Fifth Annual 'All Fall Down' Festival!
When: August 27th & 28th, 2004 - gates open @ 11:30 am
Where: Fran Bar Park - Columbus, Ohio
Featuring live musical performances by:
- Left of Center
- Bum Wealthy
- Loopcity Transit Conspiracy
- New Basics Brass Band
- Smoked Turkey
- Vu Jade
- The Sens
Plus more! Including...camping
, side stage performances
, pool table
, ping pong
, drum circle
Log on to www.allfalldown.net for more information!
--taken from the back of a flier
It was my older brother's band
s first time playing at a festival. Something they've been wanting to do for a long time. After being booked in the show, they were asked
to sell 20 tickets. I'm not sure what would have happened had they not. Thankfully, they never needed to ask. That's one thing about LTC
that you have to love, they've got alot of friends
and support, and they are so willing to share anything they have with you. It's like one big family.
Most of our group arrived at around 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, with a few stragglers and out of towners that showed up as late as 8 or 9. I was pretty suprised to see it when we got there. It seemed alot more organized than I had originally anticipated. There were a whole slew of vendors and trinketeers to make our consuming selves feel comfortablly at home. There weren't many people there, but we were early, so the crowds still had alot of time to show up.
My role in our campsite quickly became man of the fire, since I was going to be the only one living off hotdogs for the next few days. No one seemed to have much energy or will to do anything, anyway. After gathering some firewood from the near by woods, it was time to build the fire. I went with the old log cabin technique. Never fails! A few big logs stacked like a log cabin with a little cardboard from the trash in the middle and some dry twigs on top to burn until the big stuff burns.
After the fire was going pretty good, it was time to find a hotdog stick. My first attempt was a single-pronger. I spent over an hour carving it to perfection making finger grips and everything, but all I really did was over-carve. After successfully cooking 2 hotdogs, it snapped. I tried to shove the handle into the ground for ease of relocation, but it was more than it could stand. My second attempt was far more practical and a far greater success. A thick two-pronger that could take a bit of a pounding. It cooked a great many dogs before it met it's inevitable demise. It's a wood stake that gets thrusted into a campfire for extended peroids of time. It can't last forever!
After my fill and then some, I and my two cameras (one with color film and one with black & white) went off to discover what this fest truely had to offer.
The pond was my first stop, as it should be. It was fish
able and swim
able, though I wouldn't recommend either of the two... especially at the same time. The pond couldn't have been bigger than half a football field and equally as symmetrical
if it weren't for the creek leading off the eastern corner. It had rickety old lifeguard
chair and a floating dock
near the center, like a scene from a horror movie
. A line of trees surrounded over half the pond. The remaining area was host to the game room, a pavilion, and a few playground items. Don't let me fool you into thinking that there was a real playground. There were a few slide
s and swing
s scattered in the most random places and this giant cone shaped merry go round
next to the water. It stood a good 9 to 10 feet tall, and every time you spun it around the whole thing shook and groaned rather violently. I was actually questioning my safety soon after I hopped on. It seemed to be hinting to me that it was about to reach escape velocity
with the noises that screamed out of it, but that didn't stop me from having more than my share of fun with it. It was too rare of a find to pass up.
The game room reminded me of something I'd seen on a summercamp movie as a child (strange, 2nd movie memory reference!?). The ping-pong table was just a piece of plywood painted white with a net in the middle. That's all you really need, I guess, but it was a bit warped and not very appealing. The foosball table was in pretty bad shape too, but at least neither side had a true advantage. There was one broken piece for both sides, and the drop in didn't seem to be very bias, a rarity that I didn't expect to find on such a beat up table. It was a classic foosball table. It had the slanted corners, and the goalie row only had one guy. A perfect combination that more than made up for it's flaws. The pool table was the most difficult to use. The cue sticks didn't even have an end to them, let alone chalk to apply. It was still playable, but it took alot of work.
The main stage was interesting, to say the least. It consisted of a semi trailor with one side removed, and a few pieces of wood to the left and right of center stage to simulate a "backstage" area. It was rather well decorated for a semi trailor. They had a few "All Fall Down" banners hanging up that looked actually pretty good, and a couple plants and candles here and there. There was also a small flat bed trailor near our campsite that they called the second stage, but it was hardly a stage. More like a broken trailor that someone couldn't get moved and just started mowing around. Now to see what kind of music we were getting into.
Friday was host to some fantastic music. Sense, Rootbound and LTC all rocked the house. LTC Played the 8:30 - 10:30 slot, prime time! Shitty thing is no one had really showed up yet. There was probably 40 or so people in the audience, which is more than nothing, but not nearly the 500 that were expected. No one seemed to mind, though. The lighting on stage was still not yet perfected, and the only one lit on stage was the lead guitarist, and he was pretty fucked up looking. Half way through LTC's set, someone in checkered red and green pants being held up by bungie chords with no shirt on walked up to the stage and placed a small pocket light on the stage and angled it another band member's face just to balance it all a little better. It was a nice gesture. After they introduced their ex-basist up to stage to play a few old songs, I grabbed a djembe and hopped on stage with them and just started drumming away. I wasn't invited up or anything, but I knew no one would mind. After about 45 or so minutes of drumming, the pain in my hands pulled me out of my own little world and back into this one. I opened my eyes and noticed that 8 or 9 other people had gotten on stage from other bands and were playing various percussive and/or melodic instruments. It was so much fun, exactly what music should be. Everyone was having such a good time, and they were doing it together!
After LTC's set, I headed back to the campsite. It was obvious that most of our campsite, myself included, may have over done it with the mind altering substances. At one point, someone I didn't even know showed up all fucked up...
"You guys wanna see something sick?"
I was rather hesitant, though my morbid curiosity was definitely screaming to know. Just then, someone else showed up.
"Hey, you wanna see something fucked up?"
he asked to the newcomer.
"Sure, bring it on"
He stuck his finger down his throat, but he didn't really puke that much. He just let out one of the most guttural bellow
s I'd heard in my 25 years. It echoed through the whole place, leaving an almost uncomfortable calm in its wake which I took as my cue to leave.
I spent the rest of Friday night in quiet contemplation
of the last few months of my life, with Rootbound playing in the background. They were pretty good, but I was wanting to hear a new Ani Difranco tape I recently bought so that my brother's car tape player could get some good use. Right as I was about to put the tape
in, Rootbound started playing a song
from that very same tape! They even followed it up with a medley of several ween
songs that I had been singing to myself earlier that day. I felt like they were playing the concert for me, and it filled me with an overwhelming sense of joy as I drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, I awoke to the campsite cut in half, with everyone who hadn't left yet wanting to go home and bathe and sleep in their own beds. I think they all overdid themselves. I fought to get the whole weekend off work to attend the festival. I spend way too much time sitting in this house to want to leave an outdoor festival to be here and doing nothing
. About 2 hours after I woke up, our campsite slimmed down even further to about 5. And soon after that, it was down to 2. It was me and franky (neither of us drove
, either). We were the only survivors of our group from Friday night.
After I revived the fire and had my fill of dogs, I worked my way over to the "second stage". The lead singer
of Rootbound was setting up to play a solo set with his acoustic guitar. They had done such a good job the night before that I felt I owed it to him to be in the audience. Besides, there wasn't anyone else watching. I walked up and sat in the grass. I was the only audience member for a good half hour before a few passers by stopped to see what was going on, only for the set to end shortly after.
The franticly differing patterns of grey and white clouds culminating from three different directions in the sky foreshadowed a rough night ahead, and alot of people packed up and left. Franky and I held our ground. There was word that a person or two would be coming back later, so we didn't panic about how we would be getting home. After the afternoon heat started to fade, the thunder and lightning started rolling in, causeing what little people that were left at the fest to thinned out even further. By the time the rains came, Rootbound was fighting through the second power loss
of the weekend to play their (unshcedualed) second set. I didn't even know they were playing. I just made my way to the main stage and popped a squat in the rain and saw them setting up. Now, for the second time that day, I was the only audience member to hear them play. After applauding their first song, the drummer stood up and said "Thank you
..." and pointed right at me. Priceless
! Again, after about an hour, a few people sharted showing up. After the rains gave and the moon
shown it's near fullness, a few more people made their presence known.
It felt good to still be there, fighting through the rain and still enjoying myself. It's funny how little comfort most of us are willing to sacrafice and still be ok. The people that were left were either too fucked up to leave, or invested too much into the fest to just walk away. I was proud to still be there with them, though I'm not sure what catagory I fell into.
After rootbound's set, I went to find franky. I heard he wasn't doing so well and I wanted to make sure he was ok. When I found him, he was curled up in the back of someone's truck, tweaked out on an eight of mushrooms. He looked like he needed some company to keep him close to reality. He was pretty out there, talking about some little white dude that kept running up and down his arm. The only thing that brought him back was the raffle.
Everyone who bought a ticket was entered in the raffle
. Franky heard them announcing it in the background and was certain that he was gonna win. The few people that were left all had a pretty good chance of winning. They drew the first number and it wasn't Frank's. Actually, it wasn't anyones who was there, so they called another. They called out probably 6 or 7 numbers with no winner, sounding more and more desparate each time. "Is there anyone actually here?" one of the announcers exclaimed! "I AM! I AM!" I yelled from afar, but I don't think they could hear me. The next number that they called out was 156! Shitty! I was 157 and franky was 158. "I'm 157!" I screamed from the truck, hoping that they would give the prize to me just to get it over with and end the tourmenting realization that the weekend took a violent crash into the pit of the failed festivals. They kept trudging on until they finally drew a winner. I don't even know what the prize was, but it didn't matter. We were all just fighting to be recognized as survivors.
Sunday morning was when the few leftover people were finally shooed away, like flies on a rotting corpse, though not nearly as rancid. A suprise, given the fact that I, nor most of the others still there, hadn't showered in days. Everything was pretty damp, myself included. The fire
that was still somehow smoldering after a night of torrential rains filled me with a sense of pride. Proof that I had done my job, and I had done it well. Our group, now four of us, packed up and headed home. I walked away with a more positive outlook on life in general. Life is all in your perspective
. I had always known that, but could never truely apply that knowledge to my own life until this weekend. I could have gotten all pissy when the rains came, but instead I chose to enjoy it
. It's just that simple. But, as usual, when the winds came they all fell down