Life is Good festival, which started last year, is held annually to raise money for the Playmakers. 100% of the profits are donated to the Playmakers to bring joy to children's lives.

For the past two years, Brian and I have fundraised for the Life is Good Playmakers. Thank you to everyone who donated this year to our efforts; together we raised over $1,000 for children in need! Because the people at Life as Good are so incredibly wonderful, they like to reward their fundraisers for contributing to the Playmakers. Once you raise $500, you are officially a VGP- a very good person. Both Brian and I got our VGP status, and were able to spend most of the weekend in the VGP area. We were so grateful for the perks that came along with our status- air conditioned bathroom trailers (instead of gross porta-potties!), unlimited water, lots of free food, comfortable chairs, and best of all, a viewing area right next to the main stage. Thank you Life is Good for making our weekend so great!
What I love best about the festival is that it is dedicated to children. Signs are posted throughout Prowse Farm reminding everyone about the importance of play and joy in children's lives, and activities are held throughout the day to make the experience memorable for kids. They have sack races, parachute activities, seed spitting contests, rock climbing walls, a batting cage... the list could go on and on. To see a full list of activities, check out their website here.
The festival brings out the kid in everyone...
Soon after we arrived on Saturday morning, we headed over to the arts and crafts tent. For a small donation, you can paint a tile that is placed in a huge mural. We wanted to paint a tile last year, but by the time we made it to the tent the mural was already completed (the first picture in this post is the mural from last year's festival). We had fun decorating our tiles and seeing them slid into place within hours. I loved Brian's portrait of us!
By the end of the day, the first of two murals from the weekend was completed. If you look closely, you can see both of our tiles!
After exploring the grounds and checking out the activity and food tents, we made our way to the stage to see Tristan Prettyman perform. She was amazing! I had some of her music already on my Ipod, and will definitely be buying more after watching her live.
I was so excited when she watched the next concert from our VGP area, and had to get a picture with her. She was so lovely and nice!

Michael Franti and Spearhead were energetic, fun, and upbeat from start to finish.
And Ingrid Michaelson, like her songs, was adorable. She was so witty as she talked to the crowd about her songs and played many of my favorites.
The first day of the festival concluded with a beautiful sunset and a beautiful concert by the Avett Brothers.
Our second day at the festival was filled with just as many good vibes as the first. We started with a concert by Maceo Parker.
Then, we hopped over to the second stage to see the Ryan Montbleau Band play. Brian and I saw a private concert by the band at the Life is Good store in August, and were excited to see them play again. They were just as good as the first time we saw them. Later in the afternoon, I listened to an interview with Ryan Montbleau. It was really interesting to hear about his inspirations, his aspirations, and his favorite artists.
The highlight of the day, and possibly the weekend, was Brandi Carlile's performance. She rocked out. Rocked. Out. And if she wasn't already amazing enough, Life is Good threw a small ensemble from the Boston Pops on stage with her. It was my dream come true. Hearing Hallelujah live with an acoustic guitar and the Boston Pops brought tears to my eyes. It was amazing. Her whole band was so entertaining to watch, and I hope I get to see them on stage again soon!
After Brandi Carlile, I thought I would keep my euphoric feeling going a little longer by indulging in some funnel cake. I figured since I missed the Minnesota State Fair this year I deserved a plate of fried dough covered in sugar. We ate a Western burger from one of the stands before devouring our sweet treat.
The remainder of the day was very relaxed. We saw the second mural of the weekend completed, listened to the Levon Helm Band,  and found comfortable chairs in our VGP area where we enjoyed sweet potato fries and samosas. Then, Ray Lamontagne closed out the festival to a packed house farm.
Our VGP tent
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped make the Life is Good festival so wonderful.  And thank you to Brian for being my concert partner in crime; I love singing and dancing with you.

Do what you like. Like what you do. Life is good. 

Want to check out some of my favorite artists from the festival? Here is a playlist for you! 

6 comments :

  1. This looks like so much fun!!! I love the happiness all around there :) Wish we had something like that out here.

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  2. LOVE Brandi Carlile, and her version of Hallelujah! What a fun festival, Ingrid Michaelson would have been great to see as well!

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  3. what a great event! love life is good.... and that mural!

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  4. Amazing, so many of my favorites were there! Looks like you guys had the best time...but how could you not? :)

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  5. Hey! I was there, too crawling around in our sweatpants.

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  6. Hi! What a great day!! It's so wonderful to see something like this happening to help out children in need. I found your blog via A Dance for 5 and I'm looking forward to reading all about your life in NY!! Oh I dream of that city...
    Have a wonderful week :)
    Btw your About Me page was interesting, you certainly have travelled!!

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