Gathering of the Vibes, Saturday Night Report, August 11, 2007
Just got back from spending most of the day at GOTV, and am listening to the end of the Ratdog show live on blessed WPKN 89.5 as I write. WPKN even had the show online at WPKN.org. All of the musical artists today agreed to let their live show's be on air. There was some question earlier about Ratdog and Les Claypool releasing rights to broadcast, but they did. The show at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT seemed to be filled to capacity. Still, it is wonderful that the producers of this show allow people in their area that could be potential concert-goers, to listen from home. A rare treat.
My friend Brian said tonight "sometimes Ratdog is great, and sometimes they're not so great." Which I knew. But tonight they are putting on a great show, as they did last year as Saturday's headline act at the Vibes. Very tight, varied material. "Come Together" cover. Now they are pulling an epic jam on St. Stephen.
For once it's not raining during Ratdog's show, which it did the last 2 years. In fact weather today was perfect with blue cloudless skies and a little offshore breeze. Tonight is even more perfect, with temps in the mid-60s and zero sunburn index.
There were plenty of guests sitting in today. Donna Jean was onstage with Ratdog. Bob Weir played with Keller Williams. Last night Jen Durkin played with Mickey Hart. It's the kind of musical mix-up that we hope for at the Vibes.
Les Claypool's set, once it got cooking, caused handsome men everywhere to spontaneously do a prancing jive dance all through the audience. It was particularly fetching when done while walking. Never saw so many guys dancing before. Funk music has been the undercurrent this year, and has popped up all over the place in different artists' sets over the last 2 days.
Ryan Montbleau Band had the opening spot at 11:00 a.m., which includes the thankless job of reviving a partied-out crowd, with music. Their gentle amusing music did the trick.
Sixteen non-profit organizations are given space and ink at Gathering of the Vibes to spread their worthy words and examples.This year groups on the forefront of developing clean energy techniques were featured. You could get your cellphone, Ipod, camera, or laptop juiced up for free, compliments of The Sun, at the Solar Bus (Solarbus.org). You could have a Solar Smoothie, where the blender worked by solar panels. CommunityEnergy.biz will donate enough wind energy credits to offset 100% of the electricity used for this year's event.
I was just ruminating today again on how well organized and run the Gathering of the Vibes Festivals are. Even the website and free hand-out programs are well written and designed, and a pleasure to use. And I was thinking how I've never seen any kind of "trouble" in the mellow crowd in my 3 yearly visits. Police patrolled the crowd on horseback, Segue, and auto.
I'm sorry to report that today was different and there was a confrontation with police. A trustworthy friend reported that he saw 3 or 4 concertgoers on the ground with handcuffs on, and police around. There was almost a bigger problem when police asked the crowd to move back, and the crowd belligerantly refused. (Later we heard that the arrest was a rowdy concert-goer who was hitting others in the face.)
Sorry to see this and hope we don't see it again. The crowd did seem to be a different mix than the last 2 years. Less old hippie-types, more young urban types, and plenty of Jersey in the house. Lots of full-time tour followers too it seemed. The easy-access location right off the Northeast's main traffic artery of I-95 made the festival more accessible to a wider geographic area.
Fashion at the Vibes
Tie dye is fading out this season. Madras and plaid shorts are making a strong showing especially for men and boys. And shorts and pants for guys with big multic-colored patchwork squares too, from Guatamala I think, are gaining fashion traction.
Camo is still happening but this will probably be the last season, unless some new camo colors arrive on the scene to freshen the look. Cargo pants for men and women are just too comfortable and practical to go out of style at music festivals, or anywhere you need a safe place for car keys, camera, phone, money, etc.
Strapless dresses are looking good on some women. There were surprisingly few new looks in head wear, just the same old baseball caps and straw hats. Afros are back in a small way, but this time on Caucasian men.The once ubiquitous bandana is slowing in popularity, but again, it's a useful item, and I think it won't vanish.
Transportation this year was easy if you had a wheeled device, unlike on the grassy rolling fields of Indian Lookout Country Club.The Seaside Park venue comprises an amazing 370 acres along the waterfront. Skateboards, long and short, were a handy form of transport along the 2 mile long seaside promenade, and there is a full-featured skate park by the beach too. Scooters, bikes, and a neat small electric trike all got people around in style. The people running the show raced around in their golf carts.
There were even Festival Cab golf carts with room for 6 passengers. Weary walkers could hop on and pay $1 to get where they're going. Just another example of the fact that the Vibe people are really good at running their show. This is the 12th year and they work at making it better and better. Props to Ken Hays, Jonathan Lobdell, and all their peeps for doing a great job again!
Beer and cigarettes are ubiquitous accessories at this show. Sometimes Ii's hard to get a breath of fresh air, even at the seaside. Non-smokers must jockey for spots where smoke is not shotgunning into our nostrils. A cigarette company was a sponsor this year. But only gave free packs of cigs to people who said they are already smokers. At least that was something. The show is so accessible that takeout pizza was seen. Certainly never in Mariaville.
Someone in the crowd flew a radio-controlled Frisbee or something like that after dark. It spun, with colored lights all around and looked like a real UFO. He was able to make it swoop below the big screen, and then hover right over our heads. It was the coolest thing ever. I must get one.
Hey, tomorrow night is the Perseid Meteor Showers, with up to 60 streaking shooting stars per hour. Hope for clear skies. The dark of the moon will help visibility.
Los Lobos' show ends at 8 p.m. tomorrow, and we know that the shows at Gathering of the Vibes run like clockwork. So you should be home, or well on the way in time to see the meteor shower.
Trying to decide whether to take your kids to a music festival?
Or "what to wear and bring?"
Or "am I too old to go to a music festival?"
Or "what will I eat if I don't eat wheat? Or don't feel like bringing a cooler with ice.?"
Or "what should I wear on my feet?
Or "how to stay dry in the pouring rain?"
Or "what if I don't feel like bringing food, or chairs? "What if I need shade?"
Or "how to have enough energy for dancing from midnight to 4 a.m.?
Or "what festival goers should carry at all times."
Or "what you must NEVER do at a music festival. If you do, you're day will surely be ruined.
Watch for the Festival Goers Guide that will answer these and other earth-shaking questions, and make your life perfect in every way.