justin adler, blog, buenos aires, bahia blanca, university of arizona, brooklyn, basketball, travel, paul mcpherson

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I went to my first jam band festival, Gathering of the Vibes, over the weekend. Here are some notes I was able to mentally recover.

- I woke up at 7:00 a.m. Friday morning to catch an early train to Bridgeport, Connecticut, the site of the festival. I was upset to be up so early, but then I realized I was heading to hippie festival for a day of drinking, live music and other sorts of good vibes and not like my roommates who were up at 7 to go to work.

- Even though I had never heard of any of the bands playing in Friday's line-up except for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and the fact that I am not really into jamband music; I was dying to go to Vibes for the following reasons:
1. I am a fake hippie.
2. My friend Aaron is a seasoned veteran in the music festival game. There is nothing in the world Aaron loves more than Phish. I hope to one day find something I love half as much as Aaron loves Phish. I was hoping that by going to Vibes I would find some divine light.
3. Aaron's girlfriend once told me, "Music festivals are the last place on earth where people act as they should." I needed to understand this for myself.
4. One of my favorite professors attended the Summer of Love back in '67. In my mind Vibes is as close as I would get to any Summer of Love/Woodstock atmosphere, minus the urge for social/political change and plus the addition of chemically-evolved drugs.

- I made it to the venue, bought my ticket and left society. After walking around for 10 minutes I realized this is the closest I ever wanted to becoming homeless. I joined my friends (who were much, much, much harder than I and were camping there for all four days, for their fourth straight year) in their campsite and began to enjoy myself.

- I walked around trying to take in a population that was 60 percent donning Deadhead tees and tie-dyed shirts/40 percent not wearing a shirt.

- I think it was just the atmosphere that brought it of me, but my frisbee game has never been so on point as it was at Vibes.

- There are a lot of zombies at Vibes who just walk around as close to legally dead as you can be. My friend assured me that the night would be much more intense.

- I sat inside a tent deeply contemplating life for quite a while. I was then trying to justify shattering my budget to attend this ludicrous jamband festival I really had no place being at. I then said to myself, "Well, you're only in college once."

- Some five minutes later I realized I graduated college over a year ago and I was sad.

- Some time later I fell asleep on a chair, walked inside a tent and resumed my nap on a cot. I woke up drenched in sweat, wildly dehydrated, pretty sure I was going to pass out and die. The most frustrating part of this whole experience was realizing it was only 2:30 in the afternoon.

**I found this picture on Facebook four days later**

- I drank bottle after bottle of water and tried to reassure myself that everything was going to be alright. There was also a Bob Marley song playing in the background that confirmed this message.

- Eventually I decided I was capable of moving and leaving the only people I knew at the festival (some would argue that everyone knows everybody there). I tried to go to my own happy place so I sat on the rocks near the disgusting beach of the Long Island Sound and I listened to Rick Ross on my Zune and thought about Natalie Sitto.

- I ran into one guy running around frantically asking everyone who was Ponch's sidekick on "CHiPs" as if his life depended on the answer. I was born three years after "CHiPs" went off the air, but I thought long and hard about it and answered "Erik Estrada," a name I only know because Hov has been doing this since CHiPs was out, baggin' up at the Ramada watching Erik Estrada, with a table full of powder. It turns out Estrada was Ponch and I did not have the right answer. His search continued.

- Later on I was ready for round 2. I danced my ass off to a bunch of goofy jam bands and had a great time. George Clinton and P-Funk were dope (no pun intended). At one point George brought out his 'granddaughter' who rapped for about 15 minutes on how much she loved weed.

- Then the mayor of Bridgeport introduced Bridgeport's own Deep Banana Blackout. Everyone loved them, but I don't think I got their message.

- Then Moe. came on. My friend Aaron was adamant about me seeing Moe. so I expected a lot, but unfortunately I did not find them any different than Deep Banana Blackout.

- If you stand out at Vibes it means you are messed up to a point of no return. One guy who was that messed up almost got in a fight with another man. The two were face to face about to start throwing blows, but then after a bunch of screaming and death threats the two, hugged eachother and each said, "I love you." Only at Vibes.

- There were people there from all ages from 1-80. I made a mental note to thank my mother for never bringing me to a jamband festival when I was a child. Still, God bless parents who let their six year olds run along with the crazies.

- The whole time I was wearing a goofy hat slanted to the left a la R. Kelly in the "Fiesta Remix" video. I'm not sure how many people at Vibes picked that up.

- Eventually I re-passed out in the front seat of my friends Ford Ranger. There is really nothing like falling asleep to the sweet sound of hissing nitrous tanks, the occasional pop of a balloon and the good ol' nitrous-induced fight.

- I woke up the next morning at 7:15. Promptly gathered by belongings and hopped out of the car to find the exit and get the fuck back home. The morning scene at vibes looked like Omaha Beach on D-Day, except instead of lifeless bodies laying among blown-off limbs, they laid among thousands of deflated balloons. Those who were still moving looked like they had been through war and a good amount of them probably had been.

- When my friend made it back after his four-day exodus, he told me somebody died there. I was not surprised. I was surprised to learn that the person was murdered, having all four limbs broke and their face burned off.

-This is my new favorite picture ever.


KinfolkinAZ said...

That is my new favorite picture of you too!

Beat said...

My dad grew up in Bridgeport Connecticut.

Dave Williams said...

hahahaha OMG RIGHT!!!!!!!!