"Hey! Don't drop you're smile!" I hear someone holler as I make my way through an ocean of tie dye garnished, nappy-dreaded festival lovers, grilled cheese aromas & wild-child laughter. Irony dripped from the quintessential fact that these "Dead-Heads" couldn't be more Grateful for the night they'd just had in the ocean-side amphitheater. It was a night that I won't soon be forgetting either.
After meeting up with Mo & Gracie for the "Best Coast x Fayettechill shoot", I caught wind that they were planning on seeing the Grateful Dead & Company (the "company" being John Mayer filling in for passed band member, Jerry Garcia). I offered to document the experience in exchange for the price of admission & was met with an exuberant "yes". I've met hundreds of faithful fans & followers of the ever-loyal tribe since I was in high school, but had never given them a chance until they were actually on stage in front of me.
We were herded into the psychedelic arena with hundreds of other people & made our way to the upper seating area, which was a bald grassy hill already covered in blankets, lovers, stoners, roadies, mothers, children & rock n' rollers. Everyone became almost transcendental in their movements, waxing & waning to the improved infusion of jazz, funk & rock. The music was breathing & it gave this unified body of people a pulse to come alive to.
After an hour or two of soaking it in, I decided to ride the vibe across the venue, from person to person, taking portraits of the groovy characters that had come to call this scene their home. Close to 1 am the final song was played & everyone flocked to the parking lot where vendors, poi-spinners, artists, dancers & vagabonds came to get down. The band has performed over 2,300 shows and is the "most enduring rock band" for a reason. The music is timeless and continues to dissolve barriers of age, race & sex for the sake of unity & experience.