Man did that girl live. She had this backpack... we'd go for week long trips and she'd just bring this backpack. But every time, it had everything she ever needed in it. She was like a raver Mary Poppins. She had so much more to live and experience. But, she did well. - Greg Sanford
Chelsea Hannaway was a vibrant, vivacious 22 year old with dreams of traveling the world, seeking adventure and living life to the fullest. Music was her saving grace, EDM the center of her soul. Friends describe Chelsea as the thrill seeker, the wanderer and a free spirit. She loved hard, danced harder and carried an energy so positive that the room lit up when she entered. Her love knew no limits and her capacity to give was never-ending. Chelsea was two weeks away from her 23rd birthday and just a few months short of a summer full of promise and big changes when tragedy struck. Chelsea Hannaway passed away unexpectedly on March 23, 2014. Although the details of Chelsea's passing are being held out of respect for the family, we have been informed that it was linked to substance/drug related foul-play. We invite you to remember Chelsea in your ventures this festival season, if you chose to take substances- whether they be alcohol, prescription pills/medication or illegal narcotics, know what it is you are ingesting and how it may effect your body adversely. If something feels sketchy, follow your first instincts. Substance related deaths may be prevented if we take the time to educate ourselves and look out for one another.
Chelsea's soulmate, Greg Sanford is a EDM culture veteran, with heavy roots in the scene since 1996. He describes his first encounter with Electronic Music Culture as "sneaking into clubs at 15 just to hear DJs play. That was back when DJs weren't the centers of attention and it was all about the music. We're talking back when Ferry and Tiesto used to rip awesome Trance tracks under the alias Gouryella."
Our connection occurred at the inaugural Mysteryland Festival in Bethel Woods, NY. Greg was running around with an epic Fuck Real Life shirt, and his friend was slapping rubber bracelets on people's wrists. It wasn't until after the event that I realized why Greg was there. He was there for Chelsea, living out her life, fulfilling her dreams and ensuring that her happiness and energy lived on beyond her physical presence. Mysteryland offered a tree of life where patrons were able to leave a message behind. Greg left a piece of Chelsea (pictured above), and it was both heartbreaking and beautiful. His next move? EDC Las Vegas. Everyone who met him befriended him at Mysteryland, it wasn't a difficult task. Due to financial circumstances, he came to the Mysteryland Group page on Facebook and offered to sell mixes for donations to make Chelsea's trip happen. It went something like this:
PLUR. It's the pillar of our culture, whether you accept it or not. Peace, Love, Unity and Respect isn't a trend, it's not a money maker, and it is beyond "silly raver shit." PLUR is a term of endearment, and although it has been masked with the commercialization of EDM, it is making a comeback -- and rapidly. I had a chance to talk with Greg about his goals, his experience in the scene and most of all, what his intentions are living for Chelsea. I made a donation to his cause, and soon many others followed suite. There is an opportunity to revive our scene, and to remember what the EDM scene was intitially all about- the music and the community. This is the beginning of the ultimate act of PLUR. We're going to pay it forward. Here is Chelsea's story. Greg's story... and how you can contribute to our chain of paying it forward by speaking on this tragedy.
Tell me about your relationship with Chelsea. Where did you meet and what was the bond between you like?
GS: In short, my relationship with Chelsea was perfect in every sense of the meaning. At the base level of it all, to each other we were the fundamental glue of life. We ran around everywhere, we partied til we fell asleep in each others arms, we would laugh at the dumbest of things til our ribs hurt, spontaneously got up and went on adventures... we weren't afraid to be weird or completely childish and goofy. We talked about things that most would question "what is wrong with you?" We were free from judgement. Our relationship connection was just absolutely perfect. We were the best of friends and planned to help each other through the tough times we were both facing and move out west for a better life together. In the 3 years I knew her, we never even fought a single time. Our connection was just that good. We met in 2011 at a Tiesto & Porter Robinson show through a mutual friend. I didn't even say hi, I just immediately said "Now that's a booty!!!" I was such an idiot! But she laughed, and hugged me and we just clicked after that.
What is the most memorable piece of your relationship together?
There are so many memories... The shows we went to, countless nights together, getting wild in Central Park and adventures on hotel rooftops. Car rides to and from NYC, TomorrowWorld... I could go on. But I'd have to say the last 30 minutes spent together at TomorrowWorld- we were sitting in each other's arms watching the book closing ceremony, with tears in our eyes and telling each other "I love You." I still cry thinking about it. It was the most perfect moment and I wish I could relive it over and over again. If I could, I would have proposed on the spot. It's the one thing I regret not doing.
What are you hoping to accomplish on this journey you're taking in her memory?
I'm trying to accomplish everything she wanted to do, because she deserves that. She was one of the most beautiful and inspiring people anyone could ever know and touched peoples lives in miraculous ways, so I feel that doing what she wanted to experience, and channeling that experience through my own soul, that she will be happy. The whole process will probably take 2 or 3 years. After EDC is TomorrowWorld and hopefully Hard Day Of The Dead. Next year I'm trying to do a trip to Brazil and a few other countries, and while doing that maybe do TomorrowLand and Defqon... she always wanted to do Defqon.
If you end up making it out to EDC, are you planning on doing anything special to honor her memory?
Well, a lot of it I'm sure I'll come up with when I'm there and do some pretty awesome things like I did at Mysteryland like writing a message to her on the Wishing/Healing tree. I have a plaque I'm making to nail to a tree at TomorrowWorld, I'm gonna buy a spot on the bridge at Tomorrowland. EDC, I'm not sure. But I do know there's certain artists she loved that I will see- and I'm gonna try to jump off the Stratosphere like she did last EDC. But if anyone has any really awesome ideas, I'd love to hear them. I might even find a way up that mini Eiffel Tower and put a love lock on it!
That's actually spectacular. Tell us something you want the rest of the world to know about Chelsea. What is her message?
People reading this... PLEASE be safe with what you do and realize there are people out there that don't give a fuck about you. .. I really wish I had the ability for the world to physically know her because of how beautiful she was inside and out. She didn't have a single enemy and people just couldn't help but love her. At her wake, there was a steady line of people going out the building and around 3 blocks for 4 hours and they had to extend the visitation time by an hour to accommodate them all. That speaks volumes on it's own.
Your infinite love for her is strong and obvious. Do you ever relate your emotions to music? What was Chelsea's track of life?
Tim Berg- Seek Bromance. She always played it and was definitely her all time favorite. My problem is that there are soo many songs that I would dedicate to her. Sultan & Ned Shepard - All These Roads was perfect as we had planned to pick up, move, and head for better times to live together before she passed. But I think the three that I find myself singing along to that bring out emotions is Bloody Beetroots Ft. Sveta Bach - Chronicles Of A Fallen Love, RAM - RAMelia, and Rameses B - I Need You (T:Base Remix). However, I ended up putting a lot into a very emotionally moving mix dedicated to her.
To Die, would be an awfully big adventure.
- Peter Pan
To pay it forward, please send your contribution via PayPal to: PirateBlis@Hotmail.com
Rest in Peace Chelsea Hannaway, April 4, 1991 - March 23, 2014