Nominated: Christian Hannon
“After I graduated high school and left my hometown, I wouldn’t have imagined keeping in touch with Christian Hannon for years to come. We were teenagers set on different paths and fair-weather friends. We would see each other via mutual friends on weekends, occasionally exchanging conversations about electronic and improvisational music. I expected him to vanish from my life after I left home for college.
Four years later, I was a college graduate and Christian and I had maintained constant contact, despite going to schools a thousand miles apart. We had attended at least one music festival together every summer following my leave from home for school. The people we surrounded ourselves with for each trip varied, but Christian and I remained constant friends and travel partners. We decided to make the dreaded 18-hour drive from Charleston, SC to the Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL for the second time, since we attended SCamp in 2011 and had so much fun. The results of that decision were the best road trip and music festival of our lives.
We left Charleston at 6pm on Wednesday with three friends in a completely packed Suburban SUV. Christian and I each drove six hours while the others, who excused themselves saying they couldn’t drive the extra-large vehicle, slept and read. The sun set as I drove northbound through South Carolina. As I drove, Christian sat in the passenger seat keeping me awake and entertained with conversation, and I did the same for him. We sang along to Michael Jackson and grooved to Break Science and Pretty Lights until the sun came up over the vast Indiana cornfields. We arrived at the festival at noon the next day, completely exhausted from having driven all night, sleeping only 3 hours in the morning.
6 hours and many heavily burdened car trips later, we sat down in a campsite that was better than any of us had hoped for. We managed to find a spot in the woods, making cooling off especially easy under the natural canopy of branches and vines. I was so excited to be at our destination, I took off and bought the group a set of tiny hats from a vendor. Nobody had moved when I returned, let alone Christian.
We listened and watched in complete awe as Umphrey’s McGee, Primus, and Lotus made Friday night the best night of live music I’ve ever seen. We never separated from each other, although when one of us wandered too far in the crowd, it was easy for Christian to spot my 6’6” red-haired, tiny-hat wearing head. When we returned to the campsite, Christian had been robbed of $300. He was completely broke for the rest of the weekend. Knowing that he would find a way of making the money back, I lent him $500 in good faith. The next day, Christian came up to me and handed all of the money I had lent to him back. He had met a couple fellow artists and sold their pins and t-shirts for 4 hours before doubling the money I had given him. We made our way over to see our favorite band, Umphrey’s McGee. As we walked up to the stage, Christian bought me a delicious beer and gave me a giant hug. I wish I could relive those five minutes. We laughed at our great luck all night and enjoyed a night of music just as good as Friday, which I had never experienced at any music festival before.
Christian and I live on opposite ends of the east coast now, and we don’t get to see each other often. When we do see each other, the experience we had for the past two years in Chillicothe, IL is always brought up at some point. My Christmas gift to him this year will be an early bird ticket to Summer Camp, because last year turned out to be the trip of my life. I think about how much fun another Summer Camp with Christian will be all the time.”