If you’re a fan of humanity, you’re a fan of Mumford & Sons and their Gentleman of the Road tour. I had the good fortune to attend the Seaside Heights “Stopover” this past weekend and while I am nowhere qualified to write a review of the show, I have to devote a post to highlighting this very special music festival…and maybe even link it to yoga while I’m at it. Mumford & Sons defines “stopover” as “a celebration of a real place, with real people. It’s a bridge between the culture of a music festival and actual culture as lived by real-life people. We bring the music, the stage, the flags and the fans; everything else belongs to the town. Their energy and enthusiasm, their civic pride…their favorite local beer. We’ve found it to be a beautiful thing – maybe the most beautiful thing that we do.”
The goals and mission of the tour itself, from the opportunities provided to young, lesser-known bands to the contribution it makes to the host city, are truly inspirational. Yoga has afforded me a keener ability to live in the moment, to truly absorb my surroundings and recognize and appreciate the gifts. That gift of inspiration through passion, creativity and generosity was plentiful throughout my weekend, and not just limited to the great music.
I was inspired on a visit to ReFind, an art studio in nearby Bay Head, NJ. Zsa Zsa Stackles opened this eclectic gem to supply local artists with opportunities to showcase their work, as well as fuel her own passion for art and its importance in society. It was a gift to see passion in action as we listened to several stories behind the artists and their amazing works in the shop (including a gorgeous charcoal nude by Zsa Zsa herself!). She uses her influence to expand the world of local artists by displaying their work, as well as the world of future generations through her classes, camps and workshops. I was grateful to encounter and notice the difference between passion and salesmanship, recognition of which led to a purchase of a super cool Melissa Hood piece now hanging happily in our family room.
I was inspired at the witness of the joy of just doing something you love. The Flaming Lips’ (who have been captivating crowds for over thirty years) pleasingly and naturally bizarre performance was great example of this. A gigantic cape made of mylar balloons and crowd surfing inside a giant bubble are just two of the creative elements layered into their turn on stage. If you were lucky enough to see the show and weren’t entertained, check your pulse.
My favorite M & S album is the one they recorded at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado. I love to hear the purity in Marcus Mumford’s voice without the influence of studio recording. Hearing them perform in person so far exceeded my expectations in every way, putting this show in my all-time top three. I had goosebumps from the opener “Snake Eyes,” to the encore, which covered a fellow storytelling rocker, Jersey Shore icon Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” (no doubt a nod to the host city), and included all musicians who played that day. They show the beauty in finding what moves you in life and taking hold of it. I feel grateful to have not only been a part of something rooted in such passion and doing so much good while they’re at it, but also to have the mindful awareness to recognize it. There is an anonymous quote I love, “Yoga takes you into the present moment. The only place where life exists.”
If there is a GOTR Stopover near you (or even not so near), GO! Here are the “rules” before you do:
“Arrive early, stay late; Don’t miss out on camping; Hear as many bands as you can; Take the party from the stage to the town; Eat the local food, drink the local drink; Say a friendly hello to new faces; Have as much fun as humanly possible.”
So if the mission isn’t enough to move you, luckily the music will. If you’re still not convinced, at least in Seaside Heights there was a guy giving out free hugs.