Dispatches from Athfest: Day 5, Sunday Night

After the amazing night Saturday, I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to get up for today’s events. We ended up getting back from Atlanta around 1 am, spending most of the ride in stunned silence. Or the fact that we couldn’t hear and screamed our lungs out might have something to do with it.

Anyway, I reported to Mary at 10:30 am at the mainstage. “Are you comfortable driving my car?” she asked.

“Uh…sure, I guess.”

“Okay, here’s some money, I need you to find a laundromat and wash these towels for the performers before the show.”

I have NEVER EVER used a laundromat before. Yeah, it’s bad. I’ve just always had some sort of machine at my disposal. With a determined glint in my eye and a smile plastered on my face, I went off to wash what was potentially the most important load of towels I will ever handle.

Long story short, I got lost for a bit there. After 20 minutes of wandering aimlessly, I found a place, set the clothes to wash and promptly had the machine shut off three different times. By the time I got back, clutching my newspaper, the first show had already begun setting up.

We did the usual soundcheck, watercheck, checkcheck type thing and we were on. The bands came and went pretty easy this go round. No stuffed animal remains or mounds of glitter. The highlight for me was the Packway Handle Band.

These guys know how to entertain. The crowd easily matched Dark Meat’s on Friday night. I was guarding the VIP tent before they went on when Maureen asked if I would like to introduce the band after them. “Oh, YES!” I said. I love doing that kinda stuff, specially when it gets me away from the ornery VIPs who think they are better than thou.

Anywho, Packway absolutely KILLED during their set, ending with a nice version of “Like A Prayer”. Well, they were supposed to end. I walk up, ready to announce and they start playing another song…The mandolin player (mandolinist?) shoots me a look and then proceeds to jump off stage and into the crowd with the band following shortly after. Basically, THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!

I get up and say my piece, hearing the crowd cheer each time I say Packway Handle Band (rawr!). I must admit, there’s nothing like being onstage in front of a cheering crowd, even if they’re not cheering for you.

So we set up for Outformation while the guys from Packway apologize and explain that they figured as long as they got off stage, we could set up for the next band. It worked. Everything went as planned. Until the thunderclouds started looming overhead.

Naturally, we all kinda looked a little freaked. We started packing up EVERYTHING that wasn’t essential. Tarps came out and towels were on the ready. And the rain didn’t come. So we headed over to the second stage at Hot Corner and began to dismantle it. Everything came down, the lights, amps, stage, all of it. Tarps were out and towels were ready. And the rain didn’t come.

My friends and I went back to the mainstage to check out Dubconscious and I ended up getting photographed while dancing badly….The crowd enjoyed it, the band loved it, and people were on the rooftops of the Flicker and 40 Watt watching. And the rain didn’t come.

The volunteers had a meeting over in the now dismantled VIP area. We went over exactly what needed to be done to clear up. Stage, backstage, everything had to be gone before the morning. The clouds were still taunting us but we labored for hours getting everything packed up.

Bailey ran around with his forklift, driving like a maniac, and moving tables and portapotties everywhere. Just as we got the last bit of equpiment up and slammed the door…THE RAIN CAME.

And it came down hard. There was no real way to get back to our cars with the lightning and we still had a few odds and ends to pick up. But wait! The beer tent is still up! AND! There’s a few untapped kegs in there. You can guess what happened from there.

This week has been absolutely amazing. It began with meeting some of my heroes on Wednesday and ended with a circle of friends under a tent in the middle of the street on Sunday. We were all soaking wet and happy to finally be done with work. I shook hands with Mary, Maureen, and Jared and went on my way back to my crashpad, with my mind full of music and my day full of new friends.

I am SO doing this again.

Final Tally of Things Recieved over the Week:
4 Wristbands
2 REM tickets
3 Setlists (REM, Modest Mouse, National)
2 Drumsticks (one Darkmeat one Dubconscious)
5 Tourprograms
3 T-shirts
10 Awesome new friends
1 Experience of a lifetime


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