I wasn’t planning on going to this year’s ACL Festival. In fact, I’ve never gone. Apart from SXSW, I’m not a big festival guy. But, as has happened on occasion, Caryn Ganz from RollingStone.com convinced me cover it for her. (I owe her for this, so I have a hard time saying no.) And so, the “not a big festival guy” will end up attending three music festivals in the same city — I’m set for Fun Fun Fun Fest in November — in just over six months. You can find my coverage here, here, and here. After the jump, a couple of photos (not of bands — you can find plenty of others that would be better than faraway iPhone shots), and some bits and pieces that didn’t make it in.
As amazing as it sounds, this photo from Sunday was BEFORE it really got muddy. I mean, by the time I left three songs into Pearl Jam's set -- I couldn't see, and couldn't stand in the mud -- I would have killed for the ground to look like this. It was like wrestling in pudding. (Not that I'd know.) I've never been to a place where the porta-potties were actually a welcome respite. I'd also like to point out that people brought babies here, and other small children. I put something up about that on Twitter and the response I got back from some was (and I'm paraphrasing), "Hey, man, just introducing my kids to some ACL cool." No. Sorry. You're being a selfish jerk. You wanted to go to the festival and couldn't find a sitter. Tough. And it was EXTREMELY impractical. I felt no sympathy for anyone trying to push a loaded stroller up the muddy hills. They deserved it, and I hope their kids file for emancipation as soon as possible.
I guess I respect those manic street preachers for trying to save some of the concert-going, rocking-and-rolling heathens. That is just good old-fashioned stick-to-it-iveness. But the only people who stopped were smug folks like me with their cameraphones handy. Speaking of: during the Dirty Projectors set (I only caught the last two-and-a-half songs, so that's why no review), two kids who had clearly watched too much footage of Woodstock 1994 turned up in the crowd, covered head-to-toe in mud. Then two things happened. They started dancing. Badly. Like people at a Phish show would point and laugh. That bad. Normally, I wouldn't care. I see bad dancers all the time. I work with Tim and Eric. But they were flinging mud on everything around them and, look, I know we're all messy. But respect everyone's personal level of mud tolerance. I was more than okay covered up to my shins with some mild splattering and so on. I was working. I wasn't willing to go any further barring a calamity. The other thing that happened was everyone in the general vicinity grabbed their phones and started shooting. Like, maybe a few dozen, counting the people strolling by and stopping. I thought I had a point to that story. It was just weird. Probably not that many people, or even a third, took pictures of the actual Dirty Projectors, focusing instead on the amateur dirty projectors. (Boom. See what I did there?)
One other thing: Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis and his computer) is apparently a big fan of local hip-hop, mixing Dorrough’s “Ice Cream Paint Job” and the GS Boyz’s “Do Da Stanky Legg” into his set. And just by typing that last sentence, I have proven I am still not that old.