I am currently relaxing on a huge and spacious Airbus A380-800 from Sydney to Los Angeles, reflecting on my 2nd Cairns, Australia Ukulele Festival. Surprisingly, there are no crying babies in the surrounding area... I even have the surrounding seats around me free... lucky! It seems the flight is just a little over 50% full. So here I sit, with nothing but my iPad and keyboard to distract me.
A flood of emotions and ideas have been hitting me since the end of the ukefest. Part of my current high is meeting and playing along with the other musicians (there were so MANY amazing musicians!!!), part of it is sharing new songs and techniques but the biggest thing that I feel I'm taking away from this trip is a sense of growth.
Growth. There has definitely been growth within myself as a musician over the past year (putting out my first album, increase in teaching and gigging, even putting out a successful master class workshop on ukuleleunderground), but it has been so much more than that. I'm starting to learn how everything works, and finding how to balance everything needed to achieve my goals. I keep forgetting how important sleep is, even on this trip I struggled to get enough sleep in. There is an incredible amount of work that no one tells you about when wanting to become a full time musician (I'll probably write up my thoughts on this in another post in the future) and I feel incredibly blessed to have so much support from friends, family and students. It is with their faith that will keep me pushing forward.
Growth. This festival has grown in many ways. It was obvious seeing the 1500+ people at Fogerty Park on Saturday, the amount of people showing up at the numerous events throughout the week, the amount of awareness and advertising that went into the festival this year but it was the growth of the attendees that stood out to me. From Luke Walker's own children and St Andrews student group to the many attendees that I met last year to past performers such as Thom Jackson, everyone has improved so much! Not in just technique but in performing! All of a sudden my eyes opened. I saw the much bigger picture. It took this return trip to Cairns to understand what I have to offer and how I fit into the grand scheme of things as an educator and performer. Although it has been a continually changing canvas, my tools will only get more refined.
Even now I have a ton more to talk about but will save that for another day. I'll close my eyes and try to get some sleep while remembering what 1500 ukuleles sound like. Sweet dreams Cairns.
*Edit: I will be editing and uploading all of my photos from the trip within the next few days, stay tuned :)