This past weekend was the first of two back to back ACL festival weekends. We were honored when C3 asked us to design the platinum lounge, their highest priced ticket (at $3600 each) with our prints, decor and signature style. We, of course, had a budget and when you factor in renting furniture for over 14 days, one does, in fact, have to get creative. But we did it and were not only pleased with how it turned out but really every aspect of how it all unfolded and the other creatives we got to work with.
This past weekend I got to attend all 3 days with front row access at each show and next week my partner and her husband will partake. I don’t know why but this festival for some reason, perhaps because we were a part of creating for it, felt more special than most. And not just because our name was involved but because I just kept thinking about the art we were all creating collectively: lounges, gourmet menus, adorned trees, the festival costumes that get better and more hipster every year, music and more music. Perhaps seeing what goes into festivals like these made me more accurately aware of how hard it is to actually create things sometimes. Which ultimately lead me to ask why we create. And what am I creating? What do I want to create?
For the last week, we had some long days and nights setting up the lounge and trying to get things just right. And every day we would drive into the most unbelievable operation of thousands of people setting up dozens of stages for hundreds of bands and thousands of crew members. So that we can all walk around in a field and listen to music. And it’s kind of amazing when you really stop to think about it. Because beyond the sparkly temporary tattoos and cut off shorts, flowing beer and birdcage chairs, there is something deeper going on. And this weekend I kept thinking about what that is…
Right after we finished the platinum lounge, literally minutes before the festival opened, we sat down for a celebratory bloody mary with Pierce Brosnan who happened to be viewing the digs. Turns out his only medium isn’t acting, he’s also a painter with an interest in wallpaper. Later that day I saw Andra Day perform this song, which I’ve listened to perhaps 100 times over the last 6 months on hard days. Before she bolted that one out she had done a rendition of a Kendrick Lamar song that as she explained, she didn’t feel right about singing while still in her makeup. So she wiped off all of her makeup there before us, on stage, as she sang about loving ourselves. Another part of the Platinum Lounge is constant entrees and appetizers by renowned chef Tim Love. Rattlesnake and rabbit sausage, homemade peach cotton candy and on and on. The trees surrounding those incredible spreads (see below) took days and days to install with thousands of colorful streamers layered and layered and layered again, rainbows billowing in the wind all weekend long. More on that and the Color Condition here. Finally, Mumford and Sons ended the weekend and left me moved once more by the lyrics in their songs.
I will hold on hope…I’ll find strength in pain.
In these bodies we will live, in these bodies, we will die. Where you invest your love, you invest your life.
Let me learn from where I’ve been. Keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn.
All this beauty and art and creativity and hard work surrounding me was inspiring. It was a needed reminder that ultimately love and goodness and creativity and beauty are bigger. They win. It was a reminder to keep going. Keep making. Keep loving. Keep listening to music that was born of pain and hardship to help us through our own pain and hardship. There is gratitude too. Gratitude that people set up those stages in Texas heat for days and to the artists who stand on those stages and dare to share their art, the beauty that their pain has created in an effort to encourage each of us to do the same. And gratitude that whether we’re talking about wallpaper or tassel earrings, the difficulties of entrepreneurship or our Fair Trade initiatives that we have a growing audience of people who let us and support us. Below, the lounge we created doing the work we love. Thanks for letting us play.
All photos by Kelsey Butler