From time to time, I invite fellow music lovers like me to write a post for the blog as a “Guest Groupie.” I’ve read Holly’s blog for more than a year now, and I always enjoy her writing. So when she started Instagraming her latest Hanson touring adventure and I saw all the fun she was having, I knew I wanted to ask her to guest post here for more on this idea of a fan going on tour. Read on for Holly’s take!
Hi! I’m Holly. I do a lot of traveling in the name of good music, which brings me to my latest trip—a virtual journey across the Internet to write a guest blog for The Good Groupie. When Miranda asked me to write this, she pointed me in the direction of an insightful post that raises a few questions about going “on tour” for a band. What does that mean, exactly? Is there some kind of official criteria? Why do it at all?
Personally, I think it can mean something different to everybody, the way “favorite food” can be pizza to one person and sushi to another. I could try to analyze the concept of going on tour and form a list of specifications, but to me it’s just following the music you love in whatever way suits you. The best way I know to describe it is to tell you what it meant to me this year.
In September, I saw Hanson 11 times in a row on the west coast. We’re talking 15 minutes north of Mexico straight up into Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Did I mention I’m from South Carolina?) I did it all with my usual partner in crime and a few friends that joined for anywhere between one show and eight. We sang; we danced; we saw the Grand Canyon; we walked barefoot and got drumsticks and shared it all—including the strep throat at the end. It’s all part of the journey.
It always sounds a little crazy to say out loud.
“Hi, boss? I was wondering if I could have three weeks off to follow Hanson.”
Or waiting in line, the inevitable:
“You, like…follow them? Oh! You’re a groupie.”
Well, no. Not that kind of groupie. I travel. I’m a fan. I’m a…traveling fan?
If you’ve gone to multiple shows on a tour, you know what I’m talking about. People always want to know what we’re doing and why, and I think all of us are at a loss to truly explain the phenomenon of following a band. I could cling to a phrase every die-hard music fan has heard: “I’m in it for the music.” Truthfully, I think we’re fooling ourselves with that statement. Can you really love the same thing for 15 years and not have it grow into something more?
It’s an entire experience for me—the travel, the people, and yes, always the music. There’s something magical about waking up in a new city every day for a week (or three) and still feeling a little bit at home every night in that familiar crowd. I love the friends that I’ve made and that it’s almost impossible to visit a city where I don’t recognize a single face. And despite the occasional death-glare or shouting match over a spot in line, at the end of the night, I love knowing I’m in a room full of people that feel the same. They “get it” too, whatever in the world “it” is. I hope everyone—Hanson fan or not—has something out there that is as beautifully frustrating to put into words as following this band is for me.