The queue looks small. We thought more people would’ve arrived early. We’re shocked, but it won’t be long until it’s a long winding snake out onto the highway.
We’re making small talk and finding out that a woman camped in queues for Robbie William concerts. She tells us, ‘it was worth it, to be up the front.’
A mother in the early birders met one of the band and his girlfriend in the supermarket. She’s keen to meet them back stage if she can but knows it’s not possible. She tells us they’re off seeing the reef today. She is proud to be in on band’s holiday story.
She’s upset when told she can’t take any open bottles, including those of water in. ‘What, not even water?’ She’s itching for an uprising. ‘We want water, we want water. ’ No-one else is willing to risk early ejection from the concert.
Come to think of it water for a waiting line, when water is not allowed to be carted in might have been a good idea. Then it’s back to excitement for the concert and she’s calming down.
We wait for the gates to open. We are perched on cushions I’ve bought for us to sit on at the front (at the suggestion of the ticket people). People think they see them arriving. Excitement ripples in the ground. People crane to see, no it’s not them.
Gates open and quickly we are down the front with the early birds, and it’ not looking that crowded yet. We head for the fence line. Two of us fit there, and three behind.
The ampitheatre fills slowly as the support acts, Willy Mason and Sarah Blasko, placate the crowd.
Willy reminds me of Johnny Cash. His song writing in intricate and well received. What a great opener. I’ll join his facebook page for sure.
Blasko is in a world of her own. Almost not aware we are there? She has her own cheer squad in the crowd. She’s ethereal, melding into the rainforest, floating like a butterfly.
But most of the crowd want Mumford and Sons. When Blasko leaves the stage you can sense the anticipation is at breaking point. We are a bubble that has floated, waiting to explode.
As if in a twinkling of an eye we are surrounded by a huge surge in the sea of people. We are not going to be able to move from the front again, with any chance of returning to our prime spot again.
Our cushions are under our feet, and later the crowd’s feet, as people squeeze in tighter and tighter.
The band is on stage and the bubble bursts, only for another one to blown as each song is played!
Rhythmic crowd jumps up and down in the beat of The Lion Man.
Arm to arm, shoulder to shoulder, we can barely move. Finger tips and arms sway slightly, an ocean of phones and cameras click and record. Our phone too, but then its batteries and memories run low, and so we must rely on memory and the youtube uploads after the event of the sea of phones around us.
Everyone seems to know every word of every song, even better than Mumford himself, who momentarily forgets the lyrics to one and says the F word quite naturally.
I’m enjoying the magic of the concert, but the crowd is too close for comfort. The security guards are being very sweet and safety conscious, and keep checking on my kids in front of me to make sure they are not being crushed.
A drunken man who is annoying everyone but himself is ejected from the front and taken to the back of the concert. Someone recording the band has their elbow stuck in the groove of my back. I hope this isn’t going to continue for a whole hour and the music will be enough for me to put up with the irritation. It’s almost unbearable. Then I turn around and thankfully whoever it was seems to move in the surging wave around me and my back is free.
My feet are aching. The dust on the ground below me is covering my ankles. I keep an eye on the surge around my children to make sure they’re safe. Even standing on the cushions we bought in gives no comfort. They are slippery and threaten to have me slip under the wave of the crowd.
A short African lady wants to see and the crowd is so tall, some of us part to make a space for her to be where she can see more. She is appreciative and thankful for the kindness and then proceeds to also keep watch on my children, like the security guards at the front.
Groupies are yelling out their wish to have children of members of the band, but many of us are here for the love of the music and find their over clingy calls a bit cloying, but hey we’re all fans, live and let live.
Mumford and Sons are not background lounge music. They demand to be heard, with their banjos and guitar, drums and sometimes additional trumpets, as well as Marcus’s spectacular resonant and impassioned vocals.
I observe the camera man at the front. With two cameras all set up and ready to go, one slung over his shoulder. He has a front seat ride that only official photographers can have. He is not there the whole concert, but he captures much of what will be up on line later. His performance entrances me, an ever learning photographer, as much as the band of the concert.
Then I am re-enchanted and reengaged by the songs. I don’t know them all, as my children and hubby and this crowd are the bigger fans, but each of them rings through me.
‘man is a giddy thing’
We are the people of the rainforest, united in fandom and in song.
I will say I was here, in the rainforest, with my kids, hubby, the early birds, a few thousand people, all swaying in time toMumford and Sons.
As we are leaving we see many people from our hometown pouring out to their cars.
People are waving, hugging, and saying in ecstatic wonderment, still on a concert high, ‘You were here too!’
(c) Article, June Perkins - and below is my storify collection.