An Inside Look at The Bergamot’s Unity Tour

Have you seen a Volvo covered in inspiring messages in your city? The Bergamot have been driving across the U.S. on their Unity Tour, stopping in each state to perform and have people write messages of hope and unity on their Unity Car. We caught up with the husband and wife duo to talk about their amazing journey, their final show in NYC this weekend, and more.

In 10 words or less describe the Unity Tour.
Life changing – the greatest stories in life are real stories.

Give us a breakdown of the tour – how many days have you been on the road, how many miles have you driven, etc.
250 days on the road
50,000 miles
100+ shows
65 cities
20 oil changes
200+ Load Ins/Load Outs
$2,500 worth of gear stolen
$1000 of damage to the car
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What kind of reactions did The Unity Car get while you were on the road?
Across the spectrum. We can really break down the reactions into 3 parts. When people see the car on the road it goes like this:

  1. Shock: Most people are taken back by the car – initially they will point or take a close look. You can see people react when they first come in contact with the car
  2. Realization and understanding: After seeing all of the messages and after the shock, people usually realize that the messages have a common theme – Unity.
  3. Sharing: After people see the car and the messages usually they will look at the others in the car and tell the others what they just saw. Then if they are into it they honk and give a thumbs up. Such a great time driving The Unity Car on the road.

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We loved seeing your feature on NBC Washington 4! What was it like to share your story?
It was amazing sharing our story with the team over at NBC 4 in Washington. The truth is we want to share our message with as many people as possible. The car is just a way for us to physically document our travels and all of the amazing people that we have met out on the road. The car just symbolizes that there are a lot of really amazing supportive people out there – regardless of what may be playing out on television – we have a dream that The Unity Collective is a real physical embodiment of what it means to be united.

What has been the most memorable show this far?
Alaska was amazing. Getting to AK was incredible, the press we met with and interviewed with were just as sweet as can be, the shows were amazing, and all of our friends and hosts that helped us out were just rad. I can not say enough about AK – such great people. Los Angeles was probably one of our best attended shows – and lots of reactions to the car in LA as well. We played a great house show in Portland and we played to a house show of 5 in North Dakota – this tour was as real as it gets. From sleeping in the penthouse on The Strip – to the next night sleeping in the parking lot below the penthouse.

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You guys have been on the road for quite some time! You’ve practically hit up all of the states! What are your top scenic places?
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Girdwood, AK
Bandon, OR
Santa Fe, NM
Gulfport, MS
Ogden Dunes, IN
St. Pete’s Beach, FL
St Luis Obispo, CA
Scarborough, ME
Empire, MI

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Being on the road has its highs and lows. You guys aren’t only band members but you’re married, how do you keep it together?
Barely. No, we do great together. We enjoy being in each other’s company. We have our rules and try to stick with them. It is very hard being out on the road for extended periods of time. Especially when there is a lot of uncertainty around what you are doing. So there are definitely some challenges. We are working on 2 books for next year and we will go a lot more into detail regarding these details as I could write a whole page about how to deal with uncertainty, relationships, and life on the road.

Photo Credit: Daniel Wongi Kim

Photo Credit: Daniel Wongi Kim

What do you hope to have accomplished by the end of the tour?
Well, that is an interesting question. Before our story broke on NBC Ch. 4 we had no idea to what extent our message was going to reach the mass public. Before the debut, we just wanted to continue the conversation of what does Unity look like in 2016. I mean Unity is not exactly the singular word that historians will use to describe this election year. So I think as artists we have a responsibility to document and speak to where we are currently as a country in relation to history. So our goal on the road has been to just enact change one single person at a time, one conversation, one story at a time. If we can change just one perspective we can possibly change the views of one person – or open there mind to new possibilities. One of the signees of the car said “How can we expect people to do anything different if they don’t know anything else?” We just hope to open people’s minds to new idea – to upgrading and repurposing something that our society looked at as worthless. Since the breakthrough with NBC in Washington our goal is to have The President and Ellen sign the car. So Barack and Ellen after you read this interview we wanted to let you know we have a special spot on the car for both of you! After we collect signatures from all 50 States we will then we will auction the car and donate 100% of the proceeds to the Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, IN where Jillian and I both grew up.

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We’re so excited to see you at Rockwood Music Hall this Saturday (and we can’t wait to write on your car!). How does it feel to have this amazing tour come to an end?
Surreal. It was only an idea on Sept. 26th 2015. Then we hit the road on January 2nd 2016. 8 months later here we are – having been to all 50 States come NYC this weekend. We are excited for all the new music we have written and ready to start our new album (Spring 2017) then do it all again “The Unity Collective 2.0”. We have a special spot on the car for our ReverbNation friends you have been a huge help to us along the way. We are all actors in the grand play of life. Cheers.

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KevinAn Inside Look at The Bergamot’s Unity Tour

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