I quit going to concerts or live performances a long time ago because I hated the crowd. I hate all crowds, but what really pissed me off about concert crowds was that they were there to party/hookup/get wrecked/mosh/whatever, pretty much anything except watch the fucking band. Which is why I’m there. I went to concerts the way most graduate students go to class: totally focused, watching, studying, learning. Once I started messing around with “music journalism,” following bands around, I’d get all-access backstage passes, and holy shit…it was perfect. Fuck the crowd. The unwashed masses are out there, on the other side of big barriers, on the other side of a platoon of security…fuck ’em. And if I wanted to know how somebody hit that really high note on the guitar solo, i could watch him do it from 5 feet away. And once you experienced that, there is no going back to general admission. Totally impossible. Thus, so much for yrs. truly going to concerts.
As you can imagine, as intolerable as I find normal concerts, I find the idea of festivals deplorable. It’s the triumph of the extroverts, and fuck that. So the news that Woodstock 50 is likely not going to happen does not move my needle. My contempt for festivals aside, it’s just not a good idea. The first Woodstock was great. But what make it great wasn’t anything that was planned. Yes, of course the event was planned, and the acts were scheduled. But the “magic” that made it what it was was unplanned and could never be replicated. The order of the acts be determined by their abilities to get to the venue, the ultimate collapse of the ticket/fee structure, when far more people showed up than had been expected. “It’s a free concert from now on.” And everybody cheered. That simply would not happen 2019. Take Burning Man. How much are they charging to join that joke this year? Hold on, I have Google….
$390. Mother of God. Oh, and, if you don’t feel like walking to the Black Rock desert carrying 7 days worth of food, water, and drugs, you can pick up a vehicle pass for another $80. (Right now you can pick up a round trip ticket from California to Hawaii for $278. Just saying.) Anyway, okay…So this year Burning Man starts August 25 and fucks off September 2. They are selling 23,000 tickets, and the event is expected to sell out. So forget the vehicle passes…just from the box office, Burning Man is taking in just shy of $9 million. So imagine on August 25, wanting to get their $390 worth, all 23,000 paying customers show up and set up camp (I have no idea why I’m turning this into a goddamn word problem) and start taking their drugs. But after all 23K ticket holders have been let in, there are still droves of people showing up. And they can’t put a fence around the entire playa, so another 15,000 people who didn’t pay for tickets show up, and they just take the long drive around the perimeter and come in from the other side. Burning Man security tries to regulate, but they are ridiculously outnumbered and ill equipped to deal with this onslaught of addled humanity, and so on Day 3, they just say Fuck It and announce, “It’s a free event from now on.” Exactly 23,000 people would riot immediately and vigorously. With enthusiasm and vigor and malice aforethought. And right around the time they put out the fires and scooped up the bodies and cleaned up that mess, the class action lawsuit would be filed. Woodstock didn’t end in a riot because that was then (hippies) and this is now (assholes).
But this one, Woodstock 50…let it go. It’s not going to happen. After the most recent devastating setback (denial of a permit), the organizers released a statement: “We regret that those in Vernon who supported Woodstock have been deprived of the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of the rebirth of a cultural peace movement that changed the world in 1969 and is what the world needs now.”
Nope. If you believe any of this shit, you’ve been getting high on your own supply, methinks. The “cultural peace movement” you’re alleging to rebirth is deader than the dude in the green suit that got killed at Altamont 4 months after Woodstock. Remember Woodstock ’94? That was the shit. And you know what made it the shit? Nine Inch Goddammit Nails. Boy, were they pissed off. Trent, twatted off his bean on toot, onstage just talking waffle and getting entirely too much enjoyment out of saying “fuck” on pay per view. And other than the name, it had nary a damn thing to do with the original Woodstock or hippies or peace and love. No. It was about anger and contempt, and it was great.
About the last thing the world need right now is another overpriced faux hippy love fest. “Back to the 60s! Back! There’s no place for you here in the future!” ~ Terrance Mann
N.P.: “Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE