This post picks up our adventures at the inaugural South Park Summerfest in Fariplay, CO (see below from August 25th).
Chapter III: GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!
“What time is it?” you ask yourself. “And where the hell am I?” Oh, yeah . . . you’re in a cold-weather sleeping bag inside a tent somewhere on the side of a mountain near Fairplay. Thanks to the awesome powers of the Colorado sun, it’s like 90 degrees and wickedly hot inside the tent . . . and it’s only 7:20 am.
You jolt upright in your sleeping bag and quickly realize that such sudden movement is a bad idea. Your spine cries out in agony as you pivot on the grapefruit-sized rock that apparently decided to keep you company last night. But the sharp pain in your back quickly recedes into the dull, constant ache that is your head.
Like a detective piecing together clues from a crime scene, your tongue finds its way around the seven different layers of funk coating your mouth.
[Ah, yes, Holmes – I do believe I understand it now. See here, the culprit: Scotty’s industrial-grade swill, perhaps better suited for paint removal than for consumption.]
The turpentine-like concoction has you sloshing and swimming inside your own head. “Thanks for nothing, pimp juice,” you mumble.
Drenched in sweat, you agitatedly shed layer after layer of your clothing as you try to escape the suffocating clutches of your sleeping bag. Last night, neither the protective layers nor the booze could keep you warm enough, but this morning, that winning combination has you roasting like a pig on a spit and in a peachy mood. Groggy, off balance, and barefoot, you stand up, only to hunch back over when you hit your head on the electric lantern that hangs from the top of your tent.
After fumbling in your backpack for what feels like fifteen minutes to find your toothbrush, you rip open the tent and stumble outside with all the grace and coordination of a tranquilized grizzly bear waking from an induced stupor. This imagery comically floats through your head and resisting the urge to unleash your best Chewbaca yell, you realize that for the first time this morning, you are pleasantly surprised. Free from the confines of your sauna-like tent, the cold mountain air immediately revives you with a refreshing chill.
“Wow,” you say to yourself as you take in the view. Having arrived in the chaos and dark of the night before, you had no way to see just how beautiful the surrounding scenery was until now. Mt. Bierstadt, her majestic peak topping out at more than fourteen thousand feet, is the first to say good morning, as everyone else is still asleep in tents. You find the moment incredibly peaceful and soothing.
Tiptoeing around the campsite so as not to wake anyone, you enjoy the solitude of readying yourself for the day. A twinge of anticipation stirs in your gut as you see the stage off in the distance. What last night looked like something menacing and apocalyptic, this morning resembles the promise of rocking good times.
Teeth now brushed, you find your stock to be on the rise. Life ain’t so bad after all. Opening the cooler in search of possible sundries for breakfast, you reach your hand down in to the cold, icy water and seize upon a cylindrical object. The moment your hand takes hold of the beer, something primal inside you snaps. Like that, your tranquil morning respite is over.
Cracking open the beer with a satisfying snap, you take a pull. As the brew swirls down your gullet like some sort of magic potion, you can’t help but think this day has taken a turn for the waaayyy better. “Breakfast of champions, bitches!” you exclaim to yourself. With two-thirds of the can downed, and feeling infinitely better and excited for the day, you decide that now is as good a time as any to wake up the entire campsite. Chugging the remains of the beer, you tilt your head back and yell, “GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!!!”
- Stay tuned for the further adventures of Instant Empire. More to come in our next post where we pick back up with our Summerfest conclusion.
Check out Concerted Effort's interview and live performance video of Instant Empire! Get out your party pants and we'll see you tonight at Hi-Dive with The Jealous Sound and Daytrader!
SOUTH PARK SUMMERFEST!!!!
This summer found us playing our first festival - the inaugral South Park Summerfest in Fairplay, CO. Can you imagine a more bucolic setting? Camping the entire weekend at 10,000 feet. A big ol' stage with killer sound. The stars and mountains all around us. How perfect, right!?
Um . . . yeah . . .
Chapter I: THE RAWK VAN
Fairplay is pretty damn remote. Or at least it seems that way when you find yourself crammed into the sketchiest 15-passenger POS van you can rent on Craigslist. You know, the kind with an exposed gas line, the smell of rot and decay blasting from the barely-functioning A/C, and an owner who lets you drive away with it just because "you look like trustworthy guys"?
[Lesson learned: When something costs you one-sixth of its normal fair market value, you should probably be suspicious.]
So, you're caravaning along, rolling up 285 with six dudes, their significant others, and enough camping gear to outfit an expedition searching for new energy sources in some remote and forgotten wasteland. Seriously, you should have seen the tent that Aaron brought along!
Anyhow, you're dodging antelope and navigating those hairpins and switchbacks with all the confidence and grace of a charging rhinocerous. And oh yeah, you're packing an extra 2,500 pounds of musical equipment, which considering the van's current carrying capacity, makes the shocks on your marvel of American engineering sing like a freaking canary.
Oh yeah, life is good. We're in a rock n' roll band and we're playing a summer festival!
Chapter II: APOCALYPSE NOW
Turning off the highway, you take a left onto a dark dirt road (it's now nightime since you had to stop five times on what would otherwise be a quick one and one-half hour jaunt). "Are we going the right way?" someone asks.
Yes, yes we are! "Look over there!" Lou shouts. From behind the next hill you spy what can only be a swirling mass of red, blue, and green LED stage lights. Lights so impossibly obnoxious that to ignore them would be impossible. They beckon you forward, packed with all the empty promise of your rock n' roll fantasies, like a stripper coaxing the last dollar bill from that creepy guy who quit drinking five hours ago but is still hanging around at four a.m. As you crest the hill in the rawk van, the tension, the nervousness, the anticipation of all that is to come, is nearly palpable.
And then you see it all spread out before you. But something is off. It doesn't compute. "Oh, Jesus . . . what happened here?"
[Flashback to that scene in Apocalypse Now when Lance is tripping on acid and Willard can't find anyone in command of the bridge outpost.]
You roll down the windows, and although you see ferocious stage lights slicing across the night sky, the stage is empty and there is no sound. Only the wind. The ever-present wind. The lights disorient you and your eyes cannot adjust to the dark. Ten or fifteen people are shuffling haphazardly around the festival grounds with no rhyme or reason. In talking to the stragglers, you discover that a violent wind storm has swept through only an hour before and took with it the festival's communication tower, registration tent, and - apparently - all the night's musical acts . . .
So it's off to find a camping spot and set up shop in the dark. You realize that the temperature has quickly dropped to the 30s. Your body, accustomed to the stifling summer heat back in Denver, begins to tremble and shake. But there will be no fire tonight. That possibility has been ruled out ever since the state's forests began to burn out of control earlier this summer.
"Where are we?" you wonder. "What have we walked into?" As you descend deeper into the cold clutch of the night, the only thing left to do is to take comfort in the bottle of whiskey that Scotty brought along. A wise decision, indeed, and one that will surely bode well in the morning.
- Stay tuned for the further adventures of Instant Empire. More to come in our next post where we pick back up with "Chapter III: GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!"