Tag Archives: The Governor’s Ball Music Festival

Pretty Good Year Lessons

It’s been nearly two years since I last posted a blog entry on this website.  WTH?!  Had I really been that busy to even bother posting on here?  Truth is, I never even noticed my inactive blogging slump until today, which happens to be my birthday.  I woke up this morning with a bottle of Jack feeling very introspective and reflective, logged on to this website to look back at the past year, and BOOM… my last post was about Cocktails & Couture… in January… of 2015!!!  Nearly two entire years had passed.  WTF?!

I suppose there wasn’t much to share on here from 2015 besides the usual trips and events.  I must have involuntarily gave myself a break from being a blogger last year, and saved my energy for this year and beyond.  Let’s face it, these blogs become vehicles for the egocentric and/or insecure to remind you to look at them (with the exception of the guys at NHIE Tampa who do a remarkable job highlighting Tampa Bay), so maybe I should win an award for Best Friend of 2015 for sparing friends and acquaintances from annoying posts that secretly beg for their likes and comments.

2016 was the year of change, and with change comes lessons learned.  So without dragging you thru a mundane assessment of 2015, let’s fast forward to 2016, start from Day 1, and sum up the past year with what I learned along the way.

 

January 2016

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Happy New Year!  I suppose since I slept through all New Year’s festivities ringing in 2015, that I had zero choice but to get pretty, be social, and make plans to ring in 2016.  A huge group of friends targeted the Rooftop Eve Party in downtown Tampa to celebrate.  The last Rooftop Eve Party I attended in 2014 was a drunken, blurry, hot Transylvania mess fun time, but… unlike those 2015 festivities, this year’s party was just a HOT, humid, face-melting, sweaty mess.  I was drenched in sweat by 12:15am, and headed home around 12:30am.
Lesson Learned:  Mother nature, if you’re gonna melt my face, please let it be at Sunset Music Festival or Governor’s Ball when someone on stage and behind the decks is in charge of doing the job.

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Cocktails & Couture!  One of my passion projects with Tribeca ColorSalons and annual favorite events, Cocktails & Couture finally hit its stride this year.  We went from attracting 500 attendees our  very first year, to 200 attendees our second year, to eventually bouncing back and hitting a whopping 1,200 guests in our fourth year.  This recap from 813area.com perfectly sums up the event.  Check it out here: Cocktails & Couture Makes Tampa Feel Like A Big City & Save The Date: January 14, 2017!
Lesson Learned:  Never give up on something you believe in.  The receipts will be there as long as your personal passion still is.

February 2016

Puero Rico!  My annual February trip to Puerto Rico meant more than the coconut cocktails consumed on the beach, the rum guzzled at the Bacardi Factory, and seeing Jack Ü perform for the first time.  Neil brought along bestie Ian Michael for the San Juan adventure, and his story, his drive, his fearlessness, and his heart melted my heart (not my face) when he first shared it with me on that flight down to the  51st U.S. state.  Check out The Human Hug Project
Lesson Learned:  A hug can save the world.

 

April 2016

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Festa Italiana!  Bellinis, limoncello, pasta, meatballs, more bellinis, more limoncello, sfingi, ravioli, er… Jameson Irish Whiskey shots (?).  Another Italian Festival, another Sunday Funday on steroids.  Save The Date: April 9, 2017
Lesson Learned:  Okay, my bartender friends.  I confess… I really do enjoy Jameson!

 

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Coachella, baby!  Words cannot describe the magnitude of dreaminess that is the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio Valley, California.  Those who have been understand the magic that the entire weekend brings.  If you are a fan of music, fashion, art, culture, and good vibes, a ticket to Coachella is like securing an exclusive golden Wonka ticket… well, except that there are 100,000 other exclusive ticket holders.This year was my third year attending, but certainly not my last.  Coachella has since been upgraded to Annual Must Attend Event on my Google Calendar.
Lesson Learned:  You cannot download a live music experience.

 

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Pride & Passion NOW IN TECHNICOLOR!  I served on the Tampa Museum of Art’s Pride & Passion steering commitee for five years, before finally becoming Chair this past year.  And as Chair, I recruited my own Avengers team of committee members, and put my heart, soul, sweat and tears into overseeing this event from top to bottom during the 9 months of planning.  This year’s Pride & Passion became the first to completely sell out days before the event, while also going down as the most attended event in the history of the Tampa Museum of Art.  ::drops mic::  After six colorful years and literally ending on the highest note possible, I decided that my time with Pride & Passion had finally come to a wonderful and fruitful conclusion.
Lession Learned:  You’re only as good as your team… and I made sure to surround myself with the most talented & hard-working crew.

 

May 2016

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Viva The RITZ Ybor!  The RITZ Ybor, my workplace and my home for nearly the past decade came under new management this past summer.  Changes.  Changes.  Changes.  This was nothing new.  My entire time working there for nine years was constantly filled with changes.  While I am still working at the best mid-size concert venue in town, my role has since changed, I had to say goodbye to some coworkers, and meet & work with a brand new team.
Lesson Learned: “Change is the law of life.  And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”  …and I don’t want to get left behind.

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June 2016

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Governor’s Ball!  A music festival in NYC during the summer time?  Yes, please.  What has become an every other year event has since transcended to being another Annual Must Attend Event.  Sure I get to cross artists, bands and dj’s off of my Must See List.  And yeah, I get to galavant across Manhattan and Brooklyn eating and drinking everything in sight, but most  importantly, I get to spend the weekend with old dear friends while (always guaranteed to) meeting new ones.
Lesson Learned:  Things are always constantly changing, and just spending one second in New York City will always reconfirm that.

August 2016

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Jonathan L. Myers.  I was texted the news.  I did not believe the news.  I read the news on social media.  I called to confirm the news, hoping that it was all some very hurtful and mean joke.  The news was true.  And my heart was ripped apart.

It still feels like Jonathan is on-duty overseas again, and there will be some sudden welcome back party that causes everyone to call out from work for an entire week.  I thought that making my way to his service in Iowa would bring personal closure to this tragic event, and that I would finally be able to accept that he is gone.
Lesson Learned:  I used to get really sad whenever past photos or stories of Jonathan would pop up in my feed.  Now, I smile knowing how lucky I was to share and spend those very moments with him.

September 2016

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Franklin Manor!  My friends Franco and Dave reached out to me over the summer about joining their new venue, a downtown social drinkery called Franklin Manor, to handle and manage their events.  I was intrigued and flattered, but did not know if I would be able to make everything work with two existing jobs, an unnecessary travel schedule, and my growing list of Netflix shows that I’ve yet to binge-watch.  (Truth!)  I accepted  this new opportunity that has since become a very fun 2.5 months (and counting) adventure.
Lesson Learned:  One can never have too many homes.

October 2016

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Gina & Vince Get Married!  My first trip to Chicago ten years ago, I met Gina and Vince.  At the time, Gina and Vince were hanging out.  And over the entire course of a decade, I’ve seen Gina and Vince transition from hanging out to dating to moving in and nesting to welcoming a beautiful daughter into the world followed by an adorable son.  This past October, I finally saw Gina and Vince get married.
Lesson Learned:  The longer you wait, the more you appreciate, because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for… especially when you have a smile on your face the entire time.

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All Hallow’s Ball!  I decided to do something different and dress up for Tampa’s biggest & loudest, annual Halloween party.  I nearly forgot that it had been a whopping 12 years or so since I last attended the All Hallow’s Ball, hence my last minute begging and scouring for an invitation and tickets to the party.  And unlike the 12 year absence from the party, I probably lasted a mere 30-minutes or so at the celebration due to a extreme hangri-ness.
Lesson Learned:  I don’t have a lesson learned here to share.  I just wanted another excuse to share a photo my Snapchat Filter Flower Crown that I created by myself.

November 2016

…and here we are today!  I am officially in my late-30s.  According to some online surveys, I am older.  (Damn you random survey that forced me to check that 35 & up box!)  I feel wiser.  I feel good.  I look good (solely judging by the surprised reactions when I revealed my age to a handful of friends.)  I also feel like I give less of a shit with a lot of the shit that used to drive me nuts.  (Has my OCD been cured?)  With Jonathan’s sudden passing, I’ve realized that if you aren’t happy with something in life, change it, fix it, or shut the hell up and deal with it.  Life is way too precious, short and unexpected to be stressing, worrying, and being unhappy.

I used to believe that happiness wasn’t something you find, but something you decide.
Lesson Learned:  Happiness is making the most of what you got, and realizing that you already have it all.

“Hold onto nothing as fast as you can.  Well… still… pretty good year.”  -Tori Amos

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My Coachella

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The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival… holy @#$! shit, what an absolute amazing experience!

This was my second time attending the nation’s reigning mother supreme of music festivals (and the most-successful festival according to Billboard Box-Office).  For anyone with a hard on for live music of all genres, Coachella is the ultimate wet dream.  There truly is no other way to describe the magic that is everything Coachella.  My obsession with Coachella stems from the diverse line-up all in one setting, surprise superstar performances, and 100,000 music and art lovers dancing, singing, and getting their life in the California desert.

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This year’s Coachella adventure kicked-off with a friends’ reunion in Los Angeles with my best friends Cheri and Harry a.k.a. Hit & Run (childhood friends from Tampa) and Kristin (who just so happened to be visiting California the same weekend).  I linked up with other former Tampons Jamal and Robert that evening, and received the ultimate surprise when I found out that my New York friends and family (sans Jason ::insert tears::) were in L.A. celebrating Gary’s birthday.

It was one big, fat, gigantic Tampa reunion in Los Angeles that just so happened to come together randomly.  The entire randomness of it all is best described by Nadia’s greeting to me when we first ran into one another that evening: “What the fuck are you doing here?  Are you real?  Is this night even real?”

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The weekend continued as we met up with Daddy Neil and Rusty, drove to Palm Springs and prepared for the onslaught of the next three days.  One of the weekend’s highlights was meeting Chloe and Erin, two fabulous (and quite hilarious) beauties from the UK.  We instantly clicked on night one during Outkast’s ho-hum reunion performance, and spent the rest of the Coachella weekend singing and dancing the nights away.

The music highlights of this year’s Coachella include:

  • Empire of the Sun…  I had been dying to see them live since I was first hypnotized by their “Walking on a Dream” single six years ago, and the boys certainly did not disappoint.  They were the perfect blend of pomp, flash and drama needed for the Sahara tent, and my pick for the best performance of the weekend.
  • Skrillex… Sonny Moore remains one of the few prominent on the EDM scene whose artistry and craft emanates from his every DJ set.  For those cynics who wrongly insinuate that there is no true talent or work in being a DJ, Skrillex’s thrilling set at Coachella is the receipt to silence them.
  • Rudimental…  It was a treat to finally see this British band perform, especially to witness how their music which encompasses drum and bass, R&B and soul, and pure funk came together in a live setting.
  • Calvin Harris…  Mr. Harris now boasts the second largest performance attendance in the history of Coachella, second only to 2012’s Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg Lion and the 2Pac holgram’s historic California Lovefest.  He played an effortless set of his greatest hits, from “Feel So Close” to Rihanna’s “We Found Love” to new single “Summer.”  No guest performances, no surprises.  And for those cynics who complained that his set played it safe, well why reinvent the wheel when it is still spinning?
  • Arcade Fire…  I will admit that I only knew a few handful of Arcade Fire songs.  I am not infatuated with Arcade Fire like their hardcore following of fans, nor am I one of their many detractors who simply do not understand their hype.  I have always stood on neutral ground with them, so  I was anticipating their headlining, closing performance to find out in which direction I would be swayed.  In the end, I enjoyed their performance, despite lead singer Win Butler’s misguided comments regarding us in the VIP section.
  • MGMT…  I forgot how much I loved MGMT until I woke up from my afternoon nap on the lawn and was greeted by the sounds of their music.
  • Lorde…  if only she could follow the rule of “less talking, less storytelling, more singing,” then she would have had an A+ set.
  • CHVRCHES…  when a band sounds as glorious as their studio recordings, it’s a win-win situation.  CHVRCHES lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s voice sounded like heaven.

A random festival-goer summed up the entire weekend best, when he and I accidentally walked into one another.  I immediately apologized during our run-in, and he just laughed it off, smiled and remarked, “it’s all good man.  No need to apologize.  It’s the best weekend of the year.”

…and yes it was.

To my dear friend Mike Hammonds, thank you for being the best music festival partner in crime.  Daddy Neil, thank you for being you, for teaching me the music festival bunny ways, and for reminding me that this was “my Coachella.”  And lastly, dear Coachella, I’ll be missing you next year, but will return in 2016 to cash in on the best weekend of that year!  [READ: 2012’s Coachella Adventure post]


“Comfortable” by The Knocks featuring X Ambassadors:  I am pissed that I missed The Knocks at last year’s Governor’s Ball in New York City, because I become more and more enamored with their music each and every passing day.  “Comfortable” was this year’s unofficial Coachella anthem.  Perhaps because I demanded that this song be played on repeat at high decibels.  Or simply because this anthem ROCKS, and will serve as a reminder of this beautiful weekend in Coachella Valley.  :: sigh ::

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Gen Pop

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My family reunions are a big deal.  My mother has 9 siblings.  And between all of her sisters and brothers, my uncles and aunts, I have a whopping 65 first cousins.  Growing up on the East Coast, I never had the opportunity to meet a fraction of my huge extended family.

10 years ago, I traveled to Seattle for the first time with a group of friends, yet spent the entire weekend meeting and catching up with most of my cousins, uncles and aunts.  It was a huge special occasion to all of them that one of the long, lost relatives from Florida was in town.  This was the very first time that I ever met any of them, yet they lovingly welcomed me with open arms and changed their schedules around just to spend time with someone who they essentially did not know.  It didn’t matter.  I was a part of the family, and one always go out of their way for family whether they know the family member or not.

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Last weekend, I experienced that same family-dynamic energy while visiting Jason in New York City.  Jason has become one of my best friends, and he’s fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful and valuable friends up there.  Anyone who is loved by one of my best friends is automatically loved by me, and spending time with everyone up there felt like home.  The NYC crew literally rolled out the red carpet to ensure that Neil, Areis and I had the time of our lives in their city, and they certainly delivered in making this trip the absolute best.  Then again, I wouldn’t have expected any less from friends family.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” Michael J. Fox


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I also flew up to New York City last weekend to attend The Governor’s Ball Music Festival which boasted headliners Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Guns N’ Roses.  The music festival weekend obviously belonged to Yeezus (Kanye West), but Swedish-based electro-pop group Kate Boy fronted by Aussie singer Kate Akhurst nearly stole the entire weekend at a Governor’s Ball pre-party nonetheless.  Check out their ultra-addictive “Northern Lights” music video below:

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