The following is a post written by Brendan F. Clemente, a volunteer from Jack Johnson’s 2014 World Tour and ‘All At Once’ campaign. ‘All At Once’ is a social action network providing information, tools and motivation to empower individuals to become active in their local and world community. REVERB partners with Jack Johnson and the ‘All At Once’ team to assist in the design, programming and activation of AAO across the band’s North American tours.
Seeing the California sunset flicker and fade beyond the walls of the famed Greek Theatre in L.A., I took a deep breath and appreciated the moment.
Jack Johnson walked over and shook our hands, thanking us for our time in his positively humble demeanor, wearing the sunshine tan of an avid surfer.
“Sorry if I smell, guys… I was out surfing for 4 hours straight in Malibu earlier, and I found out after the fact that there had been a sewage leak nearby,” Jack said with a grinning face, the kind of smile shining that always walks into a situation with the best possible attitude.
It was funny standing there in Griffith Park shaking Jack’s hand, as myself and the rest of the volunteers stood proudly in our new shirts, getting ready to reveal ourselves to the masses to make positive changes for the environment.
Not so many years before, L.A. was a distant dream–a city infinitely far from my tiny hometown in New Hampshire. Jack Johnson’s album ‘On and On’ blasted out the open windows of our car as the fresh air of the lakes region whipped through our hair, and streams of summer green leaves rushed by on either side of the highway.
“The soundtrack of summer” we called it. We were just high-schoolers at the time, and Jack’s painted words, poetic silhouettes and soulful melodies brought the world to life in full and vibrant color. Now was my chance to give something back, to help his non-profit organization ‘All At Once’, and in a small way turn the tides of change in a healthy direction.
Upon our arrival at the theatre, we were greeted by the ever-smiling and infinitely kind hosts, Matt and Max Tischler. Both are full-time workers for the organization, and some of the nicest people you can imagine coming across. As they handed me my T-shirt and shiny new Klean Kanteen tour edition water bottle, I asked Matt about the tiny fruit he was eating.
“It’s a fig” he said. “These things will change your life.” Without hesitation, he handed one over to me to try.
I hesitantly scanned it over for a second, and proceeded to follow his lead in opening the tiny pink fruit and tasting the sweetness inside. The odd texture and surprisingly sugary flavor of the small fruit immediately infected my taste buds and brought a smile to my face. I nodded in satisfied agreement as we began to make our rounds to the different booths Jack had chosen to support.
Here I was in Los Angeles, meeting fresh faces and infinitely interesting people, stepping through the crowded venue at the Greek Theatre, and just grinning thinking of all the amazing things I could write about this experience.
Ocean defenders, plastic clean up, healthy living, sustainable education–all these programs had spots there to help ensure people were educated on a wide variety of sustainable living platforms. And of course, before the whole venue transformed into a crowded arena of concert-goers, we were able to walk around the tables and become familiar with the work each separate organization did, and meet their ever-smiling and friendly representatives.
If there’s something I have come to love doing, it’s speaking to people–if not in person, then writing about it–and here, at the Jack Johnson show, I had the opportunity to speak with hundreds and hundreds of people face-to-face. I knew that this was right up my alley when Matt told me that my primary job would be to walk around meeting people at the concert and inform them of the great non-profit work we were doing.
Costa Rica, Switzerland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Arizona… I met people from all over the world! It was thrilling hearing the different stories–one lady had flown all the way out from Massachusetts just for this show! Talk about dedication… it was a long ride up just from San Diego!
People were fun to talk to, and genuinely interested in what we were doing. Almost every time I mentioned that we worked for Jack’s non-profit, the response was ‘OHH yeah, I heard about that!! How cool!’
I’m sure that the chance to grab a free water bottle and a possible shot at watching Jack’s set from the side of the stage didn’t hurt people’s interest either, but really, there was a genuinely excited vibe there around the whole thing.
Before I knew it, the 2 or so hours of speaking to anyone and everyone was just about finished, and it was time for the show we’d all been waiting for. Of course, I would have loved to catch the extremely talented Matt Costa beforehand, but his catchy, superbly written folk-rock provided a beautiful musical tapestry in the background as I helped spread the good word for ‘All At Once’.
As if coming out and personally thanking each and every one of us volunteers wasn’t enough, Jack gave us all pit passes for the show, and we watched from feet away as the smiling musicians played their hearts out to the packed house.
Looking back up the slanted rows of the Greek, built into the picturesque wooded hill here in Griffith Park, the lights reached out from the stage and grasped for the stars overhead as melodies kept us swaying in the warm summer breeze.
My mind rested in quiet relaxation looking upon each moment here, and the gratitude of my experience sank deep into my soul. Perhaps better than anything else though, were the wonderful people I was able to meet this day.
Not just Jack, not just the amazing organizers and Matt and Max and all the beautiful nonprofits themselves, but the other volunteers–everyone there was so kind and easygoing with each other that an outward observer wouldn’t have questioned that we’d all been friends for years.
We smiled graciously, laughed heartily, and took in the moments as a family. I can’t begin to explain how fortunate I feel of my whole ‘All At Once’ REVERB experience. It was so nice to be a part of something as positive and fun as this. But, just as quickly as it all started, the night winded down.
Walking down the street away from the Greek, I looked into the vibrant L.A. sky, sucked in a breath of fresh air, and exhaled in the comfort of knowing that every step that we take forward brings us closer to better life for all.
My sincerest thanks go to All At Once, REVERB, Jack Johnson, Max, Matt and all of the other amazing volunteers. Thank you for an experience I’ll never forget!
Brendan F. Clemente
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