POETRY OF THE CROWD: TALES OF LOST EVENINGS 3 Part One
‘I feel like I need to find myself a horse, ride it through the streets of Boston and scream, “THE BRITISH ARE COMING, THE BRITISH ARE COMING!” Welcome to the States everyone from abroad.’ –
JEFF WAINWRIGHT (Facebook Post on FTA -LOST EVENINGS GROUP)
Lost Evenings 3 was finally happening and people from all around the world, not just the British, had begun to descend upon Boston. It was almost like a secret society had boarded hundreds of planes and the only way to recognise one another was from a particular band t-shirt, a certain tattoo or that knowing look that you’ve just encountered another Frank Turner fan. Throughout the festival you’d hear strangers great one another, ” I saw you on the plane and wasn’t sure…”
For many, each of the previous Lost Evenings has been more about the people we meet and the friends we make, and this year was no different. And for this reason we have decided to write a reflection, not on the gigs, but on the people and their stories that have made the festival so special.
For more tales:
Frank Turner has been the soundtrack of my life for the last few years. I discovered him in 2016. He wrote lyrics that were the poetry I needed to hear, and music that uplifted my spirits in a time that was pretty dark. Listening to my first FT song (The Road), I thought “cool, I’ll add him to my playlist.” But little did I know how fateful that moment was and the strength and encouragement I would not only get from him, but from the community that loves him.
Having been in almost back to back abusive situations from the time I was born, I still held onto a belief that humans must inherently be kind and loving, even though I was proved wrong more times than I can count. My openness, and willingness to believe this, is actually something some of my closest friends saw as a weakness. “You need to toughen up. After everything you’ve been through how do you still believe in people. It’s a bit naiive to think human nature is good”. And yet I couldn’t shake the thought that we are inherently made to love each other, and the ones who cause pain are the exceptions. Maybe on some level those friends were right. Maybe being open and trusting led me to situations others would have avoided, but all I knew was that, personally, living without that hope was pointless. The reason we are all in this crazy thing called life is to experience the complete joy that comes in the connections we have with other humans. If we give that up, it’s all pointless.
The FT community proved my faith in people at my very first gig. After missing several shows I already had tickets for because no one was interested in going with me, I finally chose to go to a show solo. I was NOT going to miss seeing this man who’s music had meant so much to me, but I was actually terrified. I had travelled countless countries solo, but for some reason the thought of a gig on my own brought on anxiety. Within 5 minutes of being at that show, I knew my trust in human nature had not been misplaced. This was a special group of people.
Fast forward to LE3. 2019 has been the most difficult few months of my life. It’s taken a strength I never knew I had to get through it. Frank has been played on repeat. Knowing I had tickets to two nights of LE3 meant so much. I needed this. The day before the opening night I had an unexpected financial catastrophe. With about $2.39 in my bank account there was no way I was going to be able to go considering the money needed for parking and gas. I was heartbroken. So I posted on the LE3 page telling (vaguely) my situation and saying I may have two tickets available if anyone was interested. I wasn’t contacted by one person who wanted my tickets. Instead, within minutes, I had five private messages offering to pay to get me to the show. Each time I sat at my computer and opened a new offer of help, I broke down in tears. For the first time in many months, I wasn’t alone. And the kindnesses were overwhelming at first. At first I thanked everyone but refused. How could I be at this place in my life where I needed to take money from strangers? Pride is tough to swallow sometimes. But then I realised something. This wasn’t charity. It was love. And these weren’t strangers. They were family. Every Frank Turner fan is part of this amazing community and even the ones I haven’t met are family. Because of this kindness, I made it to the show, and experienced the kind of thing I can’t even put into words here; humbling, inspiring, loving? None of these words, while accurate or seem to completely encompass the intangible thing that makes Frank Turner and his fans so unique.
My last night at LE3 was supposed to be Saturday as I only had tickets to two nights, but once again the love and generosity of the fans made it possible for me to come for Sunday. New friends spread the word that I needed a ticket. One was miraculously found at the last minute. When I made my appearance that night, so many people I had never met who had seen my search for a Sunday ticket, stopped me and said “Yay, you made it! I was hoping you would make it.” And they meant it. They had no idea who I was, but they meant it. After this weekend my heart is overflowing with gratitude. Who knew that 3 years ago when I added that song to my playlist that “something so simple, something so small” would save me. And to all the naysayers who told me I was naive with my “misplaced” faith in humanity, I now say this: I STILL BELIEVE!
‘What the hell is that bright glowing orb in the sky? 8 long hours of work then it’s go time… I wanna step out and face the sunshine! Let’s do this…’ –
JIM HORSTICK (Facebook Post on FTA – LOST EVENINGS GROUP)
After attending the original Lost Evenings in 2017 it was a given that I was going to go to the second one once if was announced. However, this wasn’t to be the case.
Having fallen over and breaking my hip I had a long recovery period ahead of me but I was determined to heal enough to be able to attend LE2. Sadly my body had other plans and the recovery was longer than expected. I remember saying at the time that there’s always LE3. Then LE3 was finally announced…in Boston. I was gutted as again, I would be missing out.
My family knew how much it meant to me and could see how disappointed I was having missed LE2 and now I wouldn’t be able to attend the third.
I couldn’t believe it when my son and two daughters turned round to me and said that I would be going. They clubbed together and paid for the entire trip! I’d be going solo but that would not bother me in the least. To top it off, my wife gave me spending money so that I could enjoy myself as much as possible.
My family are all amazing and I’m very thankful to them for allowing me to experience Lost Evenings 3.
About 18 months ago, I got really, really sick, and got closer to dying than anyone recognised at the time. I’ve spent the last year and a half struggling to recover. I had terrible fatigue, couldn’t enjoy any of the activities that I like to do, and was incredibly frustrated.
I optimistically bought my LE3 ticket in November with the idea that it would be my celebration of finally getting better, even though up until about a month ago I was still afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it. Then I started a new medication that had me feeling better right before heading to Boston, and I felt like a superhuman who could dance all night and drink and have fun and not be held back by my body anymore.
For me, the whole trip was a celebration of my recovery, getting better and not dead yet. I also couldn’t have imagined a more positive or supportive group of people to experience this with, and I will definitely be seeing you all in Berlin!
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