At Girls Just Wanna Weekend 3 Brandi Carlile & Co. jumpstart 4,000 + hearts over 4 days in Mexico

Know this: Several days have passed since I miserably scraped the ice off my car at the bus station after midnight on a Saturday night. I had taken a bus from Boston’s Logan Airport back home to Maine and froze to death, under dressed, as arctic air constricted my lungs which were breathing much easier just hours before while in MEXICO.

Know this: I am still trying to wrap my head around what I just experienced over five picture-perfect days which included four holy-shit-are-you-kidding-me afternoons and nights of music.

Know this: Every party I ever attend for the rest of my life will not top the Friday night hot tub pool party starring Brandi Carlile and Holly and Jess from Lucius. FFS, I didn’t even go in the pool, but I was there until after 2 a.m. and what happened in Mexico ain’t stayin’ in Mexico. It’s just too good not to share. Just ask my friend Hilary who was on the receiving end of Carlile pouring tequila right into her mouth.

And know this: Brandi Carlile herself said the word “epic” doesn’t do the festival justice and she is of course entirely right about that. So let’s ditch that word IMMEDIATELY AND FOREVER.

Perhaps the word that does do Girls Just Wanna Weekend 3 justice has yet to be invented? I’m gonna think on that.

In the meantime, let me tell you all about my experience that took place between Feb. 1 and 5, 2022 at the Maya Riviera Hard Rock resort near Cancun, Mexico.

And let me be clear: I am sharing this for a few reasons. First off, DUH, it simply MUST be documented. It must.

But it’s more than that. It is my hope that you’ll walk away from having read this feeling a few embers sparking in your belly. A hunger pang. A thirst.

It is my hope that you’ll want to plan your own music adventure. As of this writing, it has not been announced if there will be a Girls Just Wanna Weekend festival next year but that doesn’t matter, find something else to get excited about and to obsess over and count the days down for. It can be a show in your own city or a multi-day festival halfway ’round the world. Whatever it is. Find it.

It is also my hope that you’ll have restored faith in kindness and generosity. For it was these two things that made the trip possible for me. With about two weeks before the start of the festival, I gently put it out to the universe that maybe there would be a way for me to attend. And look, I’m not claiming for a split second that I don’t live a fairly privileged life because I most certainly do. I just do so on a journalist’s budget.

In fact, I was fortunate to be able to swing a trip to the first Girls Just Wanna Weekend in 2019. Never in a million years did I think I’d ever be able to go again.

Two women I didn’t know named Karen and Sheila reached out to me and made that miracle happen. For a couple of reasons they were unable to attend and sold me their package for a fraction of the cost. I will never forget this. Ever. EVER.

And that’s the thing about Brandi Carlile fans. We would give each other the goddamn shirts off our backs if they were needed. And her fans, known as The Bramily, are the definition of grace and kindheartedness. At this festival, a new world is created and it’s called the Brandi Bubble. I didn’t invent this term, it invented itself a few years ago and no one ever wants to leave it.

Imagine if Carlile is Santa and she swoops down onto the Island of Misfit Toys (an analogy she loves) holding a gold microphone in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other. And she’s got two elves with guitars named Tim and Phil. Imagine if, instead of loading us all up on her sleigh she instead joins us and plays songs all night long.

But that’s not all. A bunch of other sleighs start landing on this island and what to our wondering eyes should appear but a shit ton of jaw-dropping-I-am-gonna-die-right-here-right-now upper level artists.

And HELLO, it’s a tropical paradise on the sea of the Mexican Caribbean. And there’s beaches and gigantic pools and massive amounts of food and drinks. And the huge Iguanas don’t mind if you photograph them because they’re gonna soak up the sun and tell everyone to lighten up AND SO IS SHERYL CROW BECAUSE SHE’S THERE TOO!

I know…I know.. Reel it in, Aimsel. But that’s the thing, I can’t reel it in. I won’t.

Here’s the lineup of artists who performed. Read it and then tell me again that I should reel it the eff in.

I’ll list them in order of appearance (At the Hard Rock Maine Stage and Beach Stage. Note: There was also a second location at Unico Resort where daytime performances took place as part of Girls Just Wanna Weekend).

Margo Price (Main Stage)

Brandi Carlile (Main Stage)

Celisse (Beach Stage)

Allison Russell (Beach Stage)

YOLA (Main Stage)

Tanya Tucker (Main Stage)

Brandi & Friends (and omg, emphasis on the friends) (Main Stage)

Katie Pruitt (Beach Stage)

Brandi-Oke (Beach Stage). This was fans singing Brandi songs with Brandi and the band

Lucius (Main Stage)

Sheryl Crow (Main Stage)

Amythyst Kiah (Beach Stage)

KT Tunstall (Main Stage)

Indigo Girls (Main Stage)

Ladies of the 80’s (Main Stage) {this featured pretty much everyone on the above list playing 80s gems}

Now then, I’ve got a few thoughts to share on these performances but first, a side note: I missed some of the beach shows because I was obsessively and crazily holding my spot up against the railing right up front on all four days. Some days this vigil started at around 2 p.m. and on Friday morning it started at around 9 a.m. because of a couple of hardcore Indigo Girls fans who I realized upon looking out at the stage from my balcony were not messing around. These are my people. So I grabbed my stuff and joined them. I love being up front, I enjoy the show so much more from this spot and I’m willing to go to great lengths to be there. What’s so lovely about my fellow “rail riders” at this festival is that we had each other’s backs, got each other food and drinks and minded the spots during bathroom and shower breaks. It was worth the sunburn (oops) sore feet and back and beach stage FOMO. Zero regrets. Only joy.

And special shout out to my squad of Hilary, Michelle, Angie, Dayna, Marian and Stephanie. WE CRUSHED IT.

Tuesday night opened with a welcoming toast from Brandi and a ritual involving two locals and a conch shell and incense. This magic happened in the photo pit area and it was spellbinding. A blessing of sorts that set the tone for the next four days: Healing, love and redemption. And so much more than that.

Then it was off to the motherfuckin’ races with Margo Price and her crackerjack band. Price brought the fire and the twang because OF COURSE SHE DID and along with about ten originals she destroyed us with her take on Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” The fantastic photographer and videographer Shauna Ireland captured it and you can watch it HERE. YEAH MARGO!

Next up was a set from ringmaster and queen bee Carlile and her holy shit hallelujah band. BCB kicked it off with the Joni Mitchell-inspired “You and Me on the Rock” from the latest album “In These Silent Days” and I think we all sighed in relief that, somehow, we had all made it there and were seeing one of our favorite artists do her thing and do it better than most. “Fulton County Jane” was next and then, OMG, “Dying Day” from the 2009 album “Give Up The Ghost.” A few songs later we were hit with a doubleshot of covers; Joni’s “Woodstock” and Elton John’s “Rocketman.” I’ve heard these before but there was something extra special about hearing them in this setting, with the ocean behind the stage and I’m guessing around 4,000 fans knowing that we were all so, so lucky to be there.

Margo Price at Girls Just Wanna Weekend 2.1.22 Photo by Aimsel Ponti

The 16-song set ended with the one-two punch of “Hold Out Your Hand” and another “Silent” track, “This Time Tomorrow.”

Brandi Carlile at Girls Just Wanna Weekend on 2.1.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

AND THIS WAS JUST THE FIRST DAY.

I made my way back to my room, filled the jacuzzi tub (when in Rome, y’all) and soaked in disbelief as I listened to the happy post-show chatter down in the courtyard.

WEDNESDAY was my one heavy drinking day. I’ve always been a lightweight when it comes to booze but, well, I kinda let loose on this particular day and it began at 8 a.m. with a Bloody Mary at breakfast. Fast forward to noon at the Heaven pool where I was registered for the Lip Sync contest. I moseyed on up to that bar and order two Johnny Walker Black Label scotchs because, ya know, liquid courage. Then, about five minutes before I was due to go on, I ordered one more.

Microphone (not on OBV) in hand, I did my thing for 90 seconds with “Under Pressure” by Queen & David Bowie which is among my favorite all-time songs. No joke, it was an out of body experience free of insecurity and self-doubt. I loved every moment.

Aimsel in lip-sync action on 2.2.22. Photo by Hilary Cox

Post lip-sync, well TBH, I’m not entirely sure where I wound up, likely at the rail area for a bit but it’s a bit of a blur. I do know that I made a tactical error by missing Celisse’s beach set. SHE IS AMAZING. Like I can’t even amazing…Trust me on this. Thankfully though I saw her during the very next performance.

I did however make it to the beach stage in time for Allison Russell.


Know this: Allison Russell’s “Outside Child” was my FAVORITE ALBUM of 2021. I’m not alone in this. In fact, Russell was nominated for THREE Grammy Awards! “Outside Child” is up for Americana Album of the Year. The song “Nightflyer” is up for American Roots Song and American Roots Performance. Fun fact: Yola is also up for Best American Roots Song for “Diamond Studded Shoes” and best Americana Album for “I Stand for Myself.” I can’t cheer loud enough to express my happiness over this.

Allison Russell at Girls Just Wanna Weekend. 2.2.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

ALSO: SIGNAL BOOST: Allison will be at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine on March 9. Come hang with me and my friends! She’ll also be at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA on March 8.

And while I’m at it, Yola will be at in Boston on Sept. 21. Just sayin’

ANYWAY… back to Allison’s set in Mexico.

She and her band played several tracks from “Outside Child” including “My-Brasil,” “Persephone” (Carlile’s 16-year-old niece Caroline, played banjo on this one!)” “The Runner” and “Nightflyer” during which she was joined by Brandi Carlile and Celisse. Sister Strings were also on stage with Russell. The sun was out, the day was magnificent and Allison Russell held the whole world in her hands and in her heart for that hour.

Allison Russell at Girls Just Wanna Weekend on 2.2.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Know this: A few hours and again two days later Allison Russell’s star would shine in a way that took my breath away..three times. But hold that thought as I continue with the rest of Wednesday.

Allison Russell and Brandi Carlile are all smiles at Girls Just Wanna Weekend on 2.2.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

In the post-glow of Allison’s set, I repaired back to my railing spot where I re-joined some of my squad as we eagerly awaited Yola. Sometime in there I downed a cold Corona in about three sips and a few hours later I saw a woman walk by holding a delicious looking cocktail which she told me was a Sea Breeze. I ended up having two of them. When Yola took the stage at 7:45 I was FEELING GOOD. Not lampshade on my head good but close. Without a care in the world I readied myself for the British GODDESS to start her performance. Brandi introduced her saying “Right now, I don’t think you’re ready for what’s about to hit you. Her album ‘I Stand for Myself’ has been an absolute lightning bolt this year. She has been working so hard. She is absolutely incredible…” Yola lived up to this and started the night off with “Faraway Look.”

Yola at Girls Just Wanna Weekend on 2.2.22. Photo by Hilary Cox

Four days before “Stand for Myself” was released on July 30. Some friends and I were fortunate to score tickets to her album release show at a tiny venue in Newport, Rhode Island. It was a Newport Folk Festival adjacent performance and I’m still carrying with me a feeling of semi disbelief. Celisse, who was one of the surprise stars of Newport, was on stage with Yola for the show.

Months later, here I was in freakin’ Mexico seeing her again, this time with a complete understanding of how every damn song on “Stand for Myself” is 14 karat gold. “Diamond Studded Shoes” is a banger to end all bangers. “Be My Friend” has backing vocals from Carlile on it so OF COURSE Carlile came on stage and sang it with her friend. Glorious!

Yola first came to my attention in 2019 for two reasons: Her debut album “Walk Through Fire” and her mic drop moment with The Highwomen during their first live performance at Newport Folk Festival. She dipped into the “Walk” album in Mexico with “Faraway Look” and her cover of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” I heard someone in the crowd say to someone else “I think I like YOLA’s version better than Elton’s.” Girlfriend, to you I say: SAMESIES! Yola sings the shit out of it and it’s a whole other thing.

After a set-ending “I Stand For Myself” with Celisse, Yola wasn’t done with us because she had another cover up her sleeve and once I realized what it was, I LOST MY MIND. First off all, I was three seconds years old when I learned that the tune was co-written by Michael McDonald AND Kenny Loggins.

So yeah, Yola sang “What a Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers and echoes of ALL OF US singing “she… had a place in his life/He… never made her think twice” are still crashing ’round those vicious waves behind that stage. This was the encore to end all encores. I mean my god. What is life?

When Yola ended her set I made an executive and wise decision for myself. I gave up my spectacular spot and enjoyed the rest of the show from my balcony. This was a MASSIVE perk of lucking out with a concert courtyard room with a faneffintastic view of the stage. I floated in and out of my room while the legendary Tanya Tucker did her thing and the nostalgia ran deep as I stood out there singing along with “Delta Dawn.” God love this woman.

Wednesday night ended with the Brandi & Friends set and I expected my FOMO for not being right up front to kick it at any second. It never did. The sound was sublime from my balcony and the set started with “Hold Out Your Hand” followed by Tanya Tucker joining BC for “That Wasn’t Me.” On “You and Me on the Rock” from “In These Silent Days,” Holly and Jess from Lucius are on backing vocals and so it only made sense for them to join Carlile and Co. on stage for the song which was all the more sensational live.

And then, holy shit, Katie Pruitt sang “Turpentine” with Carlile and then Margo Price dueted with her on Dolly Parton’s “Nine to Five.” I was pretty much jumping up and down at this point. Sisters with Strings accompanied the band on “Dreams” and then Caroline and Jay from Smalltown Strings got their turn on stage followed by Brandi and her sweet daughter Evangeline singing Joni’s “Both Sides Now” together. Every heart in that courtyard melted. Celisse was up next to play “Raise Hell” with the band and that too was a to die for moment. Still in death throes, we were treated to a pair of Highwomen tunes. The namesake track and “Crowded Table” which was the sing-a-long heard ’round the world.

Then. Somehow. It got even better. Because Indigo Girls Amy Ray and Emily Saliers sang “Cannonball” with Brandi and Allison Russell dueted on the single Brandi recorded with Alicia Keys called “A Beautiful Noise.” Voices rang out on that warm Mexican night and I’ll never forget hearing them. Carlile also killed us with “Party of One.” It was all entirely unreal.

AND THERE WERE STILL TWO MORE DAYS OF THIS MADNESS TO GO!

Thursday was the day many of us had been living for. LUCIUS BABY! It’s been a minute since their last album and the new one, “Second Nature” will be out on April 8. To say we’ve been hungry for new tunes is a gargantuan understatement. The first single “Next to Normal” is a tremendous dance-inducing banger that I hope someone remixes the hell out of. The second one, “White Lies,” released earlier this week, is a show-no-mercy to your heart ballad with their signature vocals that will knock your feet right out from under you. Schedule a good cry for this one. Christ…

THEY PLAYED BOTH OF THEM at Girls Just Wanna Weekend. The set opened with “Next to Normal” with Holly and Jess playing hand bedazzled KEYTARS for the absolute win!

Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe from Lucius at Girls Just Wanna Weekend. 2.3.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

They also dusted off “Dusty Trails” and no one loves singing it more with them than Brandi Carlile. Twelve billion thumbs up for that one. Lucius also hit us with a different yet ULTRA COOL arrangement of the “Wildewoman” tune “Turn it Around” (a personal favorite) and I’m still reverberating from it a week later.

Lucius is doing a massive tour. GO SEE THEM and also, PRE-ORDER THE NEW ALBUM.

Now then…permit me to GUSH about Sheryl Crow. I’d seen her in the 90s at one of the Lilith Fair shows and again a few years back at Newport Folk Festival. But nothing could have prepared me for the all-out upper level holy guacamole set she and her band turned in that night.

Crow launched into her set with “Maybe Angels,” from her 1996 self-titled album and hit us right back with “A Change Would Do You Good.” It was then I realized in grand fashion just how many hit songs she has and HOW GODDAMN GREAT they all are.

A few songs later I was transported back to 1993 and the debut album to end all debut albums. “Tuesday Night Music Club” will always hold a special place in my heart and somewhere in a box somewhere I still have a promotional cassette of it that wound up at my college radio station. So yeah, it was something to hear “Leaving Las Vegas” live. Quite something. The same can be said for the very next song on the set list, also from the “Tuesday” album. “Strong Enough,” which she was joined by Holly and Jess on. It was a damn near religious experience. The same can be said later in the show with the song that ends “Tuesday Night Music Club.” For “I Shall Believe,” Holly and Jess were also joined by Brandi. Need I say more?

Sheryl Crow at Girls Just Wanna Weekend. 2.3.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

I’m gonna. MAD PROPS to “Steve McQueen,” “Everyday is a Winding Road” and “There Goes the Neighborhood.”

Also, you haven’t lived ’till you’ve heard “All I Wanna Do” live. It was like hearing the song for the first time and it sounding like a dose of pure sunlight on a river of butterscotch where the party never ends. All I wanted to do was go to Mexico and have some fun. I’m forever in your debt, Sheryl, for being a significant part of that.

Friday felt different from the moment I woke up because I knew, we all knew, it was the last day of the festival. I rose before the sunrise, like every other morning that week and stealthed my way over to the place with the early morning coffee while Mexico woke up. It was my second to last breakfast outside at Ipanema. I had the same server all week and it pains me that I can’t remember her name. She kept me in coffee and respected my “dias mio, no gracias!” to her suggested morning shots of tequila with a smile.

This was the day that, post-breakfast, I noticed that a small posse had started the rail vigil impossibly early and it’s the day I almost fell down the stairs in my flip flops on my way to frantically joining them.

I send out a bat signal to my squad and they were ace about taking shifts. It was quite welcomed when we were given the boot (but allowed to keep out stuff and hold out spots) from 3 to 5 p.m. for a couple of soundchecks as I was able to hit the Hacienda pool where I floated around for a solid half hour, clutching a can of Corona like the rock star tourist that I was.

When were allowed back into the area, the excitement was ratcheting up and the small legion of fans were joined, slowly, by other ones who were also intent on being right up front. The few, the proud, the rail nerds.

I was not happy about missing Amythyst Kiah’s set at the beach stage but took comfort in knowing that there will be other opportunities because her she’s not going anywhere. I’m still reminded of seeing part of the Our Native Daughters set in 2019 at the Newport Folk Festival. That’s the super group she’s in with with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Allison Russell.

At 7:30 the last night on the main stage started off on a stupendous note because KT Tunstall strutted out on stage. The previous time I had seen Tunstall, at the inaugural Girls Just Wanna Weekend in 2019, she was a one-woman wrecking machine who slayed with multiple guitars and a looping pedal.

This time around she brought a secret weapon with her in the form of drummer Cat Myers. Whether the crowd knew her hits like “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree” “Suddenly I See” and “Other Side of The World” made little difference because as I looked, everyone was just as into it as I was. Tunstall was engaging, funny and best of all, a first-rate vocalist and musician who owned every inch of that gigantic stage.

KT Tunstall at Girls Just Wanna Weekend. 2.4.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Indigo Girls were next. Lemme say that louder for the folks in the back: INDIGO GIRLS WERE NEXT!

In 1989 I saw them open for R.E.M. and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen them because, although I have a giant glass jar of ticket stubs, I don’t actually keep track of how many times I’ve seen an artist live but I would not be at all surprised if that number was more than 30.

Accompanied by their at this point longtime violinist Lyris Hung, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers played their guts on for a solid hour stacked with tunes like “Chicken Man,” “Power of Two,” “Share The Moon,” “Galileo” and an all-star sing-along of “Closer to Fine.”

But for me there were two songs that were everything. First off, I will never tire of the Amy Ray penned “Kid Fears.” It’s just not possible. Since hearing Michael Stipe himself sing it live with them all those years ago to occasionally catching it on the radio or during an Indigo listening session, the song has never lost any of its hold one me. The Girls had many women to choose from for the Stipe part of the song during the GJWW and it was fun to wonder who it would be and also satisfying to know that it was guaranteed to be freakin’ awesome. Katie Pruitt did not disappoint!

Amy Ray of Indigo Girls at Girls Just Wanna Weekend. 2.4.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Also, OMG, Indigo Girls invited Brandi to join them for Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” AND IT SURE AS SHITFIRE WAS.

The other IG song that is always fresh and enthralling to me is Ray tune and that’s “Go.” And for the love of all that’s holy on this planet, they followed it with Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” I know, I know…Unreal!

Finally, after four days and nights in the sun with old friends and new hearing a world of unforgettable music, it all came down to the final set of the night:

LADIES OF THE 80s.

We collectively buckled up, fer sure like totally, and got ready to be rocked.

I’ve given this some thought and I can’t imagine how it could have started off on a better not than Allison Russell singing Tracy’s Chapman’s “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution.” I had to pause for a minute just now and just stare at my screen in a dream-like state because it really was that extraordinary. I still can’t believe it. And Ali was just getting warmed up for an even bigger statement later in the show.

Carlile bounced around singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and then it was time for Yola to slay with Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately.” I mean my god…

Katie Pruitt had her way with Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and then, get this, Sheryl Crow sang Belinda Carlile’s “Heaven Is A Place on Earth.”

And then came my favorite moment of the whole goddamn festival.

Allison Russell sang the Prince-penned and made famous by Sinead O’Connor ballad “Nothing Compares 2U.” And before she sang it, she dedicated it to O’Connor who recently lost her 17-year-old son Shane to suicide. And she dedicated to anyone who was struggling. It was raw and real and while Russell poured everything she had into singing that song, I think everyone there felt held tightly. It was sublime. It was healing. It was divine. That’s how it is with Allison Russell, there are no half measures. She goes all-in and boy was I ever there for it.

Somehow, and I’m not sure how, I managed to hold it together for the song and before I realized what was happening, queen Yola was back out there singing Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and them Sister Strings earned their place in the annals of GJWW history with their take on Salt -N- Pepa’s “Push it.” They pushed it real good, rest assured.

KT Tunstall had a double-shot for the ages, complete with an on-stage costume change. Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” and The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” ruled. They ruled hard.

Sheryl Crow, who by the way was wearing a dress she wore back in the late 80s when she has a back-up singer for Michael Jackson, got back in the spotlight for a duet of “(I’ve Had) The Time of Life” from “Dirty Dancing” with Solomon Dorsey.

Other 80s smash hits we heard by the all-star team of musicians included “What a Feeling,” “Let’s Hear it for the Boys.” “I’m Coming Out,” “Simply the Best” “Alone” (Heart) and “Like a Prayer.”

Holly and Jess with Lucius and Brandi Carlile during Ladies of the 80s. 2.4.22. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

And then Brandi Carlile held that golden mic and closed out the festival like she’s done twice before and in a way that can’t be topped. She and the Twins and every single person on stage and in that crowd sang Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Bright eyes were turned around and yeah, we lived in a powder keg and gave out sparks like our lives depended on it. BECAUSE OF COURSE WE DID.

My bones are still rattled and my vocal chords are still slightly charred and it’s the BEST FEELING.

However, the night wasn’t over just yet. It was time for the Lucius Hot Tub Time Machine!

With Covid-19 still very much a thing, event organizers were wise to hold it outside at the Heaven pool rather than in the night club of years past so there wasn’t an actual hot tub involved. Did that matter one bit?
HELL NO.

Sometime around 12:30 with hundreds of us either in or around the sides of the pool the after party began with Holly and Jess on a giant inflatable swan being launched into the pool and waiting fans helping to pull them around in the most insane and perfect procession you’ve ever seen. With tunes being blasted from DJ Ben, this party wasn’t ending anytime soon.

And then Brandi Carlile got into the pool, both on the float and then straight-up being carried around on her back by fans. It was a sight to behold and the level of trust was huge.

Brandi Carlile getting ready to turn around and make her leap of faith into the pool 2.4.22 Photo by Aimsel Ponti.

The tequila was flowin’ like a river and Carlile was clearly having a blast as was everyone else who stuck around.

Like I said earlier, I stayed on dry land but was in the thick of it until I finally called it a night at around 2:15 ish. I heard later that this thing went on until after 3 a.m. and even after the sound was turned off. There are clips floating around of everyone singing “Amazing Grace” that give me chills.

Carlile shared on social media the next day that she needed some serious Tylenol but she had zero regrets. I don’t think any of us did. Time kind of stood still for those couple of hours. We were able to hit the pause button on the pandemic (BTW, thankfully only a handful of attendees tested positive while in Mexico and had to quarantine there and they received a ton of love and supplies from other fans) and we were able to just let loose. To me it felt like the mother of all safe spaces and troubles melted away like Judy Garland’s lemon drops. And you know what else? It was really fun! Several times I hugged some of my soaking wet friends and got to wave to queen bee Carlile. Not for one moment was I thinking about work or Covid or anything else other than what has happening outside of that moment. I can’t think of a greater gift than the present tense served up on a gorgeous night by the ocean in Mexico with like-minded fans and friends.

I got three hours of sleep that last night and as I sat at my favorite table outside on Ipanema with my coffee and French toast, I didn’t want for anything.

And as I end this this entirely too long review/essay/streamofconsciousness, I realize all the more how right Brandi Carlile was when she said that “epic” wasn’t the right word to describe the event. I think I now know what the right word might be, at least for me. Being with my friends in paradise seeing our favorite musicians: It felt like my heart was at home.

Ponti out.

10 thoughts on “At Girls Just Wanna Weekend 3 Brandi Carlile & Co. jumpstart 4,000 + hearts over 4 days in Mexico

  1. God that is a beautiful recount of the best week of my life. YES I WAS THERE TOO AND FEEL THE SAME WAY??? Almost feel like we shouldn’t share this too much or it will never be the same for us! Is that so very anti-Brandi of me?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this! It’s wonderfully written and it really manages to bring back all the amazing music and all the feels❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the re-cap. This was hands down the best week of my life … did you get any 1 on 1 interaction with the artists? Did you run into them
    in “the wild”? The event was incredible, hanging with my Bramily peeps made it even more wholesome but having a couple of conversations with the artists made me feel like the luckiest person in the world! I am still wearing my BramilyBracelet and my Bramily swag will forever immortalize these interactions!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the recap! Sadly, my wife and I had to leave on day 2 to head home. I spent 10 hours in a hospital in Playa del Carmen on day 1 because I thought I was having a heart (I did not!). We got to see the show night 1, but out of an abundance of caution we went home on day 2 to see a cardiologist at home. So I very much appreciate your amazing description of what we missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the recap! Sadly, my wife and I had to leave on day 2 to head home. I spent 10 hours in a hospital in Playa del Carmen on day 1 because I thought I was having a heart attack (I did not!). We got to see the show night 1, but out of an abundance of caution we went home on day 2 to see a cardiologist at home. So I very much appreciate your amazing description of what we missed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you so much for journaling this magic (still feels like a dream) experience for folks like me that didn’t have the foresight to jot down details. It’s been 10 days, and my voice is just now starting to sound like a mere semblance of normal. This trip had honestly been years in the making with my person, my heart, and best friend. Covid cancelled it, and then cancer…I (can’t really get into that tonight) It wasn’t something that I could have ever foretold that I’d be doing without her…so for many reasons it was bittersweet and very emotional, but also very healing and cathartic. I felt such an overwhelming amount of love, generosity, kindness, and compassion that I can’t even put into words. Honestly, I can’t think of another time in my life that I’ve been around that many people with their hearts so full of love in a single space in time, in my life. I shared laughs, tears, stories, and hugs with familiar strangers…familiar in the sense that I felt like a lot of them had been on this journey with me forever. So, even though my love wasn’t there physically I felt her there every second of everyday with me. I may never have the opportunity to go again, but I can say without a doubt that those beautiful days, and the beautiful souls there, the ones I met, and the ones I didn’t are indelibly tattooed on my heart eternally. Big love, and hugs to everyone who’s life paths intersected with mine that week, and thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. I hope to make it back again.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s