“You would have loved it.”
Well, that pretty much sums it up. Is it salt on the wound? Of course. But that’s ok. The festival that never was, is meant to be mourned and thought of; not shrugged off and forgotten. But what is “it”? Was Pollock talking about his prints? Was he talking about that first guitar lick, drum beat, bass slap, or note on the keyboard to send a message through your body saying, “you made it & we’re glad that you’re here”? Perhaps he was talking about the sculptures, like the sphere named “Big Silver” that was sure to hold a not-so-secret end to an amazing weekend. Let’s not forget the community. I’m sure he was talking about that too.
If it’s not clear, we aren’t talking about a stage in a field with some fencing. We’re talking about a small city of the tightest community, erected to amuse the senses. To create memories that would be shared for years to come. The perfect home away from home with the perfectly un-perfect, phamily.
I think about the noise we would have heard sitting in the 120 person Farmhaus. Laughing, eating, sharing stories about yesterday's set, or about that dude at the ditch party last night, or about the life changing moment you sat under Big Silver itself. A loud noise so powerful you can’t help but to smile and add to the chaos. But don’t forget to look around and take in the sights of the structure created for your enjoyment.
For a high energy lad like myself, I'm thinking about running around exploring the sculptures, feeling them and really taking them in. I know my partner in crime would have picked her favorite and set up the “relaxation station” to “reflect on the world around you,” as they intended you to. Beyond the sculptures we can drool over the billboards and prints completed in full. The band’s trusted and loved artists portraying their best interpretation of the weekend in whole. And as I’m writing this, I’m hoping we still get the opportunity to see that interpretation through the prints that never showed. Perhaps the artists had more insight on what was to come over the weekend and we can experience it through their eyes within their work.
I had my baseball cap on and my outfield glove ready. No, I didn’t make the team. But catching a wiffle ball in the stands after a crowd pleasing home run would have been a story to tell. That pride stands hand in hand with walking away with bragging rights from the game shows with a phriendly twist. I can’t help but to think of the laughter mixed with seriousness at just the right level to cause you to fall into this new reality. At this moment, this is all that matters. Yes, you’re in a popup city playing a game show that isn’t being filmed while the hot sun beats down and the party from last night slowly trickles off of you leaving behind a memorable tune coming from a stage on the verge of blasting off. But your only concern right now is the next question.
I was sipping coffee at home Saturday, thinking of how I would have enjoyed the coffee if I was there. Sitting in the camp conversing about yesterday and today. Walking in silence and taking in the morning of camp noises. Perhaps finding shade from the morning sun by sitting under a raincloud constructed so well it impressed Mike Gordon himself. It almost brings excitement back to me to think of it.
Something I’m not doing well is thinking about the reason we’ve all arrived. The show itself. When the games end, the food has been eaten, the farmer’s market is closed, the sculptures stand alone, the campgrounds begin to migrate. In the masses we would’ve moved to the stage that holds four men in charge of taking us to yet another reality. And though we didn’t see it come true, no one walked away this weekend doubting their ability. Don’t believe me? Tune in to Dicks to understand for yourself.
It had been an hour of hanging out on the campgrounds after setup when we heard the news. The feeling was the same feeling I got when I was moving apartments and went to carelessly pop something in my car just to accidentally smash the back window into a million pieces. Step 1: Stare with no thought, frozen. Step 2: Wonder for a few seconds if this is reality or if I’m waiting for a delayed punchline to a joke. Step 3: Fuck…. Keep standing still. I had thought, are we lucky to have gotten the chance to show up? Are we lucky to have had the opportunity to see the festival that never was, in person, but painfully from afar behind closed gates. Would we have been luckier to have gotten the news before setting up camp? An hour from home? How about our neighbors; would they have been happier to have gotten the news before their flight from Colorado? I do not know. All I do know is that wherever you were, you made the best of it. That’s the best we can do until we finally hear that first note play. Dicks, Albany, or from the couch—it will add some closure. I’m sure of it.