Memories of a Lifetime

Everyone has memories they look back at throughout their life. Memories that give you a feeling of pure elation. It's a cliché, truly. You hear it in songs, about summers long past with friends, or romances that were short-lived. It’s an overplayed and overdone ideal of memories back in the day. You would never think it could happen to you, but when it does, you become the cliché and start reminiscing on those memories yourself. This past weekend, I became that person. I was able to create memories that will last me until the day I die.  

I had the chance to attend Bestival in Toronto. Bestival is a music festival that originated in the UK and was brought to Canada for the first time this year. This particular music festival boasted the talents of artists such as Nas, Clean Bandit, Flume, Caribou, etc... However the true reason I attended was to experience the performance of Florence + The Machine.  

If you read the article I wrote about Florence, it is easy to understand how much her music means to me. Her striking voice mixed with angelic choirs, haunting lyrics, and magical instrumentals transcends my soul to another place. Naturally, watching her live is something that has been on my mind ever since I heard her voice.

I spent 10 hours standing in front of the main stage with one of my close friends and some amazing people from Michigan, Buffalo and Toronto, all of which were just as passionate and determined to be front row for Florence.  

Getting closer to her performance, I was feeling down. I was hungry, tired of standing, and was starting to get angry at all the people pushing behind me. However, a couple of hours before her performance, there was a moment when security guards began to bring a set of stairs that connected the main stage to the area in front of the barricades. The area right in front of me.  My heart began to race, and I instantly began to tear up. Florence was going to walk down these stairs right in front of me. The thought haunted my mind and my body filled with adrenaline. 

Nothing could prepare me for what was to come.  

She came out, dressed in red and black, her energy was in full force, and my world stopped.  She belted out song after song, and I sang along, as loudly and passionately as I could. Then, she walked down those stairs, the ones right in front of me. She passed by me first, my hand just able to grace past her hand. But next, she got onto the barricades  next to me and stood there singing her heart out. I helped hold her up and my body shook with disbelief. I was helping hold Florence Welch as she sang. But that wasn’t the end of my night.

After going back on stage for another couple of songs, she begins to sing What Kind of Man from her newest album. I never thought she would come back down from the stage, but she did. She was just about to sing the chorus - first she runs to the left side of the crowd, but she turns back around and stops right at me. She grabs my hand, looks me in the eye, and begins to sing the chorus. Everything around me slowed down. Everything went quiet. All I could see were her piercing green eyes and all I could feel was her hand holding mine. What kind of man loves like this, what kind of man. Those were the words she sang to me.  They echo through my head as I write this. At that moment, my life was changed. One of the most influential artists in my life looked me in the eye and sang to me. The rest of that performance was a blur. I never heard the screaming crowds at the end of that song. All I could hear was Florence’s voice echoing through my head. I was shaking and I am honestly surprised I did not pass out from how hard it was to breathe.  

Florence is a performer. She doesn’t just sing her music. She makes you feel what she is feeling.  She dances and puts her whole body into what she is trying to convey. She wants every single person to connect to her music the way she has connected to it when she wrote it.  

Florence, you stole my heart that night. You took it with you, and all I can say is thank you. You have given me a memory that I will never forget. I cry thinking about the small moment we had, and I am happy that I was able to experience this in my lifetime. You gave me the best night of my life, and I am forever grateful. I hope one day we meet again.