When we first got to the festival, we were a little irritated by how unorganized everything seemed. The whole set-up for the battle of the bands, the prize, everything kept changing. We were told that we needed to be there at 8am (which meant leaving around 3am for us), but really it wasn't until 10am, etc. Also, it turned out that Friday wasn't actually a competition, but just a pre-screening. Anyway, by the end of the day Friday, they told us that on Saturday, they'd pick the top 3 bands to play on the main stage Sunday night, and the crowd would pick the winner. There was some AMAZING talent there, but we thought that we might have a chance to be in the top 3 along with two other bands.
Saturday morning rolled around, we went and played our one song for the judges...one of whom was a speaker at the event, and the other two of whom appeared to be high school students who they pulled off the street and didn't say a word the entire time. Then suddenly, the speaker announced the winner, who would play a whole set on the main stage Sunday night. Wait, what? We all thought three bands advanced, but nope. An amazing band called Anadel won. Again, there was some major frustration about the organization of it all (let me be really clear--the major frustration was with the organization, not really the fact that we didn't win. Anadel is AMAZING, and you should definitely check them out). Later that afternoon, we were invited to play a set on the Indie Stage on Sunday morning. Only, as soon as we got our stuff into the staging area, I got a frantic call from Rick that they wouldn't be able to get us in after all. Again, cue the massive frustration.
But then, something happened that turned the whole weekend around for me. It turns out that several of the big name, main stage artists decided that there weren't enough people in attendance this year to make it worth their time, and backed out hours before their show. Because attendance was low and they were consequently totally in the red money wise, the festival director made the decision to break down the mainstage completely and to shuffle all remaining artists to the Indie Stage (which we were slated to play on) and the Worship Stage. Rick, the stage manager who I had been extremely frustrated with only minutes before, had been tasked with doing all the rearranging and reorganizing EVERYTHING just minutes before it was supposed to happen.
Rick called me over again and was super upset and apologetic. He felt terrible because he knew that we would have headed home much earlier in the day had we not had a set scheduled. He was trying to find us a set anywhere, and we even contemplated a straight acoustic set, but decided against it because we basically only had electric instruments. Instead, we asked Rick what we could do to help, and the boys were tasked with helping to break down the main stage.
At some point that morning, I realized that we had the option to grumble and complain about an unforeseen situation, or we had the option to show some grace and help out in whatever way was necessary. I said before that I believe we were there for a reason--maybe it wasn't necessarily playing a set on a stage. Maybe it was the fact that Saturday night, the band was able to help Compassion International with their speech by passing out info about sponsoring a child during the presentation. Maybe it was the fact that we were camped next to a man who had liver cancer and wasn't able to walk in to the main stage as often as he wished, but told us that he was so thrilled to be able to still hear music coming from our camp site. Maybe it was the fact that Justin and Ryan were there to help break down the main stage when they needed some extra muscle. I can only hope that we ultimately ended up responding to Rick and the others at the festival with an extra measure of patience and understanding.
(my sister and I...yes, I know we don't look anything alike)
It's easy to get bogged down on thinking that it was a "waste" of time and money to go down there because we didn't win and because things didn't work out the way that we anticipated. But the truth is that we don't yet know how God was working behind the scenes this weekend...but I know that there was a purpose, and I think it will be so amazing to look back months or years from now and say "I understand now...THAT'S why we went."
Plus, we got to eat at In N Out (twice, actually!). Isn't that reason enough itself?
Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding"....what a fitting verse for this weekend, no?