There’s nothing more unifying than a pandemic, so there’s a lot of perspective change: realizing what you had and missing what you lost. And so getting to walk back out onto a festival stage and getting to see a huge crowd of people who are going through the same thing … There's something really special about seeing everybody come back together for probably what is people’s first festival back from this, especially a big one like this.
A festival is really exciting, because maybe half or more of the people watching me haven’t even heard of me, or maybe they’re just seeing me for the first time, or they’re new fans. I love a challenge, I love to win people over. I’m singing to the person walking away.
Personally, I hate livestreams. No one loves them, but honestly I just think so much of my performance is about connecting with the audience and feeding off of their energy, and making it an experience that we’re all involved in. So the livestream thing is just totally counterintuitive to that -- because there’s, of course, no audience. I find that very difficult. So preparing for a livestream was easy and disappointing, and then preparing for a festival I was psyched. I was excited to get out there and sing to people and have them kind of sing back at me. There’s nothing like it.
I think we’ve all just missed [live music] so much. I’ll speak for myself, I never realized how important live music was to me -- and I’m saying that as a musician and someone who does this for a living. Once that was taken away, I really realized how crucial it is to my mental well being and my emotional well being. It’s a little scary, a little nerve-wracking, but I think that all of those things feel that way because it’s so important culturally to all of our psyches as fans of music to be able to do this as safely as we can -- and hopefully as responsibly as we can.
I had an entire year’s worth of shows and festivals lined up before the pandemic hit, and honestly I’m just a road dog; I love to be on tour, I love to perform. It was really nice to have a moment to write and spend time with myself, which I’ve never really done before, but you know, I think all of us felt that until eventually you feel the ache to go back and play. So when we got the OK from whomever about vaccines and masks, we as a team on my end really spent a long time figuring out what our protocol was for COVID, and making sure the band and crew is all tested every week and we’re vaccinated and wearing masks in common areas.
We’re being ultra, ultra safe -- because we want to be a good example to other bands and musicians who maybe haven’t gone out yet, and we wanted to hopefully come back from this tour and say, “Look, we did this responsibly and it can be done responsibly.” I mean, the truth is, like everyone, we’re kind of just making it up as we go along. We’re about two weeks into our tour and everyone is still negative, and we’ve had lovely shows and haven’t heard about any spread. I hope and pray it’s all good.
That’s the responsibility we really felt, because we were one of the first bands to go back on the road, and we would’ve hated to have to then cancel that tour because we all got COVID. It would be an awful precedent to set. We really wanted to set a precedent that we could do this responsibly and safely -- hopefully. It’s not over yet.