One year. That’s how long it’s been since lives were changed forever and 22 of them lost at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. I know this blog has been silent for a little while. There’s been a lot of other things that have had to take top priority but when I realised on the train that it was the anniversary of such a horrific and heartbreaking event, I couldn’t as a fan of music, in good conscience not say something about it.

I still a year on, struggle to comprehend that someone could be so evil as to intentionally hurt and kill innocent children. My heart broke all over again  tonight as I remembered thinking about the people whose first concert that would have been, who might have saved up for that concert to buy a ticket with their own money, it might’ve been the first time they went without parents and for some, it was probably a light in their life, a bright spot that if they could just get to, everything would be better.

That kind of thinking drives you mad so you have to do it in moderation. If there is ever even anything remotely resembling a silver lining in this whole dark and twisted series of events, it’s One Love Manchester. The benefit concert where many high profile artists donated their time for a televised sold-out stadium show, sending a message; we are stronger together. we will not be broken, hate will never win. Let me remind you of some magic that happened that night.

What do you see in these videos? Because I first of all see a girl who showed she has the courage of a lion heart. It astounds me, looking back that Ariana Grande had the inner strength to not only pull that event together in such a short amount of time but also that she felt strong enough to get up on stage and perform in what would have been a high trauma trigger situation.

Then I see a crowd full of people, hearts on sleeves, arm in arm, regardless of who they are outside this moment who refuse to be silenced by fear. I see artists who are performing because they love music and they know the magic that live music, in particular, can create and conjure.

And you know what I’ve seen in the year since?

I’ve seen musicians continue to play in stadiums. I’ve seen music that is raw and honest, brave and vulnerable. I’ve been in crowds of thousands – all of us singing the words, dancing like no one was watching, embracing strangers, being fearlessly ourselves and in doing so making spaces like concerts feel like beating hearts of humanity, safe, accepted and just enjoying music. All of this is strong and brave. A metaphorical middle finger that hate didn’t win in Manchester and it won’t and hasn’t won yet.

So while we feel unexplainable heartache and grief for the people we lost, their families and their tribe of people who loved them, let’s not forget what good we could all do when we came together.

Keep buying tickets to shows. Keep living life. Treat people with kindness. Choose love. Be good to people. Raise each other up. Reach out a hand. Connect. Let people in. Fill the world with light. It doesn’t mean there won’t be hate, pain, loss or tragedy but it does mean we’re putting up a good fight.

❤ ❤ ❤ Hannah xxx