Hi, How Are You Day Remembers Daniel Johnston

Sarah Shea

Hi, How Are You Day was a night full of music, celebration, mental health awareness, and remembrance. The third annual Hi, How Are You Day was at The Moody Theater on January, 23rd 2020. It was the first time the mental health awareness event took place after the passing of Daniel Johnston in September of last year. The Hi, How Are You Project is a non-profit organization that wishes to change the conversation about mental health. Donations to the Foundation fund mental health awareness, research, and education. Their mission is to remove the stigma and shame around mental health, so people will feel open to communicating. Once a year since 2017 the foundation has put on Hi, How Are You Day to encourage people to ask others, “hi, how are you?”. 


   The event was special from the moment I walked up the Moody Theater steps and saw the projection of Daniel’s frog mural. As soon as I got my tickets and walked in I was lured to the Tiff’s Treats table for a free cookie. Outside of the theater, there were 2 big screens showcasing art from around the world that was inspired by Daniel. There was also a Vans/No-Comply table that was showcasing limited edition Vans with designs directly from Daniel’s personal sketchbook. The Vans were available for pre-order to then be picked up at a pop-up during SXSW in March. The Hi, How Are You Day merch booth was stocked with t-shirts, hats, posters, Daniel Johnston vinyl, and even a HHAYD pin. In addition to the merch booth, there was a photo booth set up with Daniel’s frog mural as the background. 


   The Moody Theater is an excellent venue, there’s not a bad seat in the house. As the concert began a video clip of Daniel Johnston played and it was as if the entire audience was pulled in. The performers were all spectacular and they all played at least one original Daniel Johnston song. In order, the performers were Dan Luke and the Raid, Katie Sheckter, White Denim, Tunde Adebimpe, Jason Falkner with special guest Spoon, and Cage the Elephant. Each performer did an amazing job and many had their own things to say about mental illness and changing the conversation. Cage the Elephant closed out and let me tell you, Matt Shultz, lead singer of Cage The Elephant puts everything into his music. Watching his run, jump, balance, crouch down, and look alive on stage was mesmerizing. They played a lot of their hit songs including Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked, Cigarette Daydreams, Come a Little Closer and so many more. 


   The show wrapped up with all the performers of the night coming together to sing All You Need is Love by John Lennon and Paul Mccartney. It was a truly heart-tingling moment as the balloons fell from the ceiling, bouncing around as they all sang. A perfect end to a perfect night that was in honor of Daniel and raising mental health awareness. Daniel’s family was in attendance at the event and I’m sure they felt all of the love that was shown to Daniel. The Hi, How Are You Project is taking donations at hihowareyou.org if you would like to donate to help remove the stigma around mental health. Be sure to get ready for the next Hi, How Are You Day and in the meantime, ask someone “hi, how are you?”.