Good for the soul like chicken soup, but way more fun

8 07 2009

by Justin Jacobs (@JustinHJacobs)

daycrowd

Well, folks, it’s a full three days after Rothbury’s triumphant close and I’m still recovering.

My attempt to drive home after Bob Dylan’s set ended Sunday night was a bust — with my eyelids as heavy as The Glitch Mob’s basslines, I pulled to the side of the highway somewhere in Michigan around 2 a.m. and fell uncomfortably asleep in the driver’s seat. Lucky me, there weren’t any murderous hitchhikers prowling.

Needless to say, I was a bit late for work on Monday morning. My editor is very forgiving.

After arriving back in the real world, having spent four days doing solely fantastic things — camping, experiencing live music, being with friends, drinking almost-cold beer and whiskey — can seem utterly surreal. As is the case with any festival, half of me feels like Rothbury didn’t really happen.

And maybe that’s the best part of a summer festival. It’s certainly not a vacation — very little about running around in the sun all day and standing in the middle of a 30,000 person crowd is relaxing — but it is a journey. Unless you dropped enough acid Thursday night to knock out Hunter S. Thompson and stayed in your tent all weekend, you’re bound to come away from a festival with some wild stories.

Staggering around the neon-lit, sculpture-laden head trip that was Rothbury’s Sherwood Forest at 4am on Saturday night, surrounded by every variety of insanity, is an experience that’ll stick with me. So was trekking through the dancing crowd, for what seemed like an eternity, towards my friends’ tiny green flag bobbing like a buoy in a hurricane.

You know the moment in any shipwreck movie where the desperate, stranded characters finally connect with the plane and get saved? It felt a lot like that, but instead of being a tiny speck in the ocean, I was a tiny dude in a sea of flailing arms and swinging dreadlocks.

Oh, yeah, and I saw The Dead. An alien spacecraft could’ve landed on stage right and vaporized half the crowd and I wouldn’t have noticed.

Rothbury 2009 wasn’t a taste-making festival like Bonnaroo — few of the acts will blow up the blog world — but that was its appeal. There was no overhyping, no cooler-than-thou sentiments, just positive energy emanating from some of the most positive, unpretentious music out there.

Now I know you’re saving your money for the Pitchfork Fest, Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot, but give a true hippie festival a try.

Your soul and mind, thoroughly worked out, will thank you. Your body, on the other hand, will be begging for a nap.

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