There has to be said something about being dirty, being drunk, being sunburned, and being lost, all the while listening to RAD ASS MUSIC, which was my last weekend in a nutshell.
Up here in NorCal, we don’t have the massive festivals that other places are lucky enough to host. If we want madness, we have to kill someone for a ticket to Coachella or fly to Glastonbury, United Kingdom, which is just a (BIG ASS) pond away, no biggie.
But suddenly, someone with a brain (and dreams of $$$$$) thought up the idea of BottleRock, a music and wine festival in Napa county, which has 4 days of local foodie favorites, award winning wines, beer, beer, beer…oh yeah, and music that can CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
I’ve never been afraid of being dirty, nope, not at all. But crowds….yah, not my thing. And with 50,000 of my closest friends all closed together in one area, I was nervous. But could I really, REALLY miss hearing the likes of:
The Black Keys
Kings of Leon
The Avett Brothers
Zac Brown Band
The Flaming Lips
EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS
And many, many more…
So I rallied. I paid a SHIT ton for tickets for two days. Picked out the most hipster, festival going outfits I could from my professional closet of doom. Drove to Sonoma, dropped off a car, drove to Napa, and dropped that car in an enormous lot with no location bearing signs. Took a chartered bus two miles to the show, and walked in on Friday with thousands of folks ready to fight, flight, or funky chicken.
Once your water and beer are purchased, fight your way onto the mega field, lay the camping blanket out on the dirt floor, (near the sound booth as your location of reference), remove shoes, and chug – you then start texting the MILLIONS of friends you know will be coming. And shockingly enough, you CAN’T BELIEVE you don’t have service way out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by too many people you can’t actually contact.
So you chill, the best you can in the BAKING CALIFORNIA SUNSHINE. And then you dance. To one random song or to a band’s entire set, up to you. Shoes off, beer in hand, head to the sky screaming the lyrics to your new favorite song, enraptured beyond belief that you and the Shakes are together in one place…so close to each other…so close.
And as the sky darkens, and the audience lights up, the screaming gets more frenzied, mingling with the light headed effects from your horrendous sunburn, suddenly you don’t notice all the people. You don’t have the sensation that you are at a show in downtown Napa, just being an average schmo. You finally get it, you finally understand that you are WITH THE BAND. IN then band, even. And your contribution to the chorus of that song they’re singing up on the stage is the one YOU WROTE, YOU PLAYED, and YOU MADE FAMOUS. It’s all about you.
What a feeling.
For two days, I lived the dream, wore the fringe leather jacket, slept with groupies, and teased my hair to another stratosphere. Then I went home on Saturday night and slept like the rock star I’ll never be, and awoke Sunday as just another festival casualty, burned bruised, but not broken.
Yahhhh, not broken. And in that vibe, I say: Bring on the next year, I’m already ready all ready.