Cast of Characters:
Bill and Laura - Shipping Dude and Queen Bee
Mike -Roadie Extraordinaire
Our Home Away From Home
Today was day one of our adventure. Really the adventure
started several days ago with the organizing and packing. But today we actually
packed the RV and the van with food, art and lot's of beer and wine. We were
supposed to leave at 8 AM - but as was expected we left 2 ½ hours late. My deal
was that Bill and Mike were driving however the boys ended up in the RV and I
drove the van. Thank god Mike installed his XM radio in the van - I spent the
day listening to details about Michael Jackson's untimely and mysterious death.
It did bring back memories of John's untimely passing 7 years ago and strangely
almost to the day - as many of you know Bill and I were in Vegas with John and
spent the evening with him. Just as with John - everyone said that MJ looked
skinny but fine. We thought the same thing about John. But I digress.
Driving across the country is something I haven't done in
awhile. I saw many different and totally bizarre things. The "Abandoned"
missile silos on Highway 14 have modern satellite dishes attached to the
fencing - WHY? I hear that NORAD has relocated to Hwy. 14. Then there was the ranch with the
decorated the fence posts with bleached cow skulls .... Hmmm ... I ask why again.
Or the barn that had a roof that looked like covered wagon. The joys of Americana. (I must mention
the bridge in Nebraska
that had giant silver birds on each end ... hmm)
What a paradox - traveling through the back roads of America while
listening to a modern technological wonder - XM Radio. If it had been 15 years
ago I would have only had a cassette player or AM/FM radio. But we get to
experience it all.
Really a boring day and I can not believe how tired I am
from driving ten hours yesterday. Bill (shipping dude) did take over in Davenport and Mike
continues to drive the big rig!
The thought that this is just a journey to the event is
weird. This is a trip to a journey! There are three of us
now tomorrow there will be five - we will be fine BUT it will be a situation of
many people tripping over each other. Stay tuned for this continuing story.
A View From Our RV - Day 1 at Rothbury
Cast of Characters has increased - add Anne (our super art
consultant) and her husband Brian. The group is now complete.
Bill and Laura - Veteran art gallery owners.
Mike Wyatt - Roadie extraordinaire
Anne and Brian - Festivelians
We made it - a few bumps along the way - they wrong
credentials, no electricity for our booth and so on - but a few glasses of
wine, good dinner (thanks Mike!) and we are on our way. The real work and fun
begins tomorrow. The area is really beautiful - trees, cows, grassy fields and
mud - they promise sunny skies starting tomorrow - thank god I bought rain
boots at Jax. We do not have flush toilets and I have not found the showers -
but I will go with the flow. It is really cold tonight. Bill and I didn't pack
for cold and humid. We are parked right behind the main stage area in guest
camping. So we are "Lucky" most are camping on the property but a few miles
from the action. We can see the Sherwood Forrest from our RV - can't wait to
check it out. I am really stepping out of my comfort zone - but so far so good!
More tomorrow - enjoy the pics!
Our Neighbors in the Guest Camping and
the Main Stage on Day 1
Today we spent the day setting up the tent ....normal business
stuff ...we are really roughing it though ... there are no showers and we are
really learning to conserve the RV water. The festival grounds are incredible -
there is a section called the Sherwood Forest
that really comes alive at night - check out the pictures - words can not
describe this event. Plus check out the String Cheese sound check right in
front of our booth.
This series of photos shows String Cheese's sound check - first there were only Anne and Brian watching and then ...
Just Anne and Brian ...
The people start coming ...
Then there are hundreds ...
The news of the open sound check spread like fire throughout the festival!
The music on the main stage started today (Friday)
everything from Marley and NAS to String Cheese - so you can imagine the
diversity of the crowd and as it got later into the night the varying states of
dress and consciousness the people were in. Cheese was great and they added a
percussionist since I saw them last - really rounded out the sound - and I was
amazed they started to play a Michael Jackson tune.
Our booth was located right next to the main stage - we had a primo spot!
Was definitely not the art buying crowd once the sun went
down. It is only about the music. Festivals are so different than the crowds at
the Dead at Red Rocks in 2003 and 2004. There is a sub-culture of festival
people with their hula hoops and costumes. I was pretty proficient with the
hula hoop as a kid - but these people have elevated it to a dance form. The
seamier side of this experience is the overuse of lot's of strange drugs that
make the festival goers lose their sense of boundaries or "Filters" - this
would be a great place to gather data for your thesis if you were studying
Tomorrow will be the special VIP party with BK. And we are
getting a shower today! The simple pleasures are great....
The night sky at Rothbury was incredible and there were about 35,000 people in front of our booth!
The afternoon of July 4th we hosted a private reception for
all the VIP guests and Bill Kreutzmann in the VIP area by the main stage. The
VIP coordinator and everyone involved were so accommodating - the party went
off perfectly. We picked up Bill at his tour bus (much larger than my RV)
behind the stage and took him to the party .... As always he asked if anyone was
there. Sometimes I think he still gets nervous before these events. There were
about 50 people waiting to meet Bill - some collectors and the VIP's. The VIP's
were people who paid quite a bit to have deluxe accommodations -
air-conditioned showers, flush toilets and tents with beds! Everyone loved
meeting Bill and sharing their stories with him about the years of going to the
Dead Shows. And their response to Bill's
art was amazing. Needless to say we sold quite a bit of art and got Bill back
to his bus before the Dead went on stage. What I love to watch are the people
who meet Bill for the first time and how captivated they are with Bill. He
really relates to each person and takes time to speak to everyone.
Some of the VIP's attending Bill's Reception
The VIP Tent by the main stage - WOW.
One of the cool things about Bill coming to the event is
that he inspires the collectors and they purchase. Bill Eveleligh, Anne and I can talk
all day long about the art, the process and the inspiration BUT when Bill
explains it people relate and they collect. So the 4th was a good day for
Laura and Billy After the VIP Event
(In Our Festival Attire)
The Crowd Outside our Booth:
Day or Night there were thousands of people!
After the VIP party the crowds started to gather for the
Dead. Once again we saw some pretty out of control people and I felt like I was
spending more time searching for medics instead of selling art. The concert was
spot on. Even though they had not played together over the last 5 weeks the
show was flawless. And the light show was something Bill Graham did not
experience in all the years he was hosting the concerts at the Fillmore and
including the groundbreaking "Liquid Light Shows".
The Dead played "Fire on the Mountain"
Ok - the build up was for the Dead Show and the BK VIP show
... but we still have one more day - Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. I have never
seen Willie Nelson - but like his music - Dylan - who doesn't love him BUT he
is very inconsistent - but let's talk about the after party on the 4th.
When we are on the road
it is not all about the party - It takes us about an hour to set up each
day and an hour to tear down - SO - when you guys go off to your tents or the
Sherwood Forrest we are breaking down ... I am not complaining - we experienced
the Forrest that night and WOW! I thought that if I was doing a hallucinogen it
would have been unbelievable - it was still totally cool for someone
"Straight". And I was tired and "Straight" - but I was impressed. Each nook and
cranny had some creative art installation and theme. And there were thousands of
people wandering thru the forest experiencing the same thing I was. At one
point we were asked if we could step aside for a wedding!
The night goes on and on - just trust me - it was beyond
Yesterday (Sunday) was our last day. Dylan, Willie Nelson -
all the music - was great and there was a definite shift in the crowd's
behavior and attitude. Those that were here were either exhausted or real music
lovers (not just here for the festival experience) I know we were really tired
and we had to look forward to Monday morning breaking down and beginning our
journey back to Colorado.
Some of the Characters we met along the way ....
Some were normal and some were ...
Some were old friends and some were new ...
When we arrived on Wednesday the main stage area was a field
of green grass and this magnificent stage being erected. To look at the main
stage area today is incredible. Today the field is dirt and trash bags are
piled high. After about 3 hours we have our art packed and the van and RV ready
to move. We have tried to maintain the standard of total recycling throughout
our stay. We are leaving very little behind. And what we have left is either
headed for the compost pile or recycled. It is eerie to look at the empty
stages and fields where 35,000 people were hanging 12 hours before. Even the Sherwood Forest looks tired and vacant.
Everyone was gone and Rothbury Year 2 was over ...
The grass was gone and the trash was piled high ...
Well we are packed and ready to leave - we have 24 hours of
driving ahead of us. We are really happy we came to the festival, we loved the
people we met, the music we heard and the sites we saw were magical. Will you
see us next year? I think so......