I’ve never been so dirty in my life. By day 2, there were discernable grim lines from my sandal straps on each of my feet. Our “camp ground” was more like a field serving as a parking lot. Once we pulled into the spot, there was no way to get out until the feastival was over. We pitched our two modest-sized tents and headed out for days, nights, late nights, and later nights of music.
The line-up was my dream come true: Death Cab followed by Ben Folds. The Avett Brothers playing a late-night set under a small tent. Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah, The Magic Numbers, My Morning Jacket… Bright Eyes playing on Which Stages bringing Gillian Welch on stage for a few duets. Tom Petty rocked This Stage. Beck playing This Stage as a headliner on the second night and Elvis Costello playing it the next night.
The music seemed to have an effect on everyone there – all 80,000 of them. Everyone was very kind and generous. We were offered every drug I’d ever heard of and a few I had not, and we politely responded “No, thank you.” We were also offered multiple religions and varieties of spiritualties to which we also said, “No, thank you.”
It wasn’t until after we were on our way home, back to North Carolina, that something struck me as odd. As a slightly paranoid person, I tend to worry about most things, but during the festival, I never once thought – much less worried – about anyone going inside our tents. Each day, we left everything – clothes, toiletries, electronics, prescriptions – unguarded and unlocked without returning until well after nightfall. We never entertained the idea that any of it would be unsafe. And it was safe. Our parking lot neighbors were friendly but generally stayed to themselves and the music, just as we did.
This shouldn’t be a surprise or unusual, but I am not sure where else it would happen.