Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Music Festivals: Likes and Dislikes

So, awhile back I had the good fortune to experience three days at the Pickathon Music Festival, a nice little get together that lets city folk like myself pretend we’re country folk for a few days by letting us camp out, get dirty and stinky, and pump our fists without embarrassment to bands we’d otherwise probably not listen to. That said, I had a GREAT time, enjoying the event as a birthday gift from my wife, a gift that came with freedom from being a spouse and parent for a coupla’ days (not THAT kind of freedom from spouse-hood...get your head outta’ the gutter, swinger!), but I found myself in a bit of a predicament: thirteen years of wedded bliss and nine years of parenting have left me at a loss with what to do with my thoughts when nobody is occupying them. So...behold the list! As I watched the bands, drank the beer (and the wine I snuck in), and tromped through the grounds, I considered what I loved and loathed about festivals (there might be a story behind each of them...or maybe not...I was a bit tipsy when I wrote some of them down).

What I Like
-considerate smokers (I wrote this twice...not sure why)
-soul music
-old people rocking out
-blonde hair on tan legs
-rules that aren’t rules
-kids who dig snakes
-Cool tattoos: acoustic gee-tars, prairie windmills, and men holding umbrellas in a rainstorm
-Bert from “Mary Poppins” (and guys who remind me of him)
-cramming stuff on my bike
-forests and hills WITH forests
-music IN forests
-’60s garage rock
-Pine State  and Garden State foods
-good bands (currently Fruit Bats, Califone, and old gospel singers)

What I Don’t Like
-dudes with french braids
-soccer mom sunglasses (worse when on dudes)
-dust covered feet
-dusty boogers
-tank tops, cutoffs, bandanas and ray-bans (as an ensemble)
-camping on hills
-festival food prices
-dumb tattoos: aquatic animals, flames, suns, moons, any celestial objects, Asian characters not on Asian people...
-hair that obviously requires effort,
-“It’s all good” spacey smiles, or worse, the phrase, “It’s all good.”
-kids with dreads
-hair feathers
-dead flora in hair
-absentee parents
-dark hair on tans legs
-tall folks (only when standing in front of me)

What I’m Not Sure About
-straw hats
-salsa/cumbia music
-grass (both kinds)
-folding chairs

Christian: I love the whole idea of music festivals, but I’ve never been to one before. The closest I have come was seeing Radiohead at The Gorge. We camped out at the concert’s designated camping field, along with 10,000 noisy drunkards and their Frisbees and left the next day.  

So it was only one day of music, or more accurately, one evening of music. However we did listen to music on the way home, so in a sense it was multiple days of music. And it was festive.  

Did you have pen and paper on hand and actually tally these lists while you were at the festival?

Pat: I did. Well, kind of. I had a pen, of course. I’m one of those people who ALWAYS has a pen. One of those people who gets really nervous when I know I am not in possession of a pen. This one was tucked nicely into one of the many pen holders of my festival backpack (yes, I probably looked like that kid that mom sent to school ready for academic battle. I don’t care. I was prepared, dammit!). This one was a nice black-ink Uniball Roller™. Wrote nice and smoothe!

But paper was another problem. I often don’t think of that. So I took a sheet out of somebody’s song notebook that I found at the lost-n-found. No notes were on it...I took a clean page. No harm, no foul.

So, yes, I had the list in my pocket and tallied as the day and night rocked on.

Funny...I like Radiohead and all, but I don’t tend to lump them in the same category of cheery happy things that I associate with festivals. I am prepared to take shit for that last comment.

Christian: So as you’re watching the bands and enjoying the “festivities” you were taking notes the whole time?

Pat:  I see what you’re getting at, sneaky Pete! Don’t try to imply that by taking copious notes at a “festival” I was missing the opportunity to be “festive”. I was thoroughly enjoying the music, art and general laid back vibe while OCCASIONALLY taking out my pen and paper to jot down some ideas that might come in handy later and that I might otherwise forget. Honestly, Christian, do you think the experience of seeing Mavis Staples would be as sweet in my memory if I didn’t also remember the considerate smoker with the dread-headed toddler wearing a backpack in front of me?

I think of my note-taking as an act that ENRICHES an already rich and festive experience. What say you to THAT?

Christian: I guess that’s fine. The other festival attendees probably just thought you were with the press or something. Or maybe that you were a mute, and since you couldn’t shout “Yeahhhh Wooohoooo Yeahhhhhh!!!!” as the bands played, you just wrote it down and showed people.

Although, others may have been concerned that you might be some kind of terrorist taking notes about the location to plan your ultimate strike*. You probably noticed a lot of people trying to stay clear of you. This may be why.

*Dear any FBI agents who may have discovered our blog while doing internet searches for terrorist activity. I assure you we are just joking around here and are no way involved, nor support in any way, shape, or form, terrorism. But please also take note that it was Pat that was writing down information at that highly attended public festivity, and not me. What I’m trying to say is, he’s your guy.


  1. Pat- where do you stand on pale legs with blond hair on them? Also, I do not like Radiohead. I do not like them at the Gorge. I do not like in a car. I do not like them at a club. I do not like here or there. I do not like them anywhere.

  2. I am against any grouping of more than 3 people, but I'm right there with you and the need for a pen. Although for me, it has to be blue or my mind goes wonky.
    I hear Guantanamo is nice this time of year.

  3. @Megiweg - That's from Dr. Seuss' "Horton Hears a Emo-post Rock Band" isn't it?

    @Tumbleweed - I don't mind being around large groups of people as long as they don't touch me or get anywhere near me. Or talk too loud. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't like them.

  4. Megiweg- not sure...haven't really seen that. I CAN say, though, that if there are old-lady ankles at the bottom of those pale blonde legs then, no, I do not like them. Maybe when I'm older.

    Tumbleweed- worry not, for I am still in the comfy confines of my panic room. And thanks for the shout out on the pen neuroses! For what it's worth, I'm down with blue too.