Monday, August 07, 2006

Quite a Jam

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.


PBS said...

Nope, I could never afford to be a drunk either, although women have people buying their drinks for them!

That's one of the reasons I never got into smoking either, too expensive, and gee whiz, turns out that it's bad for you, too!

Turtle Guy said...

Hey, look! I can READ your blog again!!

"Some shouted songs with incomprehensible lyrics."

Being a sound guy by profession, I've heard lots of acts, and lots of production companies behind them. Most of the local sound companies I know well and I can tell as soon as I walk into a venue whether or not the show will sound good - just by the production truck parked out back. I remember taking in Colin James at a local bar here and the sound was so GAWD AWEFUL, I made my way to the very front and listened off the stage monitors which were half-way decent. The house mix sucked and it was the sound guys, not the band. I remember seeing Colin in Banff in '92 under a different production company and it sounded FABULOUS!

As for the affordability of being a drunk... well... there's a cost other than money that many don't see until it's too late. Otherwise, all a matter of financial priority I suppose.

Madcap said...

They can't afford to be drunks either. I know a few people like that. They're making really good money and often can't pay the rent or mortgage.

I hear you about the tent! That's where our holiday budgeting lies, too!

Bonita said...

Ah! Your hearing aids were not in place at the time of the concert... Now I can understand your doing 3 shifts.

Dale said...

I've seen Ricky Skaggs twice and both shows were enjoyable. I'm a fan of Skaggs. His music has always been true to his traditional country and bluegrass roots. Sorry to hear you were disappointed.

Tammy said...

I know what you mean about the drinks thing...but the same goes for someone like me taking my kids to the movies... $4.50 for a kid-size popcorn or pepsi...and if someone has more than a couple kids, look out! ;)

Anyway, I enjoy your humor...and always enjoy the types of comments you get, too! :)

Gina said...

I am much too poor to drink!

But, people find a way to finance what they want, don't they?

Guess I'm not really one for alcohol. I am amazed at the large numbers of people that are, though.

Judy said...

I'm embarrassed by what I do sober.

I wouldn't DARE drink.

Even in my youth, I could never stand loud noise. Maybe THAT'S why so many people drink at concerts.

One of the things I am happy about with my life is that I can be so easily entertained! The only music I need is that of my grandson banging on the leather footstool.

I guess I was born old.

Valerie - Still Riding Forward said...

uyI can't afford to drink in a bar, much less concert prices. And I don't like beer.

I hope you are resting up and enjoying the day together.



Anonymous said...

Summer music festivals can be so much fun. I have volunteered at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a couple of years and have always had a great time.. but am always exhausted afterwards.