Of course the morning of the day at which I'm going to attend a rock festival, I read an essay by Chuck Klosterman on how rock and pop and hip-hop are really about teenagers and their tastes. There can be great music that adults listen to, but whatever is relevant at any given time is what the kids are listening to. Ouch. Thanks for the reminder that I'm forty.
It had been nine years since I'd attended a festival. That was the last time I attended the Austin City Limits Music Festival (when I saw this band I'd never heard of before called, at that time The Arcade Fire). Attending ACL involves preparation. For one thing, it is three days long. Second, it is (or at least was when I attended) roasting hot. So on Saturday morning, I kept having to remind myself that I was planning for a reasonably nice afternoon and evening Omaha, not an unpleasant (weather-wise) three days in Zilker Park.
That said, my ACL training came in handy. For one thing, I was surprised by how few Omahans wore hats. Anyone without a hat at ACL would be pepto bismol pink by the end of the first day and peeling layers of skin halfway through the next. Note: I did not wear my straw, beachcomber cowboy hat that I purchased in Galveston and generally wear to something like this. That seemed to "Texan." I was also wearing a longsleeve linen shirt. Some guy in a sweat-soaked cotten t-shirt said, "That shirt looks too hot. Is it?" I looked incredulously at him, "It's linen and does much better in the heat than your cotton shirt." Also essential--a bandana to protect the back of the neck from sunburn (bonus: it prevents the sweat from running down your neck). And I had the umbrella that has been in my chair bag since I vowed after ACL 2004 never to attend one of these things again without that protection. I did comment to more than one person that this Omaha crowd didn't seem adequately dressed or prepared for sitting outside all day.
And we missed the intense early heat. I had a church gig and didn't arrive till around 4.
Lack of preparation was made up for in overall politeness. Nothing like the obnoxiousness of ACL 2005, about which I blogged here in my rules on Festival Etiquette (which, I must say, is one of the best blog posts I've written. Glad to get a chance to highlight it again).
Besides the polite people, the Maha Festival impressed with its bathrooms. They were the nicest and cleanest port-o-potties I've ever experienced. #NebraskaNice
I enjoyed the music too. Here's who we saw: The Both (great to see Aimee Mann), The Envy Corps, Local Natives, Icky Blossoms, The Head and the Heart, and Death Cab for Cutie (which reading my ACL blogs, I'm reminded that I saw them in 2005). I enjoyed at least a little bit from each of these performances. The Envy Corps I was unfamiliar with; I want to explore their music a little further. The Icky Blossoms set was a lot of fun. I enjoyed singing along to The Head and the Heart songs I knew.
This festival was filled with friends and acquaintances, so everytime I went for food or to the NebraskaNice port-o-potties, I ran into someone to chat with.
One more thing. I do like that the beer guys walked around with backpacks serving beer. That was new from a decade ago. We are evolving as a species.
For walks down memory lane:
- Here is my blogpost on ACL 2004 "Wilco at Sunset." Besides Wilco, the bands included Sheryl Crow, The Pixies, Elvis Costello, and Ben Harper.
- Here is my post on ACL 2005 "Dust Bowl." Among the bands were Coldplay, Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Wilco (again), and Oasis.
- Here, again, is the funny post on "Festival Etiquette."
- And here is a 2011 post on the Wilco album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot as part of my "Post 9/11 Music" series in which I remembered ths significance of the two Wilco performances at ACL.