Tales of Misfortune: The Road to Summer Side Show

It won’t fit. The two boxes of merch and all of our overnight gear will not fit in my car. We’re staring at the vehicle like monkeys doing a math problem. The original plan was for me to drive Cooper and Pascal to Pascal’s parent’s place tonight, get there about 4 a.m., and then head to the festival at 10. Our plans are derailed by a lack of carrying space and a long running set.

“What about my car?” asks Cooper, blissfully unaware of his future fate. We exchange glances and have soon smooshed all of our gear and ourselves into the car. I drop off my car at Chisolm’s place and we head off into the sunset. I mean sunrise. I mean pitch darkness. God, it’s frikken 3:30 in the morning.

I’m just starting to nod off in the backseat when we pull into a QT and grab some food and fill the biggest 99 cent cups that we can find with obscene amounts of Mountain Dew. Not that this has any ability to keep me awake, however. I must’ve fallen asleep somewhere in middle Georgia, leaving Pascal and Cooper to talk the whole way. I just hope I didn’t snore too loud.

The whole gang plodded into the Cureton household and promptly went to bed. AS THE SUN ROSE. Blergh. Alarms were set for four hours later. Gonna be a loooong day, I thought as my head hit the pillow. I had no idea just how long it would be.

We finally managed to all get up, begrudgingly, and got to Summer Side Show. The mostly metal/hardcore festival was run by a friend of the band’s and had set them up with a prime showtime at 8 pm inside the building. While that was well and good for the band, Cooper and I had other worries. Like how we were going to spend our 10 hours selling merch in the heat. More pressing, however, was the fact that we couldn’t get our wristbands!

While Pascal wrangled and tangled with the wristband situation, Cooper and I tried to scout out a suitable place for merch. We had apparently arrived too late. Every available spot was taken up by some unheard of band selling spraypainted shirts and crappy cds. Fortunately, Pascal soon returned with our much needed wristbands, allowing us to go inside and search for a small spot to put our merch.

At this point, I ran smack into two good buddies of mine from Athens, Jaime and Nick. Their band, Ad Lucem, was slotted to play the first show. So good to have friendly faces in the crowd. Cooper and I happened upon a band that had prime real estate in front of the doorway where Misfortune would play later that night. I saw an empty table, took a breath, and began pitching an idea to them.

We have a tent. You have a table. You have a single shirt. We have a lot of merch. We’ll help you sell stuff and you can use our tent for shelter if you let us have half the table. Or something like that. Being awesome guys, they went for it and we ran like little kids back to the car to grab the tent and merch. Setting up said tent was not a big deal. Putting out the merch, THAT was a big deal.

We strung the t-shirts up behind us, rolled out our awesome Merchandise sign, and used our merch bins as seating. And then we sat. And sat. The heat was intense. Thank god (and Mr. Cureton) for that tent. The deal behind Columbus’ SSS fest is that there are 100 bands, something like 6 stages, and at least three bands playing at all times. So yes, by the end of the day, I had heard 100 bands play. LOUDLY. Metal is really not my thing.

A few people came in and bought the new grey shirt, a great deal for us because they were more expensive to produce and we seemed to be recouping quickly. Cooper went out to advertise our showtime and lure in more buyers. He returned rather quickly, flushed and sweating. I made him sit inside the tent and drink a lot of water. The two of us seemed to be going through a lot of it. Pascal had to take off to get ready for the show (those rockers and their wardrobes…). Cooper went off to do something and left me behind to watch the table. After about two hours, I was wondering what exactly had happened to my co-roadie.

The story came later in bits and pieces via Chisolm. Coops had gone to the car to sit in the A/C. He soon felt so sick that he gave up and went on back to Atlanta, taking my book with him. I had no idea any of this was going on and no one could answer my texts so I just sat there, making an occasional sale, sweating like a maniac and listening to a lot of bad metal songs. Then it started raining. Joy. Humid and hot. Good thing I love this band. *grumble mumble rrr*

Natalie and Chisolm soon came by, bringing a ton of water bottles with the hummingbird logo on it. Sweet! Lemuel made an appearance, stashing his sticks at the table for safe keeping. Wait a sec. Was that Jay I just saw? He’s a metal fan? What? Oh god, there’s Jojo too. Don’t tell me… The Modern Skirts were playing Summer Side Show. Holy inappropriate venues, Batman! Sure, it’s a stretch for Misfortune to play this thing but the Skirts? Oh boy…Their show did not go off quite like they had hoped, I’m sure. This was a hardcore crowd and the croonings of the Skirts, talented as they might be, fell on the ears of 16 people, including Misfortune who were setting up on the stage next to them. Better luck next time guys.

Misfortune 500 blew the roof off the place. From my vantage point behind the table, I could only catch glimpses of Natalie and Chisolm onstage. But I saw the lights. When they first came on, everyone within range began to be drawn into the building, like moths to a flame. I could hear a few cheers but from what Chisolm was saying, it was one of their most intense performances in a while. Chisolm nearly didn’t make it all the way through. About halfway into a chorus, lights began swirling before his eyes and he blacked out. Only a second or so passed before he regained consciousness and began singing the song again. The heat in the building was so intense that people were coming outside to cool down.

Pascal came over to allow me to take a break from the merch. We ended up staying around until the festival ended, packed up all of our stuff, and the band got paid their wages. Everyone seemed pretty happy about how the day went. Well, except poor Cooper. I think he had a heat stroke. We journeyed back to our vehicles and took off to our destinations, thanking the heavens that air conditioning was working in all our cars.

Overall, a good experience. Next year, I’ll bring a little portable fan.

Next time on Tales of Misfortune: Athfest.

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