We finished with my favorite festival, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival. My dear friend Rachel made the trip from Massachusetts for the festival this year. We picked her up at the airport late on Wednesday night and headed straight for Lyons, Colorado.
We set up camp and all three of us (2 Rachels and a Brian) managed to squeeze into the tent. Rachel and I got the air mattress while Brian made do in the crevasse.
Thursday was all about waiting in line. We had shade, we had beer and other cold drinks, we had books and snacks, and we had tunes. Brian took the opportunity to teach Rachel about the wonders of Todd Snider. And, we had a tiny taste of what was to come when it rained for about 45 minutes that afternoon.
Thanks to the Tennessee boys (Chris and Mark), we were #8 in line to get into the campground. Brian and I had already scoped things out, so when 6 p.m. rolled around, we nailed down a great campsite. We set up 7 tents, and reserved a couple more tent spots for good measure. Sunshade was up over the kitchen, and we settled into camp.
We headed to town for a great dinner at Cilantro Mary's and met up with my Dad towards the end of dinner. Dad got settled in camp and we spent a fun evening in line (waiting for numbers to get into the festival the next morning). Have you noticed a theme here....?
At this point, things start to get a little hazy. Sometime during the night it started raining. And from inside the tent, it was quite lovely. However...waking up to the rain, pretty hard rain, the next morning was not quite so lovely.
But it was much too soon for our spirits to be dampened.
Brian managed to get out of the tent briefly to set up the sunshade (rainshade) inside the festival grounds (see how happy he is about it....)
and then promptly climbed back into the tent (and all the flannel coziness within) for the REST OF THE DAY! I think I saw him out of the tent once...to pee and drink a beer...and then he was back to bed. He reminded me of a bear in hibernation. But he had the door to the tent open so he could hear the music, and he probably fared better than the rest of us.
We were hardcore festivarians and did our time in the rain and under the sunshade, watching the music.
And the rain continued.....and things started to get messy. Mud puddles up to our knees, soaking wet shoes and clothes and underwear and pillows and sleeping bags.
Around dinner time we decided that camp was not so inviting and headed into town. We stopped for a while at the Lyons Pinball Arcade before heading to Oskar Blues for dinner. The basement bar was loud and warm and DRY. We spent some quarters in the video arcade (which would play a big role in the weekend), and then ordered large pizzas and beer all around.
Adam and Haley arrived after working all day just in time for dinner. And they had heard about this rain we were having and were fully prepared....Adam had managed to pick up some rain pants/waders, complete with suspenders, just for this weekend.
Adam and Haley got situated in camp, and we headed into the festival and caught the end of Amos Lee's set...which was wonderful! I can't wait to see him perform again.
It must have stopped raining for a little while that night, because soon we headed to line (again) and it wasn't raining so hard at that point. And thank goodness the line gods were on our side, and numbers were handed out relatively early that night. I guess the Planet Bluegrass staff may have been feeling sorry for us after sitting in the rain all day.
Well, it started raining again shortly after bedtime, and the hard rain Saturday morning made it awfully hard to get out of the tent.
As Rachel lay in her tent that morning, listening to the rain, she recognized that this 2nd full day of rain was going to be quite difficult to be cheerful about. And she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Morale Booster #1: BACON!!!
Getting out of the tent might just be easier for this sad, soggy crew of festivarians, if we were to wake up to the smell of BACON! So Rachel went to town and got some bacon and fried it up for us. And it worked. We experienced a brief moment of glee and happiness after starting off the morning with fresh, hot bacon.
Then another important Morale Booster arrived on the scene, in the form of Nate, our hilarious and friendly neighbor.
Nate had sent his wife and son home after 30+ hours of rain and joined up with our crew for the remainder of the weekend. And Nate was certainly a Morale Booster. He immediately named out camp "Planet Positive" (sarcastically), but that became our mantra for the rest of the festival.
Morale Booster #2: Breakfast!
After setting up inside the festival grounds again, we walked a pretty far distance to this place, in the hopes of raising our spirits again.
And boy did that work. Look how happy we are.
It was warm, and dry, and there were coat hangers for all our soggy rain gear, so we didn't even have to be near our wet clothes. We got cozy in a big booth and all ordered warm drinks, like this...
We then proceeded to order one of each item on the breakfast menu and spent about 2 hours savoring what is quite possibly the best breakfast I've ever had (the circumstances definitely contribute to that statement).
We really really didn't want to leave, but we were definitely the loudest bunch in there and the waitstaff were eyeing us suspiciously. So, we reluctantly donned our still wet rain gear and bravely set forth to pursue
Morale Booster #3: Video Games!
Here are Brian and Haley having fun in the old school video arcade. I think the most money we spent all weekend went into this place. And it was worth it. Super Mario Bros, QBert, Donkey Kong, and my personal favorite...Ms. Pacman.
After we'd spent our life savings in quarters, we still weren't quite ready to leave the warmth, so we moved on to cribbage.
We knew our favorite performer of the weekend, Todd Snider, would be onstage soon. So, despite our fear of the outdoors at this point, we left Oskar Blues and headed back to the festival. And miracle of miracles, it stopped raining!!!!!! Here we are at 2 p.m. on Saturday, enjoying our first taste of sunshine since Wednesday afternoon.
We settled into our soaked and muddy tarp for a great afternoon of music. Brian and I were lucky again to have backstage passes (and therefore, front row seats) for the Todd Snider set. And he didn't disappoint. He was as charming and adorable and hilarious as ever. And we were starting to feel like true festivarians at this point...
Saturday night we saw a late night set from Steven Kellogg & the Sixers, and danced some of those rainy day blues away. We waited in line, again, and by the end of the night (after some negotiations with our new friends in the security department), we ended up with a great number to get into the festival the next morning.
We went to bed thinking the rain was behind us. Not quite. It did rain again Saturday night as we slept. But at this point, we had made it this far, and nothing could stop us from finishing off the festival in good spirits.
Luckily that Saturday night rainstorm didn't make it till morning and we woke up to a soggy, muddy, but sunny Sunday morning. We packed up camp, and the only real casualty of the weekend was our trusty camp rug, which has really been tying camp together for about 5 festival seasons. After the mud we saw this weekend, it was beyond repair.
After getting the cars packed, we headed in for the last festival day of the year.
It was a glorious day, and the festivarian crowd was in fine form. The apparel was even more eccentric than ever (think bikinis and mud boots). Showering was pretty non-existent for most of us all weekend because it was just too much work to peel off the layers of long underwear and rain gear, just to have to put them back on. We were a haggard bunch of music lovers, but we were all smiling.
And then we saw this happening. Naked babies running around in the mud all day. And nothing could make us happier!
Haley decided to give it a try too (but she stayed clothed)....
It was a great day on Planet Bluegrass (or Planet Positive). We were happy to be with friends and family, enjoying the best music in the world, in one of the most beautiful places in the world.