My sister and I woke up refreshed and ready for the big day ahead on Friday morning. We knew we would need food at some point before the festival gates opened at 2pm, so we fabulized ourselves and headed downtown to “the strip” to find some grub. My fabulization looks like this:
It must be a bit too much for the southern folks, because while we were enjoying a fried bologna sandwich (yep) at a local bar, the owner came up to us and asked if we were musicians. We said we were not and he seemed unconvinced. He then offered to take care of our tab. Kicking myself for ordering a PBR, now. Once the meal was done, we had to wander toward the bathroom to freshen up. We opened the door and found the strange man in the women’s bathroom, taking pictures. Of stalls. Not vaginas. I was initially shocked but then just sort of went with it. He did own the place, after all. We chatted for a minute about his ongoing lawsuit (about a lack of handicap access, not for taking pictures in the bathroom) and then he left so we could pee. Nice dude. Looked a bit like Elvis. Only not.
After bathroom Elvis and the fried bologna, it was time to make our way to the festival. We were hell-bent on getting “front row” and didn’t want to wait too long after the gates opened to go in. The line was surprisingly short and we were traipsing toward the stage in no time. We wasted no time in forming “gate alliances” for the requisite bathroom/drink breaks and our impending meet and greets. Two of the ladies were from Kalamazoo and the other two guys were henceforth known as “The Tylers”. Tyler 1 (the hot one) and Tyler 2 (with a great personality).
The smugness of our front row real estate wore off quickly once we realized that we couldn’t see anything over the top of the stage. Oops. We decided to hope for the best and stand our (southern) ground. While we waited for the show to start, we struck up a conversation with the Tylers and learned that they were from Atlanta and both came from family money. We used the rest of the night to glare at them every time they sang along to “poor people lyrics” (…”no we don’t have a lot of money…”, etc). We were amused, and I think they were just grateful someone their age (sort of their age) was talking to them.
When 5pm rolled around we headed over to the AMC tent to flash our badges and feel special for a while. We then realized that we’d get to meet the star of the show, “Hell on Wheels” (which neither of us had ever heard of) when he wandered in with security and a cameraman. When we first walked in, we looked around at the full tables and felt a bit like the losers in the high school cafeteria. After realizing that there was no room for us at any of the tables, we got resourceful with some new equally outcast friends and made a makeshift table out of a long piece of wood and a couple of barrels. You know, things you’d expect to see just lying around a VIP tent. It worked and we jumped into line for the delicious southern BBQ dinner.
We had barely finished shoving pulled pork into our mouths when a line started to form for the Anson Mount meet & greet. Sidling up to the end of the line I stared at Anson’s tiny rear end and giggled to myself about his hotness. I am an adult, after all. Poised and elegant. When it was finally our turn I had the usual moment of panic when I realize I had nothing witty or fun to say. Instead, I stuck out my hand and introduced myself which elicited an ear to ear grin from Anson and sparked some recognition. Was he? He was. He was “love interest” from the 90s Britney Spears movie: Crossroads. All of this realization came washing over me as I slowly walked away from his tush, stunned. CROSSROADS with BRITNEY SPEARS! I shared this newfound information with the other 20-something women in the tent and we all giggled and stared like the professional adults we are. I wanted to (needed to) talk to him about the movie. But I didn’t. I’m a chicken. Instead I sang “I’m not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” quietly every time he walked near me.
Almost immediately after meeting Anson we were corralled into yet another line to meet Zac Brown Band. This meeting wasn’t quite as exciting as we were literally shoved into the giant band of tiny men, struggled to smile while shaking Zac’s hand and shoved back out again in a matter of seconds. I never even got to touch (or smell) the famous beanie. I bet it smells like pot. And BBQ sauce.
Finally it was time to head back to the crowd and enjoy the show. I had missed Michael Franti and Spearhead while enjoying my dinner and got back to the crowd just in time to catch the end of Amos Lee and his band. Of course, at the time I had no idea who Amos Lee was and sort of wanted him to hurry up so ZBB could hit the stage. My sister waltzed back into her previously claimed spot and was halted by a middle-aged woman with a mom haircut. This lady said, not to my sister, but rather to the uninterested crowd, “Ok. Stand right in front of me. I can see GREAT now.” Which was just stupid because the stage was at least a foot taller than any of our heads. This lady was drunk and mad about being old and having a stupid haircut. I asked her if she had an issue and she started in on me. I chose to stand directly behind her and breathe down her neck rather than take my rightful place in front of her. She seemed to get my intent since she took off after shouting more hateful things to my sister. I was about to fight someone my mother’s age. It would not have been pretty. I was wearing a dress.The rest of the evening was spent enjoying Zac Brown Band and their myriad guests (John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Greg Allmen and Alan Jackson, to name a few) and trying to stay motivated to go out after the festival. We succeeded, but more on that in the next installment.