Monday, September 21, 2015

Farm Aid 30

The word that comes to mind most often for this summer, and most weekends, has been whirlwind. That applied to Saturday, when I went to both a Cubs game against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Farm Aid 30 concert at Northerly Island.
Graham and I didn't get the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion until almost 7 when Imagine Dragons was playing. My friend had given me a ticket to Farm Aid to accompany him during his visit, and I had purchased Graham's ticket separately. Both were lawn tickets, but mine said to enter through Gate 3, and his said Gate 2. I didn't think it would be a big deal that our tickets had different gates because they were both general admission. I was wrong. Apparently the tickets won't scan at the other gates. We had to walk around to opposing sides of the venue to enter separately. We planned to find each other, but as soon as I walked in I knew it would be a challenge. It was Mud Fest 2015. Lesson 1: Wear rain boots if it has rained recently. Every inch of the ground was occupied with muddy revelers. I told Graham to stay where he was and I'd make my way to him. I carefully stepped through the crowd, stopping midway to listen to Imagine Dragons. 
We were pretty far from the stage, but look at that skyline!
A couple stopped next to me to take a break. They gave me a sympathetic look and I said, "I just want to give up." I was a bit dramatic. I finally found Graham. We decided to get into the ATM line because he was hungry. The ATM we were in line for malfunctioned after we had waited for about 20 minutes, so we were forced to switch to the next line. Lesson 2: Bring cash. 
Things got a little better once we bought food. Organic veggie corn dogs? Sold! I ended up eating two that night. Funnel cake? Yes, please. We found a section next to the food booths that wasn't as muddy to stand and watch the show. Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds were on by then. The music was amazing, as expected. Dave went on and on about a spider spinning a web on his face. 
We people watched and listened to John Mellencamp and Neil Young. Highlights of people-watching:
  • A drunken girl decided to do interpretive dance/ballet through the mud with a beer in hand. She fell in the mud, spilled her drink, and ran away.
  • A guy stumbles over out of nowhere, crashes into the mustard and ketchup table next to the corn dog booth, gets up and stumbles away.
  • A woman stumbles along in the deep mud, sees the corn dog booth and heads straight for it. She stumbles away with corn dog in hand and nearly falls twice.
  • A couple argue about the guy wanting to walk through the mud and his lady friend refusing to walk through it. He went ahead to try to find the areas safest to walk. But she refused to move.
  • A woman eating her corn dog drops it in the mud, shrugs and heads to the ice cream truck.
I enjoyed the music and came away with a deeper appreciation for the artists. Lesson 3: Let it go. If you didn't wear rain boots (like me), get over the fact that you have mud all over your feet and/or shoes. People who had worn flipflops had taken them off and just walked barefoot. People who wore white  you're so brave!  didn't seem to care. It was still fun!

Lesson 4: Learn more about the cause. Farm Aid is not just a concert; it has a message. It aims to help family farmers and promote changes in farm policy. I want to become more knowledgeable about how our food is produced and more mindful about what I put in my body. (Says the girl who ate funnel cake and veggie corn dogs ...)

Overall I had a great time at my first Farm Aid concert. Have you ever been to one?
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