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Michael Franti & Spearhead at Red Rocks Amphitheater

July 13, 2017

Morrison, CO

This may get lengthy, but stick with me it is worth it I promise.

I have been listening to Michael Franti & Spearhead for many years now. In the beginning quite casually, but still enjoying their music immensely. I have fond memories of dancing around my living room with my young children to the “Sound of Sunshine (Life Sounds Like)” and being introduced as husband and wife at my wedding to “Say Hey, (I Love You)”. I spent a solid month in 2014 trying to figure out how to make a show on the Soulshine Summer Tour anywhere from South Florida to North Carolina but unfortunately, I couldn’t put it together with the responsibilities of raising my young family. To say Michael Franti & Spearhead was on my bucket list is an understatement. It was the show that haunted me. The show that had me stalking tour announcements.

In late 2016, we got the announcement we were waiting for. Michael and crew were headlining the 19th annual South Florida Garlic Festival in our hometown. We dropped everything and even booked camping accommodations in the park so we could be as close as possible to the action (living 10 minutes down the road wasn’t close enough). Kids in tow, we had our first MF&S experience and it was nothing short of amazing. My daughter Kendall was blessed enough to be brought on stage and enjoyed some one on one with Michael and even got a selfie with J-Boogie. My heart was full that night and I was hooked. This was the show of all shows and there really isn’t anything to compare it to.

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Being a live music photojournalist, I can experience almost any tour I wish and if there was one band I could follow around the world it would be Michael Franti & Spearhead. I honestly would pack up my family and jump in a RV and travel the world documenting their message of love if I could. They are that inspiring. Knowing how I feel about them, and enjoying them immensely himself, my husband decided to give me the best gift I could have received for my 38th birthday. A trip to Colorado to experience my favorite band at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater.

I had never been to Colorado or Red Rocks and I couldn’t think of a better reason to go to either so we headed west with excitement and our camera gear to document a trip of a lifetime.If you have never been to a MF&S show then the first thing you should know is the people you will encounter are like nowhere else you will go. Strangers go out of their way to say hello to you, to help you, to make sure you are having a good time. There are children everywhere. Dancing, singing and frolicking while their parents do the same nearby. It is truly a wonderful sight to see so many people happy and enjoying themselves. Forgetting, even if for the night whatever troubles they may be dealing with. Children are a staple in Michael’s performance, he almost always brings a group on stage to sing with him and this Red Rocks show was no different. Michael brought up the largest group of children I have ever seen on a stage.



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During his commercially successful song “The Sound of Sunshine (Life Sounds Like)”, beach balls are released into the crowd and everyone goes wild!


You can always count on Michael and the band to be very interactive with their fans. Michael makes a point to have a stage constructed in the crowd and takes off into the audience to jam with his people on several occasions throughout the show. He encourages fans to jump on stage and dance with him, hug him and sing with him. People reach out with the hopes of obtaining even a sliver of his energy. It pours out of him in all directions.

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I have hugged him and can tell you I was on a hug high for hours afterwards. How many times have you hugged a stranger? I can tell you I hugged probably twenty that night at Red Rocks. Michael tells the crowd to turn to the person next to you, introduce yourself and give them a hug. To look around and see ten thousand people hugging is truly a soul cleansing experience everyone should have at least once in their life.


As if all the love and hugging wasn’t enough, during this special Red Rocks show MF&S had trapeze artists swinging and performing from the air and you could hear the people gasping in amazement at the beautiful sight.

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We were gifted a magical experience that night at Red Rocks and I think everyone there left a little different than they arrived.

To view a full gallery of images from this show please click here.


About the author
April Whitney

April Whitney

April Whitney- Photographer, music lover and overall gypsy soul. I found my passion for photography, music, writing, and travel. While on Tour was born out of a desire to combine all of these things and become the wandering soul I have always wanted to be. I love to travel to different festivals, meet new friends and vibe out wherever the music may take me.

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