Sunday, July 13, 2008

Rothbury Festival.

After the fun times in Wisconsin, I hopped a ferry across Lake Michigan to meet up with Kellen for the first annual Rothbury Festival. This was the highlight of my summer, no doubt about it. Kudos to the festival organizers for doing a terrific job. We didn't have to wait in line at all to get in on Thursday afternoon and the people doing car searches and directing traffic were friendly and easy to work with. The walk from our campsite to the festival grounds was relatively short and pleasant. Beer and food were reasonably priced and the vendors were strategically placed so that regardless of our location, we never had to walk far for sustenance. There were more than enough trash stations and each of them had three cans: one for compost (all the cups, plates, and napkins were made from some sort of corn plastic), one for recycling, and one for landfill trash. They even had a worker at each station to remind all the drunk people which can to put their trash in. There were tons of porta-potties and they were a lot cleaner than I expected them to be. And then there was Sherwood Forest:

That was the main walkway through the festival grounds. Trippy. Needless to say, everyone spent a little time just hanging out in the trees between music sets. Someone did a hell of a job putting that place together. Mother Nature smiled upon us with the best weather we could have asked for: around 80 during the day and then dropping to around 55 at night. I was pretty stoked about dancing while wearing my favorite fleece. It wasn't until Sunday night after the festival was over that we got slammed with an intense thunderstorm. But that turned out to be awesome because it started raining right after I crawled into my tent and it was cool to lie there and watch the lightning.

As with most experiences, it's quite a task to try and convey the atmosphere in mere words, so, for your viewing pleasure, some photos:

We found that watermelon for $5 at the local farmers' market and thought it was a wise purchase to help us rehydrate. But then we realized that we didn't have anything to chop it up with, so I sat there cutting chunks out of it with a knife. I was trying to fashion a helmet out of the rind, but I got bored with it well before it started to take any form.

You might be wondering what that last picture is supposed to be. Well let me tell you what it is. It's this spun out crazy lady at the STS9 show who was walking around the crowd with a lit torch. She was all yakked out and moving through an entirely non-sober crowd with AN OPEN FLAME. I was pretty uneasy about the whole thing, so I snapped a picture and then moved far enough away to avoid any potential blazing disasters. That's the hilarious problem with STS9 ... too many freak shows.

I didn't really take too many videos. I was in the moment. But here are two that some other people posted that are worth watching. First, you have to see this crazy monkey tree thing. It was mesmerizing. It had a bunch of drums at the bottom of it and when people would bang on the drums, the thing would go around. When we first saw it, my friends and I looked at each other and said, "Is this really happening?"

I've never been one of those huge Dave Matthews fans who refers to the man as "Dave," like he's my best friend or something, but I've also never been one of those music snobs who loves to hate "Dave." In general, I could take him or leave him. I wouldn't go out of my way for one of his shows, but he was there and he was also the only one in that time slot. The show was good, but it was unremarkable until the encore when he did this:

I just lost it during that. My composure, that is. It's a good thing we were further back in the crowd where there was more room for uninhibited dancing like maniacs. I've been bouncing around the last couple days randomly singing to myself, "Thank you ... for lettin' me ... be myself ... again."

After all was said and done, these are the artists we had seen:
  • Mickey Hart Band featuring George Porter Jr. and Steve Kimock
  • Railroad Earth
  • The Beautiful Girls
  • Tea Leaf Green
  • Snoop Dogg
  • Yonder Mountain String Band
  • Widespread Panic (with 4th of July fireworks!)
  • Primus (first live show in three years!)
  • Thievery Corporation (the last 20 minutes of the set)
  • Bassnectar
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Sound Tribe Sector Nine
  • Trey Anastasio
  • Gov't Mule
  • Phil Lesh & Friends
I was pleasantly surprised by Bassnectar. That was one hell of a bumpin' set. However, I would have to say my top three favorites were: Widespread Panic, Yonder, and Phil Lesh & Friends. After seeing Phil Lesh & Friends, I've been unable to fight the urge to listen to Grateful Dead songs while driving. In fact, both Mickey Hart (the first set we saw) and Phil Lesh (the last set we saw) played Fire on the Mountain, and so now that song has been stuck in my head all week:

Okay. That's enough for now. Rothbury is over. I need to accept that and move on. I need to get back to work catching up on my admin instead of sitting here watching all of the YouTube videos people posted from the weekend.


kwaller said...

Again with the stupid RSS reader not showing me you've updated! LAMESAUCE.

You and your crazy music festivals.

Speedbuggy said...

Technically speaking an event cannot be the first and annual.
The second and the events following however can have the cherished moniker "annual"

johnna said...