As readers will know, Betty made the annual pilgrimage to the Parachute Festival on the weekend. Betty’s sister, who loves Parachute inordinately, had a most excellent time.
First, she figured out a plan for the day. It began with the morning meeting, a giant worship service in the sun. A visiting Greek guy from England spoke about Zephaniah 3:17, which explains how God rejoices over his people, quiets them with his love, and exults over them with loud singing (according to the speaker, the last part in Hebrew indicates that God spins round and round like a top in delight over us).
After the morning meeting, Betty and her sister went to another seminar (terrible, sadly), and then perused the foodstalls. Betty’s sister, for readers who are not familiar, is well-known to approximately every fourth person she comes across; she met countless acquaintances and friends of friends, and pointed out the identities of a considerable number of people who were walking past. Finally, she went and bought a shaved ice cone: the proprietor served her and remarked, “You’ve been here before”. Betty’s sister nodded and chatted for a moment, while Betty stood back in some amazement: neither of them was at Parachute 2009, which means that this woman remembered Betty’s sister from a shaved ice purchase two years ago.
After that, they went to the Deluxe stage, which is lovely and cool and dark, and listened to Ruby Frost. Ruby (whose real name is Jane) is a mightily talented wee slip of a thing with a voice like Goldenhorse only tuneful; she sang some original songs and did a lovely medley of “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” and “Beautiful Nightmare”.
She also upped the cute factor in a big way.
Every Parachute, in Betty’s experience, has a surprise. This year’s was absolutely NewWorldSon. Betty had never heard of this band, which was listed in the programme as Soul/Pop; it hails from Canada.
Part grungy Buble, part nasty Sinatra, lead vocalist Joel Parisien (who looks like a cross between Gilbert Blythe and Jonathan Woodward, with a newsboy’s hat, which is all kinds of awesome) blended crooning with beatboxing and soul. It was by turns breathtaking and just plain fun; his rendition of “Wade in the Water” was particularly cool.
After NewWorldSon, Betty and her sister ventured deep into the moshpit for Family Force 5. This appears to be an unremarkable band, though Betty would hardly know, from her position wrestling massed hordes away from her sister’s head; it was kind of exciting in there. However, both Betty and her sister decided it would be the better part of valour to find a more clement spot from which to watch the headline act.
Switchfoot! This was the second time Betty (and her sister) have seen them live, and this show was stunning and wonderful; less stagey than the last, and more intimate, though they didn’t play anything terribly old. The show was packed full of favourites, and some songs from their newest album, Hello Hurricane. Jon introduced some of Betty’s favourite songs, notably “Dare You to Move”, expertly and insightfully; it made for an inspiring show. They played for over an hour, and then the crowd went wild and called them back for an encore by throwing thousands of glow-sticks into the stage (pretty!), and they obliged and sang “Meant to Live”, and then everybody nearly died from the awesomeness.
And after Switchfoot finished altogether, Betty and her sister stayed for the twentieth anniversary fireworks, and a little bit of the birthday celebrations, and then they trundled back up the hill and went home and slept in. It qualified as the first unequivocally awesome Parachute since the Newsboys were out, and that was no small feat.