On being a groupie.
Ben is in a band, if you don’t already know this, and this weekend they were playing a music festival. The festival was three days long – Thursday to Saturday, and out in the middle of nowhere (seriously, google street view doesn’t even go that far)
This is the third year that the festival has happened, and it’s fairly well known and loved locally. They don’t get enormously famous people, but they do get some reasonably big names, like Humans & The Pack AD.
Anyway, Ben and I drove up on Saturday morning, the day that he was scheduled to play. It took us about two hours, one of which was spent on winding bumpy roads with one-way bridges, signs saying “yield for logging trucks,” and lots of opportunities for carsickness.
The closer we got to our destination, the foggier and wetter it became. I had my doubts about camping in wet weather (we’re not exactly seasoned campers), but it ended up being even worse than my wildest dreams.
We arrive. It’s disorganized. I immediately regret purchasing a $100 ticket, since everyone assumes I’m part of the band and no one seems to be enforcing the rules. It’s madness.
A girl approaches me while I’m waiting outside the outhouses for Ben. “I love your jacket; how is it not covered in mud?!” she shouts enthusiastically. Everything is mud. Tents are pitched in muddy holes. Everywhere you step, your feet sink down several inches. My shoes are ruined within seconds. “How are we supposed to camp in this?” I ask Ben.
A girl walks by in bare, mud covered feet. Another girl is in muddy socks. Most people have had the foresight to bring gumboots.
“You should just play your set and then we’ll drive home. Can you imagine SLEEPING OVERNIGHT in this??” is my advice, but Ben thinks we’ll want to hang out, so we find semi decent spot and put our tent up.
Twenty minutes later and thick clouds roll in. It starts to pour. And it’s windy. Ben’s gone off with his band to get ready to play & I’m hanging out with some people under a tarp that sort of protects us from the rain but not entirely because the rain is kind of going sideways. We eventually trudge over to the performance area to get ready to watch the band play. The entire area in front of the stage is just a huge mud pit. People are sliding around and throwing mud at each other. A gust rips through and a huge puddle of water splashes down from the roof and onto the stage. I find Ben and he tells me that they’ve been cancelled because it’s too stormy.
Finally coming to his senses, Ben agrees to pack up our stuff and go. When we get back to our tent the inside has puddles of water in it. Thank god we aren’t spending the night. We begin to take it all down as rain pours down on us. THEN one of Ben’s bandmates approaches us. “We are going to play! They’re moving us to the smaller stage,” he says.
So. The next three hours are a waiting game. Are they playing? When are they playing? What is happening? I manage to get into the backstage area for a free cup of coffee; a welcome relief from the freezing cold weather conditions.
Three hours later it’s announced that the water has damaged the speakers on the smaller stage and that the band can’t play there either. So we’ve been waiting around for no reason. A lot of this waiting has been out in the open, with no shelter from the rain, although for the last half hour we smartened up and sat in our car. Turning on that heater was absolutely JOYFUL.
As soon as we find out that the show is cancelled we peel out of there and drive the 2ish hours home, grab some hot Indian food and go to the public pool to sit in the sauna for an hour and laugh about how INSANE the whole thing had been. (as in: “I can’t believe earlier today you were WORRYING about how your HAIR would look ONSTAGE.”)