Traveling, events, people: Wisfest and Virgin Radio Live concert 5/2019
World Impact Summit was organized in Bordeaux, France, mainly to give visibility to creative, innovative solutions developed to save the planet and prevent climate change. During May 23-25 it collected together 2500 participants including innovators, investors and different public sector actors offering possibilities to bridge the gap with discussions and speeches, one-on-one meetings and general networking. The exhibition center “Village of Solutions” was open for visitors and showcased more than 200 exhibitors introducing different sustainable options from technology innovations to everyday recycling tips.
I traveled to Bordeaux on Friday too see the Wisfest concert (organized together with Virgin Radio) and couldn’t wait to finally see Mika on stage after all this wait. However, I’ve been interested in and writing about minimalism and consuming less for more than ten years already so of course wanted also to have a look at the event and exhibition and I arrived Bordeaux in the morning so I had plenty of time while waiting.
I assumed the speeches and lectures are all in French so I decided to just walk around the Village of Solutions. I didn’t know in advance if it’s more for professionals and companies or for an average consumer but I think the answer is for both. From technological innovations related to building, living and transporting to everyday green solutions like sustainable clothing and shoes, ecological decorating, composting and recycling. I discovered a used book recycling system I really liked, even ecological dog food.
What I would have liked to see is a wider selection of food stands. The cafe inside had run out of milk and I saw a couple of burger stands outside but they closed early and didn’t offer many gluten-free options. Vegetarian and vegan food is a huge, huge topic when talking about climate change, people are interested in it and a bigger selection of food and coffee stands offering organic and vegetarian food and special options could have been a useful addition. Also, using the full synergy advantage between the exhibition, food and music might attract more people, bring more visibility and that way benefit the main cause.
This was the first possibility for me to see Mika on stage after his break and I hoped to be able to take some photos for my blog. The organizers were really nice and helpful and I saw some of them during the day and was surprised how young everyone was, so much younger than I had expected. Not sure why I was surprised though, the biggest start-up event in Finland was founded by students. I met people coming for the concert and the guy in charge told us where to wait and assured it will all be fine. I wasn’t sure it would work out, I’ve seen the opposite too many times but naturally could only wait and see.
Suddenly we heard music and saw Mika on stage far away on the other side of the field and he did a long sound check with several songs and for me that was the most exciting part of the whole day. It was lovely to hear the familiar tunes and know I can properly see him in a couple of hours. After a few songs a lot people started to flow in the concert area. The lonely security guy said nothing, the area started to fill and everyone was totally confused until the guy from the organization arrived in a hurry and said no no no, definitely no entering now. He promised to empty the area again and did so.
We were explained the security will be ready only last minute because the exhibition was the main focus of the event and the concert just something extra and that made me smile a bit. It’s not possible to have a line-up with Mika and expect people to be interested only in innovative solutions, they come for him too. I could see the organizers were stressed and under pressure but they were still extremely nice and patient with people like us and kept us updated and I really appreciated that and was impressed by their attitude and thought it was rare and something I can’t often see. The sound check ended up a bit chaotic but was lovely as long as it lasted.
I wasn’t sure things would work out but the guy running around the area stopped several times, breathed and assured everything is fine and eventually everything worked out exactly he had promised in advance. We got in and I could keep my camera as promised (even though everyone else was asked to leave their bags at the cloakroom) and there was no chaos at all. I was so happy to wait for the concert to start I didn’t even mind it was raining. Tom Walker started the line-up and I didn’t know his name but recognized his most well-known song and enjoyed his performance very much. Not the kind of music I listen to at home but that’s the whole point at festivals, to see artists we don’t usually hear at home and I was impressed that the performer before Mika was that good quality.
Then it was finally time to see Mika on stage. It was just a few songs and not a proper gig and at first it was difficult for me to focus on the moment. I had waited to see him performing for such a long time, I knew it was going to be short and I was worried it would be over before I could adjust my mood to the performance. It’s been hard to wait not knowing if he will be back or not. For a long time I wasn’t sure if he enjoys making music any more. Now we knew the single will be out in one week and that there will be more music soon and when the gig started I reminded myself to focus on the songs and just enjoy.
The band came on stage and only Max looked familiar. Using Mika’s own words, it’s actually not a band anymore, it’s a group. A totally new concept with totally new rules. As I could see in the clips from Nimes and now on stage in Bordeaux, Max is not only playing, he’s dancing as well. That part is of course not totally new, Max has always done his dancing. However, this time there will be more choreography and as you can see in the pics, he’s even doing group jumps with Mika. If I understood right Tim will still be the main guitarist but the new dancers will also play instruments and the female dancers so far seen only in Nimes will not only dance but also sing. I’m very curious to see all that and think it makes more sense and is much more interesting than just adding a dance group which wouldn’t be the usual Mika style.
Mika did EMD, Grace Kelly, Relax, Underwater (oh the feeling of finally hearing UW again!), WAG and what I had waited for most, his new song Ice Cream.
Mika announced the title of his new single on Instagram before the performance in Nimes and I heard the first tiny snippets of Ice Cream on social media after the event. The snippets were not really good quality but “I want your ice cream” was pretty clear and my first reaction was wow that’s very direct! It was unexpected, something I didn’t see coming. Not the topic itself but the very direct way it was said. Like a giant ice cream hitting you hard in the head, that’s how direct it was. After two or three days I saw a better quality clip and while watching it got used to the ice cream theme and could finally pay attention to the music. I loved the Prince sound and I absolutely loved the guitar and especially the way the song was done on stage and I started to look forward to seeing it live at Wisfest.
On Friday it was finally time for that and when I saw Mika on stage and he started to sing Ice Cream I wasn’t distracted by the lyrics at all. Not a single bit. I just felt the energy and wanted to have fun. It felt like a celebration. It will be a great live song. Not one of those songs I listen to at home but one of those songs I want to experience at gigs and I can’t wait to see the full show and everything that comes with it. I want the rainbow colors, I want the dancers and I want especially the guitars. I want everything related to the song.
So convenient that Lollipop appeared on Saturday Night Live just a while ago. I don’t know who made it happen but it was well done and now, a few months later, he delivers Ice Cream. I guess back then the US audience wasn’t totally ready for Lollipop and it’s hard to tell if they now, 12 years later, are ready for an adult version of it. Things have changed that much? Or this is aimed for a smaller target group? I honestly can’t tell. But I feel Mika is shouting his ice cream from the rooftops and I want to be happy for him and I want to celebrate with him and I hope everyone gives him a lot of love and support because he deserves it.
The performance was only six songs and after that I left with the French group I had met at the gig and saw one of the organizers on my way out and quickly said thank you and the guy looked a bit worried and asked if everything went well and if we all were happy and I told everything was perfect and that we were extremely happy. Of course I was happy. But it was nice he asked and I appreciated their attitude in general. That they wanted to do things well and that they wanted people to have a good time. Thanks everyone I met in Bordeaux X