Brookhaven Cherryfest And More

PREFACE: Last week Monday, March 27th, I dropped my friend off at the airport as our trip came to an end. Shortly after coming back home, news broke out of the mass shooting at The Covenant School. This school is only miles from my home and my work. I did not know any of the victims personally, but several of them were friends of friends, and some of my friends’ kids attend the school. It’s now a week later, and writing about the fun adventures the weekend before feels weird and disjointed from the headspace I’ve been in the past week. There were some crazy snafus throughout the weekend that at the time, felt like a much bigger deal than they do now in light of the horrific event that took place just days later. That said, it’s still important to remember and share the adventures this life offers. Here is my best attempt at doing that.

MARCH 23 – 26, 2023

Ain’t Too Proud Was Fire!

When Hanson announced they were playing a free show in Atlanta on a weekend, whether or not I would attend was a no-brainer. The only question was who else would be going with me. But then John Mayer announced a show in Nashville, and so my friend Katie decided to come down for both. She flew in Thursday afternoon and I picked her up after work. Just a few hours before she landed, one of my friends offered me her tickets to see Ain’t Too Proud for that night, and we decided sure, why not?

Ain’t Too Proud started off strong. They obviously incorporated a lot of music from The Temptations and other Motown songs, and it was hard not to dance in my seat. But then about half-way through the show, I noticed the fire alarm lights flashing. I pointed it out to Katie, and we both looked around, but no one else was really reacting. We were sitting in the middle of the auditorium, and there was no aisle, so we were kind of stuck anyway. The lights continued to flash for a good 5-10 minutes, and a muffled voice recording started playing from the back of the building.

Eventually, the voice recording got louder, and we noticed the balcony evacuating. But apparently the show must go on! Finally, a man in the 5th row yelled “STOP THE PRODUCTION!” Then, and only then, did the house lights go up and they asked the actors to clear the stage. At this point, everyone around us finally started to evacuate – though for some reason the theater staff wouldn’t let us leave out the closest exit. They asked us all to go wait across the street. After about 30 minutes, they determined it was a false alarm and let us back in to finish the show… except not quite. About half-way through the second act, the alarms went off again. This time, they reacted quicker and announced that they will not be continuing the performance. It was a good show, and I’m bummed I didn’t get to see the ending. (And the venue did refund everyone’s tickets.)

John Mayer Blew Us Away

I had to work on Friday, so Katie and I just spend the day hanging out at my house while I worked, conserving energy for the late night. We got to the arena a bit early and made our way up (up.. up.. up!) to our seats. Going into the show, I thought that I only knew some songs off Room For Squares, but it turns out there were several others I had forgotten about. I had never seen John Mayer before, and seeing him do a solo show was a fun introduction. His talent at both piano and guitar blew me away. And speaking of being blown away, there was a tornado watch during the show and we had no idea what we’d be walking out to. Thankfully, it never turned into a warning and the worst of it blew over before it was time to leave.

Drove My Chevy To The Levee

The Brookhaven Cherryfest was a two-day festival, and Hanson wasn’t playing until Sunday. We were hoping to make it down to Atlanta early enough on Saturday to see Deep Blue Something, Don McLean, and Band of Horses, but traffic had other ideas. I’ve made the drive from Nashville to Atlanta several times, and it always backs up around Chattanooga. I factored that in to the time I said we needed to leave, but it was worse than I anticipated. But… that actually wasn’t the worst part of the drive.

About an hour north of Atlanta, driving down I-75, we were in the middle lane right behind a semi. For a split second, I saw a man walk across the interstate. Then, I saw his legs standing between the tires of the semi. I slammed on my brakes, thinking for sure I was about to see a pedestrian get run over by a semi. But somehow the truck managed to stop in time, and then the man kept walking toward the left lane. He walked directly in front of another car and it ran off the road into the median, as did the car behind it. Then the man turned around, and walked directly toward my car. I sped up and kept going. We debated calling 911, but weren’t sure enough of our location. (And honestly, the last time I called 911 while on I-75 near Atlanta [Petapalooza, a car wreck], they were less than helpful.) So, we kept going. I tried Googling later in the day and didn’t see any news articles, so I hope that means all ended up being well. I’ll never know if he was trying to get hit by a car or if something else was going on in his mind.

We ended up making it to the festival and only missed Deep Blue Something (and the bands we had never heard of before them). It was fun to get to say I saw Don McLean sing “American Pie”, and we stuck around for the first few songs of Band of Horses. But, it was hot, we were tired, there were only port-a-potties, and the people around us were too busy having full on conversations to actually enjoy the music. (Someone please explain the point of this to me?!) Once we realized we couldn’t really hear what was happening on stage, we voted to leave early.

You’re A Wizard, Holly!

Katie had kept getting ads on Facebook for a Harry Potter Exhibition in downtown Atlanta, and we had just a few hours to go before it closed for the day. You get an interactive wristband and use it to register your name, your house, and your wand. Then you move throughout the museum and perform spells to earn house points. They had a lot of costumes and props from the movies, and of course a gift shop at the end. There was also a cafe where we got Harry Potter themed mocktails (we were too tired for the real thing). It was a really neat experience, though I think the price was double what it should have been.

Isn’t It Weird, Standing In The Rain

We went to bed Friday night honestly not knowing if the Hanson concert was going to end up being cancelled or not, due to the thunderstorms and hail in the forecast. We laid around in the hotel as late as we could before check out, then hit up Walmart for as much preparations as we could take. Ten ponchos and two tarps later, we got to the park. It was already turning into a mudpit which made walking down hill toward the stage super fun. We place one tarp under our chairs, each wore a poncho, but ponchos on our chairs, and around Katie’s feet. (She only had sneakers, I was wearing waterproof sandals).

It started raining pretty heavily during one of the openers (Lissie), and there was lightning within a 5 mile radius so they cut her set short. Once the music started back up with All-4-One, the park started handing out free umbrellas, which we needed during The Fray as the rain picked back up. But then, finally the rain cleared just in time for Hanson. I never go to these one-off shows expecting a unique set list; all I ask is for a solid performance, and Hanson delivered. The surprise semi-deep cut of the set was “Runaway Run”, which I was pleased with. The show ended early in the day around 6pm, and I’m not mad about it. At this point the park actually was a full on mudpit, and we had a 4 hour drive ahead of us. So, we skipped trying to meet the band and made our way home, complete with a mandatory Buc-ee’s pitstop.

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