Meegwetch, 311

Pow wow. The term can be used in many ways. It can be a spiritual title or a term to describe a meeting of first nations tribes in celebration of song, dance and culture. Having attended some pow wow’s myself I feel that the term means a communing of like-minded individuals to share music and love.

That’s what the 311 Pow Wow meant to me.

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve returned from the 311 pow wow, and I think I’ve finally been able to process everything I went through when were down there. The drive in itself provided many laughable moments, but also showed me the scenery that was the western United States. Travelling through the hills of the Virginia’s was quite beautiful if not a little scary at night. My favourite part was the descent through the Carolina’s into Georgia – I’m not going to lie, once or twice I wanted to use one of the runaway truck ramps for kicks!

Then we finally crossed the Georgia/Florida state line and the excitement in the car was reaching its pinnacle. We had no idea what we were in for or who we would meet, but the time had come. It was almost time for 311.

I was travelling with a friend I could call my brother-in-law. He’s my wife’s oldest friend and since the moment we met (he still doesn’t remember that new year’s eve) we’ve found many things that we share. @clintos311 (as he’s known to his twitter peeps) is the one that introduced me to 311 back in 2004. That’s right, I’m a new 311 fan. I didn’t listen to 311 when it was going through high school, I was into the metal/grunge hole that allowed me to explore my inner rage.

But that is yesterday, and today brings a whole new love of music. I find that with 311 I get more than just the music, there is a sense of community that comes with being a 311 fan. I didn’t truly experience this until we got to our campsite in Live Oak. To me, the experience was enhanced ten-fold with the people we met during our stay in Florida. From our site-mates Dan and Tibby to Jay the Lawyer (he’s a lawyer, he’s got to be right), the sense of community and love that we got from everyone enhanced the music that was emptied into the sky over north Florida.

Let me tell you, there is nothing better than listening to great music under canopy of stars with nothing but trees (or mountains) as your backdrop. The Deftones killed it, G-Love was just the right amount of Funk (I loved the 50 ways to leave your lover cover) and Ballyhoo! I’ve got a new band to listen to. But the apex was 311. I have been to 3 other shows before and have never been disappointed. But listening to one band play 4 sets over one weekend is something I’ve never heard of or seen before.

My mind was blown!

Seeing all those people, united in music to see one band play a huge chunk of their catalog Рwow. I can still feel the love emanating from everyone as I stood shoulder to shoulder listening to summer of love. Dancing in my hockey jersey, I was melting in the muggy crowd but everyone was liberally splashing water, keeping each other as cool as possible and just dancing with each other.

Thank you 311, thank you fans, and thanks Florida for making this trip worth the drive. It was one I’ll never forget and friends I know we’ll see again! Keep the energy going and see you all at the 311 Pow Wow in 2012. You’ll know me, I’ll be the guy in the Martinez Toronto Maple Leaf’s jersey.