A couple months ago, I jumped on the Heavenfest website to see the process for applying to play a stage. I found what I was looking for, put in my request, and happened upon a submission form to volunteer as a media team member. I thought it would be a blast, but I didn't have a lot of experience and didn't think I'd have a shot. I applied anyway.
A month and a half later, I got an email inviting me to become that media team member.
I was completely blown away. Here is the thing, I just started filming basically. I haven't even had a year of experience under my belt. But somehow, I have been afforded the ability to film some stuff people in the industry for 10 years haven't been able to film. And now, to add to that, I have a full 12 hr day of experience filming major bands on some of the biggest stages out there.
All I can say is that God has graced me so much.
Here is a quick summary of what happened on Saturday -
Woke up at 4:45 am, drove the 2 hours to Loveland, Colorado, checked in at 8 am, got our assignment (which was roam free and shoot everything) at 8:30, packed up the equipment and headed out to the 7 different stages at 9, shot for 12 hrs straight (with an hr and a half-ish combined total time of sitting and resting), checked out at 9 pm, and drove home after a late dinner at PF Changs (holler!) to arrive in my bed at 1:30 am.
If I tried to write out everything that I saw and had the chance to experience yesterday, we would be here all week. This is what I can tell you, I had an All Access Pass to anywhere on the festival grounds. I mean AN Y WHERE. Try to wrap your mind around that one.
I'll tell you some of my highlights.
I was on the main stage shooting 7th Day Slumber and wanted to switch to the other side of the stage to hit some angles I hadn't gotten yet, so I walked through the back drape to make my way across the stage. Standing 6 feet away from me was Brian Head Welch. Formerly of KORN. If you don't know who KORN is, they were a HUGE rock band a few years ago. Really weird looking rockers, scary sound, but incredibly famous. I grew up listening to their untouchables cd. So I pulled out the camera and shot him walking by me. I don't know if he minded, but, it was insane. If you read this Brian, sorry if this made you mad! HA!
A little while ago, he gave his life to Christ and became a Christian. You can see his video here:
The next encounter really made the weekend for me. My first major show ever, besides the local shows watching my friends play, was a band called Thousand Foot Krutch my senior year of high school. I kid you not, at least once a day, for my first 2 years of high school, I listened to Rawkfist off of their Phenomenon cd. That was my anthem. I used it to pump up for hockey games, get over girlfriends, and do anything else to I could use headphones with. Yesterday, I filmed it live.
Not only did I film one of my favorite songs of all time live, I got to meet the frontman of the group Trevor. Before the show was starting, I looked back stage to my left and there he was, in all of his Krutch-ness. I made my way down the stairs, had it planned out, "Hi, my name is Sean, my first show ever was you guys in Colorado Springs at a club called the Black sheep." Then we would be friends, forever.
This is how it came out, "Hi, your first show... I played... me... er, it was my show."
I'm an idiot.
I don't get starstruck really, but this time was completely different for some reason. It ended up alright though. I started over, and got the words out, and shook his hand. He is one of the most down to earth musicians I have ever met in my life. He took time out to just talk to me just before going on stage. That shows how much character he has, and the whole band has for that reason. Who knew, 6 years ago after grabbing his hand as he leaned over the crowd at the Black Sheep, I would be shaking it backstage at a major festival, and filming what was the anthem to my youthful days. Thanks, so much, Trevor.
And, for the final encounter, the final shot of the day, and probably the most stunning shot of the whole day was a tiny, little known band named Switchfoot.
Ok, they're huge.
I also grew up listening to these dudes. It was Yellowcard and Switchfoot. In my skateboarding days, I lived off of them. Switchfoot also got me ready for hockey games. I couldn't go a week without my rock bands, and these guys were at the top of the list.
They were the headliners at Heavenfest this year, and let me tell you, they didn't disappoint! They blew the place up with incredible light shows, hard rockin, and Jon Foreman even made his way through the crowd of 40,000 people singing his hit songs. Just incredible. I was right in front of the stage, the final song of their set, literally up against the bass boxes for the stage. My insides were thumping along with the bass, and 3 feet above my head was the floor of the stage, and about 2 feet in front of me on that stage was the guitarist Drew Shirley. I lifted up my hands, held the camera as still as I could, focused in on him, and tried to get something that looked good on camera. I would say it was a success. Just wait til you see the footage...
Going though the footage today, it hit me hard: I was actually there filming my heroes of old, walking around with a camera I am only just starting to be completely familiar with, and getting access to literally anywhere I wanted to go.
Now, I did not grow up a Christian. I thought that God was cool to think about, maybe it was fun for people to believe in so they could feel better about life. It wasn't for me. Or so I thought.
After starting a life living for Jesus, I have had so much opportunity that Im completely in awe of what has happened thus far, and what will happen in the future. I'm not saying that God is a genie, and the minute you say yes he will give you the desires of your heart and your dreams of being famous (he may give you those things, but not because He is there to grant all of your wishes), but what I am saying is that if you truly and honestly accept him into your heart and follow his cues, he will take you to places beyond your dreams, beyond your desires. He will challenge you to walk in a faith that requires a grind like you've never experienced before, but through it He will bless you in ways you couldn't possibly have ever imagined.
This is insane, and I have no idea what is happening next, but if I continue walking in this faith, I can promise you that it will be just as insane if not more...
Dreams do come true, even dreams you didn't even know you had.