I’ve been MIA for a bit…and for good reason.
Thanks to my local country radio station, I spent last weekend at my FIRST EVER Big Valley Jamboree experience. It was magical. I can’t believe it was a week ago already.
I’ve heard so many things about BVJ over the years, but I’ve never been able to get out there myself. It really was the place to be if you’re anything like me, and have country music flowing through your veins instead of blood.
Seeing as how it was my first time to a music festival, I had no idea what to expect. I had won a weekend pass with a campsite, so everything was basically taken care of for me (cue choir of angels singing).
We ended up not being able to actually camp, which was somewhat of a bummer, but instead just drove in and out each day. Our campsite still got used (by us for daily parking, and by our neighbouring campers who also used it as an extra parking stall for guests – at our mentioning).
The festivities were totally worth all the travel, but MAN… I’m clearly a lot older than I think I am. The back-and-forth commuting, coupled with all of the activities and excitement of each day totally wiped me out. I slept for two solid days after the fact, and I seem to also have come down with a head cold type deal – probably from the scorching heat one day that turned to almost winter temperatures the next. (Welcome to Alberta!)
This year’s line-up was pretty awesome (as seen above, compliments of my obligatory concert tee – which I had to snag as evidence since I was too busy enjoying my time there to remember to take many pictures lol oops!)
Our seats turned out to be pretty stellar. We were right next to the sound booth, which meant there was no one to our right beside us (and plenty of space to get up and dance/wiggle around to see when people stood up). We also had a giant screen RIGHT next to us that was a lot easier to see the show from when the temperature dropped and I slowly turned into an ice cube (aka unable to move, affixed to my chair).
Though we initially were so excited for all of the Main Stage acts, I tucked into the Songwriters’ Workshop on our first afternoon to escape the ferocious heat.
Seriously. It felt like it was 50 degrees. My skin felt like it was on FIRE. At least it was the one day I remembered to wear sunscreen…
This series changed everything for me. I no longer felt rushed to see the acts on the Main Stage. Instead, I hurried to get to this little white tent on time each day. This itty bitty space with its cozy little stage totally blew me away. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this (as I wasn’t), it’s basically a jam sesh with 4 different artists/groups each session, twice a day. It’s them, their guitar (or other instrument), the mic and their superb talents. It’s raw, it’s genuine, it’s authentic. It’s where the magic truly happens.
I was so blown away by the incredible gift that every person had. It was mesmerizing to watch the artists feed off of each other, and join in to complement one another – like it had been planned and rehearsed that way all along. BUT IT WASN’T. I just. No words. NO WORDS. I wish you could have been there to experience it for yourself.
Photo above from Saturday’s 3:30 pm show.
Pictured left to right: Will Hebbes, Beverley Mahood, Bobby Cameron, JJ Shiplett, Bobby Wills, Alee.
Small, intimate venues are what I really live for. They are so much more personable, so much more relatable. They make you truly feel like you’re a part of the melody, of the lyrics, of the show.
I did catch a few of the big cats on the Main Stage: Aaron Goodvin, Jo Dee Messina, Gary Allan, Sam Hunt, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood. All of them were SO good. I love artists who tell stories, and there were some pretty awesome, pretty hilarious ones that went around.
I know a lot of people don’t like it when an artist talks the same amount they sing. I get it. However, I also appreciate when a person is willing to open up a piece of themselves to share with others, complete strangers. It’s brave, it’s admirable and I’d take 10 stories more if it meant I had to miss out on a couple more songs – any day.
Carrie Underwood, via jumbo tron beside our seats (cameo: port-a-potty LOL)
As fun as everything on site was, I had a lot more fun picking out what I was going to wear each day. Everyone knows that what you wear to a festival is almost as big a deal as the festival itself.
I was trying to whip out my best “country”… but it turned out a little more “outback” than I’d anticipated.
Note: I swapped boots in for the gladiator sandals that I originally wore (as they are cute but NOT practical for a day of walking…man, I had the worst blisters so I’m not recommending them lol). I also ruined my white crop that I was wearing (*sad face*), so I subbed in this black one to save going nudie for the photos. You’re welcome.
I was feeling a little more ‘dressy’ on the second day so I decided to spice things up a little with this cute dress and sheer kimono. I (luckily) packed jeans and a tee just in case – it POURED rain almost the whole day and was so cold that I didn’t stay in my dress for very long at all.
Also, this was probably the first day in my entire life that I winged my liner on FLEEK. Appreciate. I was so happy I could have cried, but God forbid I cry that damn wing off!
Dress & Kimono – H&M (1 or 2 seasons ago)
By the last day, I was exhausted and not willing to put in a whole lot of effort, to be honest. I threw on a comfortable outfit, and out the door I went. I don’t even think I brushed my hair until midway through the day (that’s how freaking tired I was…#WorthIt)
All in all, it was an awesome weekend, and a great first festival experience. The views driving home didn’t bother too much either 🙂 I never get tired of those Big Alberta Skies.