Happy New Year’s from McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Cheers (says Bill, at right)! Thank you, my friends, for staying friends across the miles…and thank you, my family for being my amazing family. We kicked off the New Year here at McMurdo with Icestock, the legendary annual outdoor music festival. After a week of temperatures in the mid-30s, it got colder and windier than usual just in time for the big event. Guitarists were taping hand warmers to their wrists so they could play without freezing their fingers. One singer even bled all over her guitar because it was so cold she couldn’t feel the blood oozing out of a cut in her finger. Despite these harsh conditions, a few hundred folks gathered to ring in the New Year by dancing the bright night away:
The dancing kept me warm, but the music is what provides the motion for the ocean, as one of my rock drumming instructors once told me. Every band at McMurdo crams in extra practices for this event, and all of their hard work was well received by rowdy local fans. Music styles this year ranged from an all-lady band of ukulele players called the Ukuladies, to some bluegrass-y bands, other scream-y rock bands that incited some moshing, and then a few bands featuring the ever-so-lovely Kevin Pettway:
The McMurdo station manager came out at midnight to do the countdown, which I caught on video. Click on this YouTube clip to see the Icestock stage, the crowd, and several warming huts, including Sawbucks—a café set up by the McMurdo carpenters, who served warm drinks with the last of the summer’s Bailey’s:
This year’s Icestock was held on New Year’s Eve, but it’s normally an all-day New Year’s Day event. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this change, but it went off well, and everyone who gathered seemed to be fully awake and in good spirits at midnight—hugging and kissing and ready to dance their way into 2011:
Much peace and many blessings to you all in the upcoming year!