It’s not easy to single out one moment that defines a Music Festival like California Roots. Thousands of fans moving across the fairgrounds, a pink flamingo rising above the crowd, insane solo performances, banners flowing from flagpoles and backpacks. The energy is intense and everywhere I look, everyone is smiling with joy.

Then I realized for me, music makes me feel like a kid again. What is it about music that evokes so many great memories? It’s like a metaphorical key to unlock your past. We have all had that moment, when you hear a song or see a band name, and you can remember every detail of a moment: what you were wearing, what you were doing, who you were with. It all comes back within a few seconds of recognizing a song.

I noticed quite a few families with children at the show. The children’s artwork is on display in the Artist Alley, families are picnicking and kids are chasing bubbles across the grass. There is sweet Reggae playing in the background. I wonder if that is the moment they will travel back to, years from now, when that Stick Figure song plays on the radio.  Will they remember Cocoa the dog?  Will they remember seeing HIRIE’s daughter running to her Mother’s arms on stage?  How can anyone forget thousands of Marley fans applauding the performance and confidence of a small child in the spotlight?

Performers and vendors have to balance family time with the reality of travel and working on the road.   If you have children, you know this is a constant game of preparation and adjustment. Parents make it work and it’s all worthwhile because kids are inspirational. Children place delight and exuberance into having fun. The gears shift into overdrive when it’s time to play.

The performers must tap into that childhood energy too.  The band gives 110% for 2 hours and even when they leave the stage, that rush does not subside. As they meet fans after the show or on the grounds, they give thanks, a hug, or simply a smile. I wonder what memories are recalled. Are they thinking about their first time meeting childhood heroes? The first time they learned that guitar riff? That defining moment when you ditch the sheet music to play a song from memory? The first day the band played together? The memories we made over the last few days are going to last forever. They make me feel like in this moment, I can be a kid forever too.  My photographs from the weekend can be found on Facebook and Instagram.