Firefly wins

Last week, I blogged about how I was looking forward to a long weekend of music and camping with John at Firefly Music Festival. I’m only just now getting around to blogging about it because, quite honestly, last weekend required some post-event recovery, and not in the I-got-so-WASTED! kinda way. Understandably, you might be wondering what the above “photo” of nothingness means. If it’s not a symbol representing a rage-induced blackout, what is the significance? Well, it’s my way of saying those Firefly photos I promised last week no existen. But not for a lack of trying.

To backtrack a little bit, this was only one of several things that did not work out quite according to plan. As John and I made the short drive to Delaware, the overcast sky threatened to erupt at any moment, and we were definitely ill-prepared for a downpour. And in all my preparedness, we somehow forgot pillows, so we stopped at a K-Mart and bought a couple for five dollars apiece. We might not have had a tarp, but by God we would at least have head comfort.

What I hadn’t realized right up until we got to K-Mart was that the festival was approximately one mile away from the K-Mart. And McDonald’s, and ExxonMobil, and everything else on the strip. It made sense that we’d be in civilization considering we were situated next to Dover Downs International Speeday (Amurrica!), but the understanding that we’d be camping between all this and a highway IN the rain was a bit sobering. By the time we had snaked through to our camping site without ever being asked to show our camping information (we could’ve gotten away with doing this without paying $145?), John and I were rather worried our 12-pack of beer was not going to cut it.

But we tried to make the best of the situation and got a decent spot at the end of a long row of cars. We set up the tent which has come to feel like our little home, and then John went off to find our camping wristbands which we had apparently missed. Turns out we never even needed to show them to get into the campground, but John waited quite awhile for them while I set up everything else. He texted me: I’d like to think this is worth it. I responded: You might not think so when you get back. Because our air mattress wouldn’t inflate.

Deflated (ha), we plugged in the air compressor to see if we could get it to charge by the time we got back that night. We set out to meet up with our friends for the first night of music which we began with the Wallflowers, whom I love. Following them were OK Go, Walk the Moon, and Bassnectar. By then, we had picked up a much-needed boost of energy, and the anticipation for Jack White was palpable. Unfortunately, the entire opening song was spent with White passionately and wildly playing to an audience that couldn’t hear anything but a tambourine. While the sound guys figured out the problem, we stared blankly at Jack White flailing onstage. I imagined his inner dialogue: Why does my audience look confused? Nobody understands me. I am Jack White. But when the sound finally came roaring through the speakers, the crowd erupted into giddyness, and I for one was dancing like a crazy person.

Saturday, the festival was in full swing with one long day of music. We woke up to find our air mattress (which we did manage to inflate Friday night), back in its original state of flathood, and it was still drizzling lightly. I also spent a good deal of time searching the car for my phone, which was nowhere to be found. It didn’t make sense—I knew I’d had it the night before. In all honesty, I was more upset that I’d lost my chapstick, and I wondered if I subconsciously lost it just because it would mean I HAD to get a new phone. (John wondered if he subconsciously lost it for me just because he was sick of my three-year-running James Brown ringtone.)

We saw more great music that day, and I was determined to get some great shots of the festival with my manual. Speaking of James Brown, one guy named Charles Bradley (along with his Extraordinaires) put on a show that was just like him. He was anywhere between 60 and 70 and lookin’ good for his age. He was doing splits, screaming notes that would leave me voiceless, and kissing young girls at the end of the show as tears streamed down his face. What a badass.

Fitz & the Tantrums was another highlight. They took this photo from the stage:

We had another long night that ended with an energetic set from the Killers. By that point, my feet were blistered and achey all over. I didn’t really start to feel it, though, until Sunday morning. I was quite literally limping and couldn’t believe we had yet another full day to go. I took out my camera to rewind the film and noticed it had let me take an unusual number of pictures. Not a good sign. I opened up the back, and—moment of despair and humiliation—there had never been any film in it in the first place.

And the car battery died.

But I found my phone! In the cooler… which was full of nothing but water.

If I felt deflated before, I clearly should’ve saved some air for reserve. I had no intention of recreating Saturday’s memories (“Where were we standing yesterday when we took that group photo? OKAY, STAND RIGHT THERE AND LET’S DO THIS AGAIN.”) so I just limped along and tried to soak up one last full day of music. The Head and the Heart was awesome, and so were Cold War Kids and the Flaming Lips. The last band of the weekend, the Black Keys, were so face-meltingly rockin’ that I occasionally forgot that my feet were swollen beyond an abnormal amount.

But if it were a fight between me and Firefly, Firefly definitely won. I now know what it means to need a vacation from your vacation, and I am doing just that now. (Did you sense I was rushing?) It’s off to the beach. Like, right now. I plan on lying flat on my back for three days straight. And I promise to take pictures.

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  1. Holy shit. This just made me want to laugh, cry, and tear my hair out at the same time. What a story! I’m so sad you don’t have pictures of your horrendawesome experience, but honestly, that first “photo” more than makes up for it. At least the music was good…right? =]

    • Hahah the weekend had me feeling the same. I’m pretty sure I experienced every emotion there is that weekend. But YES! The music really was fantastic. So many great bands in one place, and for that, it was worth the hell (mostly). 🙂

  2. You know, that sound exactly like a “good”, memorable festival trip should. A somewhat of a wreck, with nothing to remember it by but the awesome gigs you saw and the blisters on your feet.

    Trust me, that is definitely a weekend you’ll remember years from now There’s a saying (at least there is in Finland) that goes something in the lines of; “memories grow sweeter with time.”

    Have fun lying on the beach. You’ve deserved it 🙂

    • That is a good saying to go by… and it’s absolutely true. Even in the midst of all that ridiculousness, I already kinda knew it was funny. In a sick sort of way. 🙂

  3. Jesus, what a mess. I admire your attitude Cassie because honestly I would have packed up my shit and left a long time–wait, the Black Keys played last? Never mind, then. I would’ve just probably moped most of the time until they came on. Just ignore me.

    • HAHA that’s what John was thinking about doing in the middle of the second night. I didn’t include this part of the story because I wasn’t awake for any of it (in fact, I believe I was snoring and/or drooling), but some guys kept him up all. night. long and he went through every possible homicide scenario before ultimately considering whether the Quality Inn down the road had any vacancies left. In retrospect, that wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

  4. Damn about your pictures! But at least you were there. I would love love love to see Jack White sometime. I love your description of how his first song went down.

    What a great line-up for the festival. Sounds like it was an adventure for sure … something you’ll always remember!


  5. I won’t lie. I laughed when you found your phone in the cooler. Of water. But an after-vacation? Hellzyeah! I hope you had a good recovery. 😉

  6. Love this! I laughed, in an I-totally-sympathize-with-you way, especially about the film camera with no film in it. I did that last month.

    Really…this blog entry is exactly what an outdoor music festival can be like. People who have nothing to report other than “It was GREAT!” were definitely drunk the whole time and don’t remember a thing.

    Welcome back!

    • Yep, and “it was great!” is waaay less of an interesting story. Positive spin!

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who does that with cameras. Seriously, I was contemplating giving up the hobby all together. My relationship with it has been one of extremes—both utter joy and despair. Eh, I’ll get over it.


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