• Pop Vicious

The Festival Grinch

written by: on October 3, 2011

Ah, weekends. The brief reprise from the hem and haw of another week, and the idea of relaxing is the only thing that pulls me through the hellhole that is my daily routine; that, and sickening amounts of caffeine. With the end in sight the sole thought on my mind is how to spend approximately 60 hours of freedom.

I can finally call friends that I lost somewhere under the mountain of work burying me. Maybe we could grab drinks and then go downtown. I’ll dance the pain away. On Saturday, I can get brunch and bake by the pool.

Then Sunday. Oh, Sunday, the slowest and laziest day of them all. Maybe I’ll lay in bed until noon, then spend the day being wholly content as a completely unproductive member of society. Yes, weekend—you are mine.

On the Friday, I nearly sprinted out from under fluorescent lights and into the sun’s rays, jumped in the car, turned up the radio and prepared to ride off into the endless possibilities of a few days off.

The terrible cell phone service should have tipped me off as I tried to assemble my friends.

“What?” I shouted repeatedly into the phone, hearing nothing on the other end but broken phrases.

I finally resigned to get dinner and organize later. I ran through the choices along my favorite strip, but as I approached it I was met with an unusual amount of traffic. Shrugging it off as Friday evening rush, I settled on a food trailer.

But why was it taking 30 minutes to get my order at my go-to taco stand? This place isn’t even that good.

As I examined the line behind me patterns emerge. There were uncommon amounts of Chuck Taylor-clad feet shuffling through the dirt. There were carefully disheveled hair-dos everywhere. And everyone was dressed in as little clothing as possible, blurring the lines between beachwear and street clothes.

With every pair of wayfarers I counted a terrible realization washed over me—a music festival.

DAMN IT. I could feel my weekend falling apart at the seams. Nothing shuts down a city like a festival, especially when it’s based at the epicenter of your weekend aspirations.

All of my favorite bars would host some sort of after show, which will most certainly NOT be free. Anything remotely “cool” would be overrun with ticket holders trying to hang with the locals. Even my favorite running trail snakes directly through the middle of the festival site. So, unless I wanted to slum around the suburbs or hang out at Chile’s, I’m shit out of luck.

Suddenly sapped of my end-of-week enthusiasm, I head to my apartment with my tacos (taken to go) and a bottle of gas station wine. Upon further research, it appears that literally everyone I know had three-day passes. Great. Oh, well. I’ll watch a movie here and wait for everyone to finish up with the music so we can all go downtown.

Then, 10:30 approached, fading in to 11, then 11:30 p.m Frantic, straight-to-voicemail calls told me that my friends’ phones are dead and they have forgotten about me. I drained the last of the candied chardonnay and curl up in a ball on the couch until …


Oh, Christ. You’ve got to be kidding me. I opened the door to my hopeful hometown friends with pillows under their arms, and begrudgingly relinquished my spot on the couch, trying my best to be hospitable. As lay in my bed trying not to think of the dirt that is surely covering my living room floor, the thought occurs that maybe my guests will at least oblige to join in on my planned brunch tomorrow. I fell asleep with thoughts of quiche and bloody marys dancing in my head.

Again my hopes and dreams were slashed. They were up and out the door, with the remainder of beer in my fridge no less, before I pulled myself out of a sugary hangover.

This is the annual plight of locals during festival weekends. We watch you come in and trash our city, reaping the benefits of merriment, then slip out at the end like a cheap date until you swing back through next year. You clog the streets, you take peace sign pictures in front of monuments and you don’t know any of the one-way streets. I can sense your foreign curiosity for all of the things we see on a daily basis even as we zoom by on road bikes. I know your type, and I don’t like you.

At the same time, I don’t blame you. There’s a reason I love this place so much, and there is a reason for you to love it too. Maybe this is the best kind of reminder of my city’s uniqueness, and why it is chosen to host giant festivals. Maybe music really is the great communicator, and the point is to draw people from all over to experience their favorite bands in a completely new way.

Day three curled in the fetal position and drained of any energy after my active disdain for weekend shenanigans.

A few dollars poorer thanks to the inflated drink prices all weekend. A little socially awkward thanks to a weekend spent alone watching cable. Reflecting on my state, I suddenly remembered the palpable energy that washes over a crowd at the first power chord and how tasty over-priced beers can be when you’ve been sitting in the sun. I remember drunkenly crowd surfing and being dropped head first on what I was sure was much, much softer ground.

And the festival Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day. Well, shit. Maybe I can still make Arcade Fire.