Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Camp 2012


We arrived at in Chillicothe at 3:30, too late to catch Caravan of Thieves scheduled to play at the Campfire stage by the entrance of the dusty campgrounds. The check-in process was relatively painless, and by 4:00 Greg was dragging our wagon, bungie corded to overflowing, toward the main Shakedown drag. AfroZep, a Led Zeppelin cover band with a percussion army, played the Immigrant Song to welcome us to our new home.

The afternoon heat hadn’t been subdued by the overcast sky, and a strong wind was blowing the dust from the paths into our eyes. It was a powdery dust that would plague us for the next four days. I heaved my rucksack higher onto my shoulders and we set out to select our campsite.

I requested that we stay in the wooded area by the Camping stage, but Greg pleaded for us to keep moving toward higher ground, remembering how flooded it became in 2004 before we were evacuated due to a tornado warning.

We finally settled in front of the Soul Shine stage and set up our tent as the wind picked up and the sky turned darker to threaten a repeat, but my phone told me we were safe, so we trudged on. Chloe sat on tarps and flaps to keep them from blowing away, and soon our $60 tent was erected. Note to self - Investigate $100 tents next time.

By the time we’d tested out the facilities, bought snacks, and chugged Gatoraides while walking the length of the grounds – it was already after nine and the sun was starting to set. We caught the tail end of Trichrome at the wooded Camping stage and then trudged through the dust to the Star Shine stage at the far north end to check out Cornmeal. By eleven we were ready to call it a night.

Armed with a roll of toilet paper, I scrubbed the port-o-let seat for Chloe, not yet tall enough to execute the acrobatic feat of hovering over the stanky hole while keeping your shorts from touching the floor (note to self – buy one of those camping toilet tents for next time), and then we crawled into our tent to add the first layer of dust to our bedding.

Since our tent was just outside of the Soul Shine stage, we were treated to the Chicago Super Jam from 12-3am, hosted by Zmick & Old Shoe with special guest – Family Groove Company whose bassist, Janis Wallin, I met at a bass workshop on Sunday.

We woke early on Friday, and sought out the air-conditioned bathrooms on the opposite side of the grounds. They were gloriously clean and even flushed. Greg paid his $3.00 to shower (I opted to wait until Saturday to fight my dusty, tangled hair battle), and then we were off to Shakedown to see our breakfast options.

I dropped my phone off at the phone charger lady, and then we waited an abnormally long time for Chloe’s $8.00 pancakes. I wasn’t hungry, so I paid my $4.00 for the first of an insane number of iced teas and lemon shake-ups.

The first band of the day was moe.. We were early and sat in partial shade in front of the soundboard. When the Earth rotated to face the blistering, non-time sun, we bugged out and headed to the shaded back of the Moon Shine stage area located on the far South side of the campgrounds.

After settling in at the tree line, we were told that poison ivy had been spotted and to use some weed (don’t remember its name) if we broke out in a rash. We bugged out again started to walk back around the fence to the grass in front of the woods. Three people noticed our evacuation and jumped up to hold a breached section of the fence down for us to climb over, giggling with happiness that they could make our next five minutes more enjoyable. It was then that I remembered why I love these kind of festivals. The people are different, the mood is different, everyone is happy and helpful. When I grow up I want to live at a festival (Chloe doesn’t share that opinion).

More to follow…

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