If you're not from around here, you might not know what Riverfest is. Every Memorial Day weekend, throngs of party-goers come out of the woodworks from all across Arkansas (and possibly further) to partake in three days of food, fun and music, stretched across the banks of the Arkansas River. This year marked the thirty-fifth year of Riverfest. It was also the first time I had gone in ten years, with that last time being only the second time I had gone in my life.
What can I say, as a kid we could not afford the luxury that is Riverfest. Tickets are $30 at the gate but half price in advance (way in advance). So what got me to part with my cold hard cash to sit on the grass to listen to music?
Wait, I feel like I should back up.
If you're not from around here, you might think this whole thing sounds charming. Carnival food? Crafts? Local vendors? Music? Sometimes even 'big name' acts? (OK, fine they're usually 'big name' about seven to ten years ago.)
But, if you're a local, you know that every single back-water redneck from Armpit, Arkansas crawls out of the muck to whoop it up in the big city of Little Rock. So, yeah, there's some primo people watching to be had. Also, sometimes these people are, well, I'll just say it, scary.
This year, when I heard the line up included my all-time favorite band, Third Eye Blind, I knew we would go. Plain and simple. I bought the advanced tickets at Walgreens! and we were ready. The show was awesome but the whole time I kept thinking that if I could just log onto Twitter, someone I knew could get me backstage. Alas, the phone was the trifect of uselessness- low battery, slow and full of photos. (sidebar, did you know that if you push the limits of your storage the iPhone will tell you you can't take any more photos? It's mean like that.)
So, with all of that in mind, here's what I learned at Riverfest 2012:
-There are people in Arkansas who think they are Juggalos. Even at 40 (estimated age, hard to tell with all that makeup). Also, I think they must practice that 'head sway thing,' I'm sure I would get dizzy.
-There are a lot of people with shin tattoos. Now it's possible that I just noticed them more since I was sitting on the ground on my oversized beach blanket (with our North Face back pack which held lip gloss- mine, allergy eye drops- Brads, and a Nikon camera). (Do you get the feeling we didn't belong at the Chavelle concert?)
-Despite the fact that I know the dental business to be quite lucrative, there are many, many people who find oral health to be an unnecessary burden. I guess at $2-3 a pop, toothbrushes are just a luxury some can't afford.
-Pregnant women like their concerts too. Maybe it just seemed like there were more of them than I see in a typical day, but every other chick I saw seemed to be in the process of gestating. Several of them had beers. Yay mom. Although, on second thought, those could have been giant beer bellies. I suppose I shall hold my judgment.
-Apparently the sexiest place to hook up is in the middle of a 3EB concert. Standing. Two feet in front of me. At one point I was almost part of a triple kiss, completely against my will.
-Maybe I don't belong in the crowd of a concert, I thought surely a band as tame as 3EB would have equally tame fans. I was wrong. I love their music, I love to jam to it, but oddly I have never been compelled to jump up and down and scream and wave my hair around trying to impale people with it. (yes, yes, physics and all, I know that's impossible). Also, I'm aware my hair is 3 inches at its longest. Regardless, this did not stop a chick from doing this about six inches to my left for the entire hour and a half that they were on stage.
Overall, it was an interesting evening but I feel that if I had wandered over to the Lynyrd Skynyrd stage that night or come back Sunday for Snoop Dog, I would have far more interesting stories to share with you. Honestly, I'm glad I kept it tame, I don't think I could have handled anything more in my old age.
Did any of you make it out to Riverfest? What's the craziest thing you saw?