Well, after all the time preparing, planning, promoting, practicing for, etc Honey Fest 2011 (link), it's finally over. It was one huge party with some very unexpected surprises that came along the way. The organizers of Honey Fest are friends of mine, and I've only been getting closer over the past year, getting to know their story and how this all came about. It was a huge honor to be able to perform with them on stage to close the night's on-stage music to an incredibly appreciative and supportive audience.
Though a three-day celebration full of good times, good people, good food, and good music, the underlying and driving force behind this relatively new festival is more sobering. It was organized to raise awareness for Polycistic Kidney Disease or PKD for short, an incredibly common yet relatively unrecognized condition. No cure currently exists, and victims must undergo regular dialysis or a kidney transplant. It's also a genetic condition meaning parents suffering from PKD have a 50% chance of passing it on to their children.
One of the big things that was emphasized throughout the festival was the importance of organ donors. This is a topic that is very near and dear to me: my uncle's life was saved thanks to an organ donor. Additionally, a friend of mine who passed away in an accident two years ago was able to give the gift of life to five people because he was an organ donor. For those who have never gone through the process, being the recipient of an organ donation is a difficult, unpredictable, and nerve-wrecking process. Unless someone donates directly to you (usually a family, friend, or loved one), you're put on a waiting list meaning it's anyone's guess as to when or even if you'll get it. At the festival, several people who weren't already volunteered to be donors.
That all, said, I enjoyed staying active, enjoying the food, meeting some new faces while reveling in how small the world can be sometimes, and had an absolute blast performing both my solo material as well as on keys with Honey Juice, the headlining band. No doubt that many more will come, but photographer Greg Martini (http://www.gregmartini.com/) has already posted a bunch of pictures of the day (link). All of the pictures you see here are courtesy of Greg.
Also, a special shout-out to the sound guys, the unsung heroes of live music. They did a bang-up job of providing nice, clean, balanced sound throughout the festival. Both the on-stage and off-stage levels were great, something that unfortunately doesn't happen very often. They were all also really nice, cooperative, patient guys to boot too!
Until next time,
Love and Peace!