Serendipity at Aftershock, meeting Brian Welch of Korn

Amanad Jacobs / Tahoe Onstage

Thousands gathered in Sacramento this month for Aftershock.

This is a personal story, one of the coolest festival experiences during Aftershock 2019 — one that I would say is quite unusual.

I parked near Discovery Park and walked 20 minutes to the entrance thinking to myself, “If I see people walking after the end of the show, I could give them a ride.”

On the second day I left the festival early, skipping the rush. In the dark as I walked, there was someone in front of me by himself. He veered off the path to go to the road. As I continued on the path, he called out “Do you know where that path goes?”

I replied, “No, but I’m about to find out.” He showed me the map on his phone, explaining how it was unclear where the path went. I could tell he was a little concerned that I was walking by myself, so I went his way by the road.

My car was nearby as we started conversing about the festival. He had a couple of miles farther to walk so I offered him a ride. He said “You sure? I have a little sister and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want her giving strangers rides home.”

“Yes, I’m sure. I’m a pretty good judge of character,” I replied. In the car, he asked if I liked the band Korn. I told him that I was mainly there for Tool but I grew up listening to Korn. He followed by showing me photos of him at large dinner tables with some members of Korn and told me he is friends with the people who help manage the band. He thanked me for taking him home and said he would try to get me backstage the following day. I told him how I’d love to meet Brian Welch.

I know a lot about Brian Welch particularly because I became a believer a few years ago and learned about Welch’s transformation. I found books and a new documentary on his journey coming to Jesus, breaking addiction and reuniting with his band Korn. The whole band ended up becoming sober because of his transformative example. It was great getting back into the music of my roots but from a new perspective.

The last day of the festival I was busy doing interviews. One went much longer than expected. I finished just before the start of Korn’s set but it was too late to watch from the side stage, which was a bummer because the performance was unreal. Jim, my new friend from the car ride, came to get me after the set and we went backstage. Once I was back in the area designated for Korn, I saw there were only friends and family – definitely no non-working fans like me.

When Jim and I entered the area, security told us that Korn had already left. We saw no one from the band around, but we hung out in the area anyway, just in case. Suddenly, out of a trailer walked Brian Welch! The member I wanted to meet.

Unfortunately, Jim wasn’t on a first name basis with him, so he couldn’t introduce me. Then one of his friends appeared and introduced himself. I told him how I became a believer and Brian Welch was a big influence in my life.

“You want to meet him?” he asked. I excitedly shook my head “yes.”

“Hey Brian, come meet Amanda!” he said as Brian was about to walk away. Brian stopped to take a picture with me, and asked how I was there in the Korn area. Fair question. The friend who introduced me told him I gave one of their people a ride home. Brian followed with, “Oh cool; you want a drink?” As he started listing options, “water, beer, tea” without thinking I chose “beer” and soon realized that, oh yeah, everyone here is sober and I’m the only one with a beer. But I couldn’t turn down a beer from Brian Welch.

We all followed Brian into the trailer and chatted a bit. I was over the moon grinning ear to ear, sitting in that trailer with a group of people, hanging out with Brian Welch.

What are the odds? It must have been “a God thing.”

 — Amanda Jacobs

About Amanda Jacobs

Amanda Jacobs lives in South Lake Tahoe and owns 17 musical instruments. She loves going to festivals and talking with artists about their messages.

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