It’s only June and I’m already sick of festival recaps
I realize I’m about to climb onto a slippery slope here, and I’ll probably be skewered by the masses. Whatever. I don’t mean to take the curmudgeon mantle from Grant Alden but after just two weeks of Bonnaroo and and Tulluride festival recaps, I’m sick of it. Similar to last summer, it looks like we’ll no doubt will be inundated week after week at this site with a need for festival goers and bloggers alike to share their experience with us.
Thanks, but no thanks.
Here’s the thing: First, there is a HUGE commonality to all of your experiences. You’ll either talk about how bad the traffic was, or how well organized this year was compared to last, and what a breeze it was to find your camping site quickly or perhaps you’re still looking for it. The weather will be hot and most likely muggy, unless you’re in the Pacific NW or Canada where it will probably rain for two out of the three days. There shall be notations of inebriated young men who will leering at barely-dressed young women, and old men leering at anybody who moves.
You’ll probably need to tell us what and how you packed, and then how you forgot something crucial that someone you just met for the very first time offered to loan to you because the sense of community was so great. Some of you will take the kids and bore us with stories about face painting booths on the fringes of the staging area. There will be big thumbs up for those festivals that are “green” because they recycle the paper plates, and probably little mention of the port-o-potties that are seeping crud into the groundwater.
We love charities and so there will be stories of booths set up to separate you from your money, alleviating any guilt you still have left by turning your back last week at the collection plate. Booths…goods and services….which means you can buy a souvenir hemp t-shirt of your favorite band for only $38 and a veggie hot dog wrapped in organic wheat board with brown rice for just a twenty. Drink water you’ll be urged at five bucks for twelve ounces, and make sure to drop the plastic bottles into the green plastic cans.
Music? Well here’s where we get to the meat, so to speak. Except I’ve just checked and guess what? Every damn artist and band who plays at one festival plays at all festivals. Mumford, The Decemberists, Emmylou, Sam Bush, Darrell Scott, Abigail Washburn….on and on I could go. And why not? It makes perfect sense going on a circuit to play to a few thousand folks every weekend as opposed to an endless tour of coffee shops and house concerts, sleeping in a stranger’s extra bedroom and enduring nightly casseroles of tater tots and tuna.
The natural beauty of the festival grounds. Have I mentioned that yet? Lines like….”as the band was finishing their last number, the sun dipped down below the red dirt mountains and a holy-like glow lit up the field”. Or how about…”we all looked at one another and without even planning, we took each other’s hands into our own and prayed for the Tibetan monks as he (or she) covered the Leonard Cohen song with mandolin and ukulele.”
As you can guess, I’m not one to go all that often. My last one, excluding the local bluegrass weekend of boredom where all the players were over seventy and I got to hear “Orange Blossom Special” 1, 256 times…was last summer’s Pete Seeger she-bang called the Clearwater Festival. I’ll admit to all of the above as part of my experience, but I’ll also cop that it was fun. A lot of fun. Probably because I got there early, left late and slept in my sister’s Bloomingdale Estates’ home with the gourmet kitchen, heated swimming pool and thick, comfy bed.
Had I been living in a tent for two nights, wall to wall with snoring and dirty people….meh.