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By Kevin Alan Lamb

Inspiration is the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel for us to find our way home: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros refer to “Home” in a manner that suggests it is not confound within space and time, rather it exists in all places, in all times, if we are able to maintain our connection with it: with the things, peoples, places, and notions such as happiness, care, hope, and love, that we find purpose in.

“Laugh until we think we’ll die,
Barefoot on a summer night
Never could be sweeter than with you.”

For that reason, home, is a derivative of purpose, and is realized once individuals discover it within ideas, people, songs, works of art, missions, and causes that activate them. Though long, elusive, and often lacking illumination, a ladder to the stars is imprinted upon their being: upon the very way they breathe, think, and feel.

“Home, let me come home,
home is wherever I’m with you
our home, yes, I am home,
home is when I’m alone with you.”

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Once activated, the longing for not greatness but purpose, and home in all things — never dissolves. For some it is a burden, but it is only a burden once we stop listening to the song that sings in our heart; the song that sings our story to the world not to be heard, but to be harmonized, covered, and truly felt on an innate level that reminds others of their home, and their purpose.

“Love is our shelter
love is our cause
love goes on forever
yeah love will lead us all.”

Home exists in those that give you hope; in those that the very thought of brings tears of joy to your eyes; in those that have seen your goodness shine and will always remind you of it when you need it most; in those that will never let you pick up the pieces alone; in those that care more about seeing the smile on your face than anything you could ever give them in return. Home are the shivers inspired by the excitement of reciting lyrics you love from the musicians that sacrificed, experienced, and gifted you the opportunity to bathe in their creation while in the company of those that lift your head and your heart when they weigh heaviest. Home is an allusion until you discover the souls that sing in a tune that your very own is drawn to, moved by, and made better in the company of!

“Home, high on love – it’s all they want to hear. This song means so much to them that they came here tonight just to hear it. That sure is heartwarming, encouraging, humbling,” said Chris “Crash” Richard, percussionist and vocalist in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Nominated for a World Music Award for World’s Best Song, and World’s Best Video, the Los Angeles based indie folk band’s hit song “Home” penetrated the hearts and minds of the masses, evoking the true spirit of 1960s and 1970s hippie movement. After succumbing to addiction, disillusioned with the music business, lead vocalist Alex Ebert, 37, reinvented himself as a messianic figure called Edward Sharpe to use his gifts to inspire hope, community, and a second chance for all those who needed one.

“I’m a man on fire
Walking through your street
With one guitar
And two dancing feet
Only one desire
That’s left in me
I want the whole damn world
To come dance with me.”

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Our love for each other and the music we cherish is a result of our desire to physically attribute the immense comfort and care we share for another to a tangible substance in the world, so we can experience it together! When we sing, when we dance, and when we emit joy in its purest form we are able to do it because of one another!

“Come dance with me
Over murder and pain
Come and set you free
Over heartache and shame.”

The Zeros’ are at home in each city they perform because they are bold enough to offer their vulnerability to each and every person they sing to. Make the people a part of your story and they will raise you upon their shoulders, and love you forever. I entered the photo pit at the Ranch Stage in the Electric Forest, knowing it was going to be one of those moments that resonated in my veins, forging itself into a story I would tell forever. While some are content with just observing, my relationship with the music I love requires participation; and relationships require reciprocity.

“The energy we share with fans cuts us from night to night. It makes us reflect inward,” Crash said. Crash first met Alex in studio with his first band, The Deadly Syndrome, in 2007. “I would pop in for the first few years, and kept showing up for gigs, though I wasn’t really in the band. I hopped on a bus, went on a few tours, and played bass and would sing with Alex’s solo project while playing with my band full time as a vocalist. It didn’t last very long, because the truth is, I didn’t really like playing bass, and then Seth (Seth-Ford Young) came around and that worked itself out.”

My relationship with the Zeros began at Royal Oak Music Theatre in 2012. Like he so often does, Alex invited fans on stage for his encore performance, then proceeded to sit in the crowd, while we scurried to sit by his side. I was amongst the lucky few to feel the magic pouring from his righteous soul. He completed his set and I gave him my Good Sign. Grasping it firmly he looked at me and proclaimed, “This is a Good Sign!!”

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PC: Terry Shear

My friends and I connected with the Zeros outside of the venue, shared a smoke, and spent close to an hour by each other’s side. Some months later, when performing at Iroquois Amphitheater in Louisville, Alex Spotted another Good Sign in the crowd while singing “Home”. He related a Good Sign to home: a sense of belonging attributed by the people and places that offer us comfort, safety, and purpose when we need it most. Places like Rothbury, Michigan, and the Electric Forest. Three years ago I attended my first Forest, and first music festival. From Detroit I traveled Northwest with my best friend Super G, unable to grasp that I was on a course that would not simply change the rest of my days, but also those of hundreds of thousands across the globe.

“Royal Oak is a beautiful theatre. That was the year when things nearly got out of hand… We were in Philly, and Alex invited everybody to come on stage. There was no staff to protect us, our gear, or the fans on stage. They kept coming until there wasn’t any more space, and people started falling back… it was a stampede. I remember saying to myself that this doesn’t feel right,” Crash said, the night before the Zeros’ most recent performance at Royal Oak.

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PC: Terry Shear

While he didn’t know it at the time, when the Zeros took the stage in Royal Oak, they would be greeted by another Good Sign. I made arrangements for my partner in crime and photographer, Terry “PMT” Shear to cover the show while I was attending Electric Forest. Upon taking the stage PMT gave Alex a Good Sign and set the mood for a magical evening, and warm up for their Rothbury set the following day. Alex asked, “Is this from Kevin Lamb?”

PMT struggled to simultaneously snap photos while carrying conversation in an intimate exchange with Alex. I woke Saturday morning to discover the photo on Instagram and intuited that it was just the beginning, of one of the best days of my life.

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“A family vibe comes through a lot of our work. It’s a lot of work to be a community: life happens, great times, bad times, it’s not all good, but you work through it. We’ve become a full functioning family,” Crash said.

Moments before their set in Electric Forest, I left the very friends who were by my side when our story first began with the Zeros three years ago. Friends are the family you chose. We celebrate our love of music and each other while the moment is before us. Dreams lived while fools throw their wishes down a well. Song and dance is the perfect trance-like concoction. Our happiness and joy the cleanest intoxication. You will never take us from the music we love — we are addicts — to the perfect drug. It gives far more than it takes; unites us around the world and in a single place. The head and the heart: the best part of being so imperfectly human is no matter how far we stray from the smiles on our faces, like home – there are places within ourselves we must always return while some must learn more about the way we feel, the way we love, and the healing power of a hug.

“Love, it is our all
Love goes on forever
Yeah love it is our home.”

As difficult as it is to conceive, I was the only photographer carrying a Rage Stick in the photo pit. I carry my totem and Good Sign as a symbol to thread the fine line between the music and those dancing to it. It is a reminder that you are not alone; it is a reminder that despite the weight of struggle upon your shoulders, there are good people who will help you carry it. For the second time in as many nights in as many towns, the Zeros took the stage greeted by a Good Sign. With a perplexed gaze Alex and I made eye contact, and he asked “Was that you last night?”

I answered, “No, I am 6’7 Kevin.”

Alex repeated “6’7 Kevin” into an already ecstatic crowd who released a roar once his words reached their ears. I used my full 6’7-frame to hand him my scepter of positivity, and cherished each second that ensued. I had the best seat in the house as he began singing “40 Day Dream”, waiving my rage stick back and forth with a beloved silliness and style that is best understood by those fortunate enough to have experienced the quintessential essence of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.

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“At the end of the day, Alex offers up words he can stand by, believe in, and connect with, so he does the writing, and I’m always impressed,” Crash said. “The experience depends on the night and the week. We’ve made overwhelming progress and it’s been a long journey, not just as a band, but as people. Reflecting back on the crowd turns us inside out.”

Alex shares that Edward Sharpe was sent down to earth to heal and save mankind, but often is distracted by girls. He is a man on fire, fueled by rebirth, righteousness, and redemption, who insists that you “Come celebrate, Life is hard.”

Music is my moral muse. It has been a rare constant in an inconsistent world. Life is hard; laced with struggle, dissonance, and doubt; but it is also precious, fleeting, and necessitates the prophetic paradigm provided by the love, dedication, and permission to believe everything is going to be alright. We must seek those who will provide a faint flicker of light when darkness lingers and illumination eludes. Darkness will endure if you let it chase you: light will awake your soul if you listen to its call.

“What’s closer to Bob Marley than what we’re doing? What we’re doing is borderline revolutionary. I think we’re really reaching people. Wouldn’t that be dope to be graced with Bob? The girls, singing ‘Three Little Birds’,” Crash offered as his dream collaboration.

Edward Sharpe and Bob Marley, now wouldn’t that be a treat? Their music isn’t just a reminder, rather a call to arms that we must “light up the darkness” and navigate the shadowed path or be devoured by despair. We must not fight for land and resources, but a quality of life eluded to in books, yet thieved by crooks.

“If I were free
I would run into battles with flowers and hugs
And bow at the boots of our well-oiled thugs
Yes, if I were free.”

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Freedom necessitates the choice of just what type of man or woman you want to be in this life. How do you spend your time? Remember, it is precious; it is fleeting. Do you serve others or simply yourself? Do you give more than you take? Do you offer courage, or prescribe fear?

“If it were me
I would yell out ‘I love you!’ to all I passed
I would disrobe and disco and rip off my mask.”

Some find the music we love with people we love and we laugh at the world and the trivial problems that we let bring us down. We scream lyrics that have carried us through the thick and the thin; the real shit of it all. We dance wild into sweat and exhaustion and we do it together because each other is all we really have in any of this.

“Man, oh, man, you’re my best friend
I scream it to the nothingness
there ain’t nothing that I need.”

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With flowers in her hair no timid man would dare to steal a kiss, on lips that remind that love will never be lost, only missed. Summer is the time for flowers — life is in the air; it is in our blood; in our eccentric celebrations — stare if you must. We run wild and playful as we dance from the streets to the grassy fields and the Electric Forest.

“I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the power
It’s getting weirder by the hour
The world is fucked up but I want to stay
I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the power
I’m tough enough to be a flower
The world is fucked up but I want to stay.”

Just in case you were looking for one, This is a Good Sign.

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Electric Forest: The Legend of Carl

by Good Sign on June 23, 2015

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By Kevin Alan Lamb

This evening I pack my bag of tricks (Chief Whistle, cape, etc.), paint my Good Sign totem (Rage Carl), and will escape to my sleep where I hope to discover enchanted dreams. Because tomorrow, I head west to Rothbury, Michigan, for my third Electric Forest.
Each year is more special than the last. Before I ever set foot in Sherwood Forest, 5k Good Signs had been given away at Rothbury ‘09. While Good Signs span the globe, and have become a one-of-a-kind festival mainstay, Electric Forest is our Holy Grail, and the Chief is coming home. And for those keeping score at home, I am the Chief.

I remember the days when we used Rage Carl to find our group of friends. Last year I counted close to 15 Good Sign Totems at Rothbury. Curious if others similarly ponder over this phenomena: no two totems are ever the same, minus the army of hope dealers with their Good Sign (Carl Jr.) raised in all its rage and glory. This tells me it’s working.

(Related: Electric Forest Group Hug World Record Attempt)

Now, let’s discuss this Carl nonsense. While many will liken the presence of Carl in the Forest to a played out chicken fight with Peter Griffin (Family Guy), I’ve always enjoyed the mystery, and folklore surrounding the origin of such a man. I recall Electric Forest ‘14, my first music festival, and a story of man named Carl who loved to climb trees, and lie in his hammock. Carl is obviously a bold man, spending most of time in places where few others dared to venture. It would only be fitting that Carl had a handlebar mustache, played the fiddle, and learned karate from Kareem Abdul Jabbar, following his work in Game of Death (1986).

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Amateurs hammock on the ground level: “Carl is no amateur,” said Walter Sobchak following last week’s league play at Holy Star Lanes, in Santa Monica. Constantly searching for the perfect Forest view, Carl disregards his safety and climbs higher and higher, securing his bird’s eye view of the magnificent creatures below, stumbling, and dancing about. Carl believes their strange behavior has something to do with what they put in the water; but it is just a theory.

While Carl never concerned himself with the ruse known as popular opinion, he has grown both quite, and rather disturbed by the overwhelming obsession with his discovery. If Carl wanted to spend time with you, he probably wouldn’t have elected to climb a tree and never come back down.

(Related: Uniquely Detroit, This is a Good Sign)

Because I am a silly bastard, and appreciate a good tall tale, I decided it best to remember the legend of Carl and bestow his name to describe the various forms of Good Signs. Since Carl is obviously spoken for, Carl Jr. was born in the form of your standard 18×18 Good Sign. When the Chief and the Chicken Hawk tire from getting low, because after all, they are the dos that get’s the lowest, they enjoy a tasty Cold Carl (beer), which you most definitely ought not confuse with a Hot Carl. Naturally my cape is Super Carl. The sticker on my phone is Sticky Carl. The Good Signs with inspiring words on the back (that we hand out by the thousands), is your limited edition Business Carl. If you’re ever in trouble, be sure to call Fat Carl (our Fathead). Perhaps you’re not into carrying a giant yellow sign that confuses the world into asking you questions, give Baby Carl (6×6) a whirl around the proverbial block (the ladies love him). We probably named our pins as well, I can’t recall… but you get the idea.

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Thanks to Carl, Good Signs have been personified, creating an infinite number of storylines in this strange and beautiful happening that is human experience. In the most bizarre, yet strangely appropriate fashion, I later learned the true origin of this character name Carl, and that he was a friend of mine. But that story is for another day.

Here is some of the Carl conjecture floating around that thing Al Gore invented…

“As we are adapting back to the unfortunate reality we live in, away from the Rothbury utopia, your memories will reappear and ask you, ‘Where’s Carl?’ Carl was not left in the forest, lost and wondering. Instead, he was found within everyone who yelled his name, and he thrives on.”

“At Rothbury Music Festival in 2008, a girl spent the entire night calling for her lost companion… Carl. While no one’s sure what became of the real Carl, any time you shout “CARRRRL?!” in a crowd, you’re guaranteed to get at least 10 echoed responses. It’s hilarious.”

“I meant to post this earlier, it is one of the craziest coincidences I have ever heard of in my entire life. I have attended both Rothburys and just now, the Electric Forest. I have to say that if anyone has attended at least ONE of these festivals, they have heard the running “Where’s Carl??!?!?” joke over and over and over again. Honestly, its pretty annoying.”

“Well here it is.. What I am about to say is 100% true, I have no reason to lie about this. I met two shroomerites at eForest and I might have told them this story so they can back me up on it being valid. I don’t remember if I told them or not though. Whatever. Three years ago a group of kids from my high school went to Rothbury 2008 and one of the kids name was Carl, obviously,.. Well long story short, they lost him the first night (Thursday) and didn’t find him til late Sunday/early Monday morning LOL. So the entire time that weekend they were almost constantly searching for him, somewhat worried ya know, screaming “Carl???! Where are you Carl??!?”…. For days they yelled this at the festival. It turned into a huge joke, literally everyone was screaming CARL WHERE ARE YOU OMG CARL’S DEAD!!! And the funny thing is… the dude is like 26, a total dork and virgin that lives in his mom’s basement. Hard to believe, my jaw dropped when one of my group members told me about it.”

(Related: With our powers combined)

“I was told that Carl was the crazy shirtless christian artist guy who is at like EVERY fu*#%ng fest and walks around and sells prints.”

“Upon a mere few minutes in the forest I started to hear festival-goers screaming in unison “CAAAARL—WHERE’S CARL?” It was all very confusing but upon some further research I learned that Carl is a lost forest festival legend. “Apparently Carl went missing in 2008 and festie hoppers have been searching for him ever since. It was pretty amazing to see one person start the chant and before you knew it the whole forest was screaming Carl’s name. Let’s hope we find the guy one day.”

“Last year at Rothbury, I spoke personally with a group of kids who recognized me, buddy was named Carl and they told me the funniest story. They were in the forest and it was dark and this was around the middle of bisco on Thursday night. They called out for carl who had lagged behind and got caught in the mix. Everyone started calling out for Carl. Hence the “shout for carl”. I was laughing in amazement and this young guy pulls out his wallet voluntarily and sez “see Soulmate! My name really is Carl”. All the kids were so excited about this!”

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“Dude I figured out who Carl is he is the man who put on Rothbury he just sits behind a desk and plots about what magical events are going to happen so everything that happened was his doing and everyone is looking for him just to say thanks for the wonderful weekend.”

“Oh man, so my first time at forest (2013) I was at my friend’s campsite and a group of us were just hanging around watching the sunrise, and one of the people there was telling the story of Carl (as he knew it) He had been at one of the earlier years (like the second Rothbury I think) well now i’m realizing i remember much less of the story than I originally thought, I know that it involved him hearing people shouting carl, asking a security guard why, and a long story from the security guard about a guy who got lost in the forest at the first Rothbury festival named Carl. But then again i think that’s kind of the point, nobody is quite sure who Carl is, nobody is quite sure what the story of carl is, but when we’re in the forest Carl is there.”

“To find Carl, is to find ‘it.’ But it is different for every person. For some Carl is happiness. Others it’s love. To some it’s meaning. And for some it’s purpose. My true perception of Carl is just that- to find ‘it.’ Even if for a brief moment. Find good. Find meaning. Find purpose. Find love. Find happiness. Find all of these things, and more! Find ‘it,’ or as the saying goes “Carl” And once you do, never let go. Even if you find Carl momentarily, relish the memory of that moment and carry it with you always. And always keep looking for Carl. Make life one long string of finding ‘Carl’ in everything you do. Not just at forest. But in life.”

Just in case you were looking for one, This is Good Sign, and #ThisIsAGoodForest 

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Electric Forest Group Hug World Record Attempt

June 22, 2015

By Kevin Alan Lamb Before I had ever stepped foot upon sacred festival grounds, Good Signs had traveled the world, been raised up on totems, and found a place in the hearts and minds of festivarians who embraced, shared, and help embody the message delivered with each Good Sign given. Like many of you today, […]

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Uniquely Detroit: This is a Good Sign

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video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player DETROIT – An inspirational icon meant to represent positivity and strength in communities has not only reached Detroit, but has also spread worldwide. Good Signs were founded in Florida in 2010, but it was in 2012 when Kevin Lamb joined the movement that the little yellow signs began popping up […]

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HeART and SOULstice Gathering 2015

June 8, 2015

We are excited to be working with HeART and SOULstice Gathering 2015 at the beautiful Blue Mountain Event Center in Wilseyville, CA. Their second annual HeART and SOULstice will feature three full days of music, performance art, workshops, art installations, community collaborated art projects, healing arts, and more! This year’s theme is, “Live your own myth!” Come out and […]

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Damien’s Journey

June 5, 2015

By Kevin Alan Lamb Each challenge or circumstance we encounter is an opportunity to be extraordinary if we so choose. No one exemplifies this more than Damien Minna. In the summer of 2004, Damien suffered a spinal injury while driving. He sought the help of every form of healing available in the United States for […]

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Live In the D

June 3, 2015

Photo Credit/Terry Shear By Kevin Alan Lamb It was another beautiful day in the D. Everyday we are attracting good humans with both the ability and desire to strengthen our community! There is no service to your community greater than participation. We walk the streets of Detroit, filled with Tigers fans, smiling children excited for […]

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With our powers combined

June 2, 2015

Photo Credit: Felicia Fullwood By Kevin Alan Lamb That Detroit is just sooo hot right now (Mugatu/Zoolander). Still ripe with good vibes from Movement Electronic Music Festival , we kept the momentum rolling, doubled down and spent a beautiful week in the D, preparing for the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle. While good people, smoke, and […]

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Catching Fireflys

June 1, 2015

By Sam Hofer When I think of Fireflies, I think of when my all my aunts and uncles, cousins and family friends would all gather at my uncle’s small home in Peoria, Illinois for our annual family reunion. The day was long and hot, but at night the warm air would fill with what seemed […]

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Movement Electronic Music Festival Photos: Hell Yeah Detroit!

May 28, 2015

It was a great Movement weekend with our friends from Hell Yeah Detroit!  Good Sign Man and Hell Yeah Detroit have joined forces and will be collaborating on a number of awesome projects, celebrating Detroit.  

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