Riverside Jam has ended. Cuppa and I worked our three volunteer shifts putting in about 23 hours of surveillance: mostly standing and peering at little armbands (coloured bracelets if you will) to determine colour and access privileges. Black, hardly a standout choice, was the dominant colour at our gate. You would not be stretching your imagination a whole lot to deduce that we must be a trifle weary this morning.
I could barely believe the influx of people for this event. We arrived for our first shift many hours before the first concert was scheduled to begin and the campgrounds already appeared to be full with all sorts of trailers of various levels of opulence. This was very impressive to a guy who can barely afford a tent. And as we later learned, the campgrounds spread a long, long way from the prime campground next to the river – in the very same quiet little park that Cuppa and I often frequent on a pleasant day.
So, it was a major event for this little town, and I must say that it was pretty darn well organized and run. Oh, there were glitches and some poor decisions that we soon became aware of at our gate. We spent time trying to prevent regular concert-goers from accessing the campgrounds, for example. We'd refuse (not so much me but the stick-to-the damn-rules folk) old couples entrance to the campgrounds (from the concert area) because they didn't have a camper to escort them, and we'd give kids (under twelve without passes) a hassle about getting back into the camp (from the concert area) because their parents were supposed to accompany them, but, lo and behold, the parents were already in the campgrounds. But then as the weekend progressed, guests of the sponsors could more or less come and go at will by simply mentioning the family name. Ah well, as I said, it was pretty well run on the whole. This is still only the third year of the event, and there remain some glitches to be ironed out.
What I heard of the music was pretty uneven. Some of the bigger performers didn't excite me too much. Some shouted songs with incomprehensible lyrics. The influence of Rock music on other genres is pretty doggone profound. Many of the acts, especially those who performed earlier in the day, were closer to traditional country, however, and were really quite pleasant to listen to. The main and closing act last night, Ricky Scaggs, was rather insipid and anticlimactic in my humble and untutored opinion, but the act before him, a group called Ambush, sounded very good to my ears.
Things got a little bit hectic last night. It was hard to keep control of our gate. There were those who faked armbands, and I'm sure that some of them got by us. Of course, some kids got a little rowdy, but Response Security was pretty on the ball, and nothing got very out of hand. Really though, with thousands of people on a small area and with much alcohol being consumed most people were happy, friendly and compliant. I would never ever ever never contemplate working at a Rock venue, however. Uh uh.
Final wonderment: how do people afford to drink like they do? Beer was selling for $4.50 per glass, and it was being consumed prodigiously. Some were deep into it all weekend it seemed. I could never afford to be a drunk.