Greetings from Chanhassen, a place that feels slightly less funky today as members of the Purple Army make their way back to their respective home cities after Celebration 2018. For me as an author, attending the Prince from Minneapolis Symposium, followed by Celebration, the past week was an opportunity to share our book with those who somehow hadn’t heard about The Rise of Prince (imagine that!). As a fan, it was an experience of camaraderie, warmth and good humor. I found everyone to be not only friendly and kind, but exceedingly polite and considerate of each other, given that there were a lot of us inside Paisley at the same time. Doors were held for others, garbage was thrown away, bathrooms were kept clean. I wish my own sons would take note!
While Celebration isn’t cheap, if you can swing it, I’d recommend doing it once, simply to soak in every possible emotion you’ve ever had about Prince in a giant soundstage full of people feeling the same way. We experienced everything from the ugly cry after watching Prince’s second performance of January 21, 2016, to joyous jumping and singing along to the Funk Soldiers (an NPG-derived group who did double duty in performing at the Target Center on Friday and Paisley Park on Saturday).
This week, I’ll be posting about some of the notable panels and performances, including “Prince: Live on the Big Screen” (potentially coming soon to a city near you, according to Joel Weinshanker of Graceland Holdings).
For now, as I begin to reflect on a week that was by turns exhausting and exhilarating, the strongest emotion I have is awe. It’s not awe about what Prince did musically, although of course that is awe-inspiring. I’m in awe of the way that Prince reached across every possible line that divides us to build an enormously diverse fan base. In an age when it feels like our leaders are working to divide us, it was striking to see Prince’s fan base demonstrate that diversity and unity can co-exist. The second feeling is one of gratitude to many of Prince’s associates, who turned out and made themselves available to fans, and in doing so greatly enriched everyone’s experience. Stacia Lang, Kim Berry, Donna Gregory, Steve Parke, Ingrid Chavez, Nandy and Maya McLean and many more were simply walking around Paisley during our tours, or hanging out at events with the rest of us.
Did anyone else go to Celebration or the Symposium? Any initial thoughts?