The end of the year always means it’s time for those year end “best of” lists – best albums of 2015, hottest singles, best movies, etc. To be honest, when I sat down to consider what a Best Albums of 2015 list would look like for me, it all felt obvious. Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton, sure. Craig Finn and Doomtree, of course. But beyond that, I felt stuck – not to mention it can take me a bit longer to finally get around to listening to a new record once it does come out. Rather than another post of albums of the year (you can check out the 2014 post, if you like), I thought I’d do something a bit more personal here and recap my favorite concerts of 2015! A few I blogged about, many I Instagrammed, and a few saw me unable to put my phone down to stop Snapchatting – let’s revisit!
One of the truths I’ve discovered is that in Nashville, you can truly see live music anywhere – even at a barber shop. In November, Cory Branan played a (not-so) secret show at Scout Barbershop as part of Cause a Scene. It’s no secret that he’s my favorite active musician, and I’ve only missed one of his shows since moving to town. At this point, he always knows the tall blonde girl in the crowd, and I had jokingly tweeted him the day before that I was preparing his set list (he doesn’t write them out, so I’m always shouting out songs at him.) This time, my year of following him paid off: I constantly ask to hear one specific old song that can really mess up his guitar, and he closed his set with it for me. One of the best nights of music I’ve been to in town.
Where do these summers go?! For the second year in a row, the summer was jam packed in the best way, but it absolutely flew by. If I wasn’t spending afternoons by the pool, I was jetsetting somewhere every week, it seemed – it’s pretty amazing to finally be living the kind of life I really want. Here’s a quick recap of the summer:
I started the summer off with two trips to the water – first to see Dani in Boston, then down to the Florida beach with my family. There is nothing I love more than being on the beach and cooking in the sun with the people I love most, so this was a really great way to kick the year off (and a good indicator of exactly how busy I would end up being)!
Even though I made it a point not to travel out of state in July, I still managed to pack the month full. Hands down, Outlaw Roadshow was one of the best days of music I’ve ever been lucky to see, and the surprise Counting Crows set to close out the night didn’t hurt matters any. I went hiking to some waterfalls with some of my best friends to celebrate my Nashversary, and spent many afternoons nappingby various poolsthroughout the city.
In early August, I finally moved to Nashville proper after a year of commuting from the burbs, and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the new place (no matter how stressful and time consuming moving ended up being.) Before I set off on another big trip, I finally got to see one of my bucket list bands when I saw Gin Blossoms play two shows in one night. No one will ever be able to tell me any differently – they are one of my favorite bands of all time, and I really had a great night. CF and Sixx came with me, and it was pretty nice to not be there alone!
The next morning, I flew to Montreal for my company retreat. Even though I have “known” my co-workers for almost a year, it was nice to meet in person for real, do some heavy bonding, and exchange treats with friends!
September has been a really great way to end the summer. Over Labor Day, some friends from Charlottesville came to visit, and I had friends from college staying with me as well. It was a busy weekend for sure, but super fun to get out and sing some karaoke again (and have a band full of boys to buy me drinks all weekend :))
After that, I made a last-minute trip back home to the mitten. My best friend had her baby, and I was just homesick for water. Turns out the 10 hour drive isn’t so bad, especially when the trip back is broken up with visits to wineries and dinners with Sixx!
Last week saw what I consider the most wonderful time of the year – Americanafest in Nashville! A full week of my favorite kinds of music, plus panels and meetings with some of the smartest and most talented folks in the industry. A co-worker came into town for the event, and we exhibited during the conference and at night, I ran from venue to venue checking out showcases and discovering new loves. (I managed to make it to seven Nashville venues in one evening, which felt like a world record.)
In the middle of all that craziness, because I wasn’t getting enough music or activity – I flew to Denver to see Counting Crows for the third time this summer at Red Rocks. It was really otherwordly – Red Rocks is like nothing else, and I can’t recommend going there enough.
Pairing Americanafest with Red Rocks and a comedy show at Zanies in Nashville on Friday night, I ended up seeing shows at ten different venues in 2 states within 48 hours. That is definitely some kind of record.
I have one more trip to Raleigh next week, then off to Cincinnati in mid-October, but other than that and Thanksgiving, my travel looks to be done for the year. So, yeah! It’s been a really great summer. I am so lucky to be able to get to do these amazing things and hang out with such great people. If only this summer heat could last forever, I’d be all set…
This post is a sponsored post on behalf of Yahoo! Live.
Stand Up 2 Cancer is a non-profit whose mission is to raise funding for leading oncologists and cancer researchers. The first televised fundraiser event, held in 2008, raised over $100 million dollars for research and featured dozens of musicians and celebrities, including Patrick Swayze and Sheryl Crow, who spoke of their fights against the disease. The SU2C theme song, “Just Stand Up,” featured more than ten female performers (girl power!)
In the years since, the annual event continues to get bigger and feature more influencers who are standing up to fight cancer. The concert airs tonight across all the major networks – ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox – and many cable partners. This year, through a partnership with Yahoo! Screen, it’s also streaming online. Yahoo has partnered with LiveNation to launch Yahoo! Live to air select concerts live, and then loop them online for 24 hours after the performance. Yahoo! Live will air one concert every day for a full 365 days, so you can see a concert from the comfort of your house for a full year. (Join me this Monday as I watch my favorite band in sweatpants and a messy bun. And then join me for the next 24 hours as I live the dream of my life always being a The Hold Steady show.) Check out the next 30 shows here.
I’ll be watching Stand Up 2 Cancer live tonight, thinking of those I have lost, those who have won their battles like my mom, thinking of friends who are still fighting, and sending special prayers to a friend as her family rallies around their fighter. If you’ve never had the chance to watch Stand Up 2 Cancer, it’s a deeply moving experience. To donate now, visit Stand Up 2 Cancer’s website.
“In my world, in my vision the hero always defeats the villian, the boy always gets the girl, and cancer is no more.” SU2C cofounder and guiding light, Laura Ziskin
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Teva. All opinions are 100% mine.
Teva Original Sandals were invented in 1984 for people with adventurous spirits who are ready to get up and go. Always ready for adventure, these sandals are perfect for any outdoor venture – and especially great for music festivals. Teva is the official footwear of Bonnaroo Music Festival, and they’ll carry you through shows all summer long. I’ll be attending a few festivals this year and have been to many in past summers – I’ve even worked a few, so I have some insight for first-timers whore are #Ready2Roo!
My favorite tips for making the most of festivals:
Do research and be prepared: festivals always release lineups weeks and months ahead of time, so there’s no excuse for missing your favorite band! Make a plan and carry a physical copy with you out to the festival grounds. You can’t be guaranteed to have service (or electricity!) in the campground or at the festival grounds to access a virtual copy of your dream show list. Be sure to check the weather too!
Dress properly: It’s going to be hot. There’s a reason festival fashion has a reputation for being boho chic. The collage above shows my idea of a perfect festival look. Embrace the flowy dresses, bikini tops, short shorts, and sensible shoes. You’re going to be standing for loooong periods of time – Teva Sandals are a great pick for keeping cool and comfy. Pick yours up from Zappos!
Camp in style: I can’t take anyone who stays in hotels during festival weekends seriously. Part of the fun is bonding with your friends in tents, sleeping on the floor, and disconnecting from technology. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun – a little research and preparation will ensure that you have the coolest campsite on the block.
Check out the second stages: Festivals are hotbeds of up-and-coming artists who are just about to hit. Head in to the shows early to check them out and brag to your friends that you saw them before they got big.
Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Apply sunscreen every couple of hours. A sport formula to combat the sweat is best! Do your best to protect your skin from the sun with floppy hats and sunglsses – and don’t forget the SPF on your lips.
For more tips on making the most of your festival experience, check out The Fountain and let me know your best tricks!