Monday, October 5, 2009

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Was Crowded!

Are you kidding me? Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Sunday probably saw the most crowds in its history and had the worst lineup by far. I regret having missed the festival last year, because I was still in Las Vegas. I was told Gogol Bordello, Odetta, and of course Marty-Wilson Piper were Awesome, to quote a few of my friends.

This year I was happy to have seen (mostly heard) Neko Case. The crowd was probably the biggest crowd I was a part of in my life. I usually avoid large groups of people, because I'm short and have a claustrophobic issue. I pulled out a few tricks so I could withstand the conditions. First of all, I put my chair down kind of close to the stage up on the hill stage right, about an hour before Neko was scheduled and then left to hang out with Smithy over at the Rooster Stage where we waited for Marianne Faithful to play.

By the way, I was disappointed in Marianne Faithful's performance, even though it was exactly what I had expected, go figure. Half way through Marianne's show Smithy and I got up, because we were bored. I still had a half an hour before Neko Case started. Smithy said she wanted to get some water, so we started walking towards 19th Avenue. Right around the Arrow Stage she decided she was done and said she was going to check out whatever was happening on the Porch Stage, because it was the smallest stage and would probably have the least amount of people. Her plan was to leave from there. There was no way she was going to walk back in the direction of the rest of the stages through most of the people and all of their accessories. She reached her limit.

I decided to go to the bathroom, I mean port-a-potty down by the Arrow Stage and then worked my way back up to my chair at the Star Stage. I reached the the area where I left my chair with about five minutes to spare. However, I couldn't find my chair in the throngs of people. I knew if I could just find my chair, that gesture alone would be enough to ground me and keep me from running all the way to my car, trampling right on blankets, pushing babies out of the way, knocking joints out of people's hands, wrestling with dopey dogs, and colliding with bicyclists screaming my head off and crying my eyes out like a lunatic.  I just needed to find my chair, the last thing I wanted was to have a meltdown.

I saw a guy sitting on a chair that looked a lot like mine. I asked him if he brought that chair and he said yes. A stoned guy laying on a blanket told me that he had seen another guy just come and take a blue chair. I think I gulped with the loudest sound I've heard myself make without having actually swallowed something. I didn't want to panic, so I questioned the guy sitting in the blue chair once more. Basically, it turned out that he dropped his chair off early (like me) and when he came back he simply assumed the chair he was sitting in was his. After closer inspection we both concluded it was mine and the one that was taken was his. Whew, disaster averted. However, I ended up standing the whole time during her set anyway. I was going to stay and watch the blind couple from Mali, but after Neko Case the sun was setting and it got really cold. Barbara had found me right after I found my chair so we left together. We were done, we reached our limit.

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