Mountain Aire 2002 | Calaveras County Fairgrounds | Angels Camp, CA | May 25 & 26, 2002
Good vibes under the sun and moon and stars: two first-time fest goers tell their tales of Mountain Aire.
After hearing all the negative hype about this festival's past, I was slightly wary about my first Mountain Aire experience. Let's just say I experienced very little of the bad and much more of the good. We decided to leave early on Friday morning to get a good, shady camping spot. We arrived two hours before the gate opened, so we hung out at the "Glory Hole" (which is the funniest name for a camp store, ever) and waited for the gates to open. First we heard 3:00pm, then 2:15. It seemed like the old cluster-F was going to happen. We got in and were forced to park in the topmost lot, out in the blazing sun. So we said "screw this," parked the car and ran down the hill with tents in hand, looking for the perfect spot. And we found it! Right under three huge trees, we roped off a huge camping area. Eventually I was able to move my car near the tent. This little annoyance was the only one of the fest. Pretty soon more friends arrived. We had room for all of them and more!
Friday afternoon and evening were spent pounding beers, walking around and bumping into all the other music freaks we know. There was a huge bonfire every night, with sculptures and other trippy toys, so I spent some time there chilling out. We noticed that the crowds weren't as plentiful as we thought. And no nitrous tanks or other weird sketchy stuff... yet. Late night music was Vinyl. They did not impress me, more like generic funk (and I'm a snob when it comes to the funk!). It was fun to just walk around and take it all in. Got a decent night's sleep on day one, which was a surprise. The vibe was so mellow, and everyone was friendly and smiling throughout the weekend.
Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a bowl across my head...
Snagged the perfect blanket spot just above the dirt pit dance floor. We had this for the whole fest! We were basically eye level with the stage, and almost dead center. If you wanted to go down and ride the rail, you could do so easily.
First band up was Derek Trucks. I did notice the sound was perfect all weekend. Bass and drums were mic'd perfectly. Derek's band, however, failed to impress me. Derek is a very good guitarist, but his songs aren't that great. Too much like the Allmans Brothers Band.
Next up, Beth Orton. She is a singer/songwriter from England who told raunchy jokes between songs and used words like "brilliant" and "cheers." Her music was way too melancholy for the hippie vibe at the fest, but she has a great voice and would be appealing in a different setting.
John Prine was the next act, and surprised me with his Dylan-esque lyrics and song style. Great storytelling, with dark lyrics. Excellent music to chill out on a blanket under the blazing sun. A definite surprise highlight of the fest for me.
Les Claypool's Frog Brigade played an inspired set at 5pm. This stripped-down version of the band is probably the best incarnation I have seen so far. No keys, but the addition of Mike Dillion on percussion. Mike D was dressed as a knight, and Skerik had on a hysterical monk/devil outfit. These two wackos were cracking us up with their stage antics, and while Skerik was a bit reserved, Mike D was tearing up the vibes on every song. He did a whole vibes jam with his helmet on backwards, and kept spinning the helmet one quarter turn to the right between jam hand-offs. It was one of those schwirly things that sticks in your mind. Toward the end of the set was the best "Thela Hun Ginjeet" I have ever heard. Incredible jamming that caused my friend to let out an ear-piercing shreek of joy! I know Les was getting off on it. Then Les brought out the Whamola, his custom bass, and next thing you know Trey is coming out on stage for a three-way jam session with Skerik and Les. Les had this EVIL smile on his face, as he egged on the other two to keep up. It was an incredible set!
Ween: This was my first time seeing them, and I was impressed. I was only familiar with their radio stuff, so I was suprised to hear them rock the crowd the way they did. We did get a nice "Roses Are Free," without Trey. Some of my friends joked that I look like Ween's bass player. I guess that's not a bad thing...
Trey: Night 1
Trey's band has become MUCH tighter, and the songs have grown into monster jam vehicles. First off, this band is way more psychedelic than the last band, and the horns are super tight. I found myself focusing more on the music and the lights, and dancing less. There was so much interplay that was lost if you lowered your focus, and the orchestration was really incredible. The horns filled in the holes during the extended jams, but I found myself getting into the trio format much more (or trio + percussion). Highlights were "Cayman Review" with Derek Trucks, and "Night Speaks to a Woman" with Trucks and Clickety-Clackety-Claypool. I would love to see Claypool sit in for a whole show with TAB. After the encore, the Extra Action Marching Band joined TAB and just got crazy onstage. Forty-plus people, horns blaring, and some risque sexual moves by the female members of the band. Then they pushed through the crowd and led us into the late-night venue. It was really intense!
Late-night was Perry Farrell spinning some house, garage house or whatever you want to call it. Really tripped out lights and projections, combined with a baby powder coated floor, made this a tripper's paradise. The baby powder was too much though, and after breathing in a pound of dust over the day, I had to get out of there. We ended up hanging out with some of the Galactic crew 'til well past sunrise. It was one of those incredibly goofy nights where every word was funny. And yes, there was now Nitrous available.
Chilled around the shaded camp for a while. Now the "sketchy" factor had started to appear. All through Saturday, more and more "vendors" started showing up. We even had a boxing match set up right next to our tent area. First it was two "wookies" fighting with boxing gloves. Then they started pulling in people off the street. It finally ended with this HUGE older hippie dude just manhandling the wookie. Score one for the hippies!! Oh, did I mention that we had late-night jam sessions by StrungOver, Jamie Janover and Jethro Jeremiah in the "boxing spot"?
Robert Randolph was good, but I was kinda tired and it was hot under the glaring sun, so I just chilled and watched the show. I think a lot of people were in the same frame of mind, so not many people were up and dancing. So Robert launches into his little speech about getting off your ass. It didn't go over very well. However, he did show us how to march. It was a very enjoyable set to just look around and take it all in.
They played Frank Zappa's Hot Rats between Randolph and Galactic's set, which was perfect as we waited for the highlight of my fest to begin. Galactic rocked the house, like only they can, with special guests Will Bernard on "Doo Rag" with a weird disco outro, and Robert Randolph sitting in on Hendrix's "Little Miss Lover" and "Shibuya." During "Little Miss Lover" Randolph and Stanton locked into a groove, it got crazy, and then Robert threw his black hat at Stanton, who flipped it on his head without missing a beat. He then stood up to perform one of his "Moore-gasms" and fell backwards into the stack of speakers. It was that intense! Houseman busted out a "Rainy Day Women" which was perfect for this festival: "Everybody must get stoned!" A huge cloud of dust hung over the stage by the end of the show as the funk-drenched crowd finally got going.
Elvis Costello was really good. He played some of his past hits, like "Allison" and "Pump It Up," and a few new songs from his recent album. Good stuff! I missed Particle to see Elvis play, but I guess I would have had more fun at Particle.
Trey: Night 2
Trey was better on Night 2, especially the part where Will Bernard sat in on a 32 minute "Last Tube." Will just lit a fire under Trey, and produced an amazing guitar duel. Trey was really getting off watching Will play. I heard Trey play with a fury I haven't experienced since the days of Phish. This show was a little more rocking, with Trey jumping around like a maniac and doing his conductor thing. He also had that shit-eating grin on his face for most of the show. "Burlap Sack and Pumps" was particularly hot on this night, as was a tight version of "Push on 'Til the Day." Trey told us he didn't want to leave, as it was a beautiful scene playing under the full moon with the mountains in the background.
Stanton Moore sat in with Particle for the first 20 minutes or so of their late-night set. They announced the Particle late-night show before Trey's set, so everyone was psyched to have some live music for the wee wee hours between night and day. The Extra Action Marching Band then did this huge procession through the whole campground at 2am, playing their twisted version of brass/marching band + rave beats. They stopped right next to our campsite, and played for about 10 minutes before moving on.
Mountain Aire was so much better than I thought it would be, and a great warm-up for festival season. If I could make one suggestion to make next year's fest perfect, I would say put on a better late-night show. Live bands, no DJs!! Let's hope BGP brings it back again next year.
JamBase | San Francisco
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This was by far one of the most chill festivals I’ve ever been to. People were partying, that’s for sure, but were very relaxed; even the few wiggers we encountered over the weekend were pretty harmless and not so in-your-face. We became friendly with our neighbors: some nice kids from Eugene on one side, and a cool group from San Francisco and Portland that was like a bizarro version of our own SF/P-town crew. There was lots of good music pumping throughout the campground, and you could even hear the main stage from our campsite (a.k.a. Shantytown) under the trees.
And how about that lineup? This year’s Mountain Aire featured an impressive, diverse array of artists ranging from acoustic to funk to jazz to straight-up rock 'n' roll. Just looking at the roster you could play connect-the-dots between the performers, so special guests appearances were highly anticipated. There were quite a few great and fitting guest spots: Trey with Les, Derek Trucks with Trey, Les with Trey, Robert Randolph with Galactic, and Will Bernard with Galactic and with Trey, and Stanton Moore with Particle. All of the musicians threw down some fine performances, and the crowd at this intimate gathering was digging it. While I didn’t catch any of the music on the side stages, there was plenty of quality entertainment in the main stage to keep me happy for two days.
SATURDAY | 05.25.02
The music kicked off with Clan Dyken, an eccentric-looking world music group that have previously played Mountain Aire. The show started early – well, early for us late-night folks anyway (11:30am). But we did bust a move to catch the second half of the Derek Trucks Band’s set. I’ve seen this whippersnapper play with the Allmans, so I know he really kicks it on guitar, but I had yet to check out his own band. Needless to say, their performance at Mountain Aire was rockin’. There was a good crowd boogying up front, but we just sat back on the lawn and enjoyed the tunes. Toward the end of their set DTB delivered a lovely rendition of Bob Marley’s “Rastaman Chant.” Earlier I would have been hard-pressed to imagine this song without the actual chant, but Derek’s lilting guitar carried the melody just fine. They finished up their set with some more boppin’ tunes that kept the crowd going, and ended their performance on a very upbeat note. Good morning.
Beth Orton took the stage took the stage shortly after DTB. (On a related note, the music flowed nicely, and the interim tunes broadcast during the setbreaks sounded good. Setbreaks were manageable, just long enough for you to head back to camp, if needed, to replenish on food and water and even knock back a beer or more.) Lovely British lass Beth Orton and her band put out a solid set, and I really dig her husky voice. The band delivered some nice slow ballads before launching into more hard-driving numbers, and we decided to head to the front to check it out. Just in time, too, as Beth politely asked people to get up and shake it just as we made it front and center. From that vantage point I felt more connected to her music, and the crowd was into it too, especially the scruffy guy covered in the brown dust that permeated the fairgrounds. (He was my pick-to-click for the most fucked-up at that hour.) At the end of her band’s performance, Beth yelled “Thank you, all you hippies!” which got a chuckle from the crowd.
Beth Orton was a good choice of performer to precede John Prine. For those who haven’t seen this folk strongman, he really is a consummate performer and one of the best songwriters around. His simple but profound lyrics hit home, and he and his band were superb. This was more of a sit-down set for me, but I was definitely feelin’ it from my spot on the lawn. Prine’s grainy, distinct voice carries just the right emotion for his songs, especially “Lake Marie” which breaks my heart every time I hear it. “Angel From Montgomery” is another of my favorites, and their rendition on this day was breathtaking. Prine finished the set with “Sam Stone,” a song about a drug-addicted war hero, then wished us all a happy Memorial Day. This simple gesture from a gentle but powerful performer really struck a chord with me (and others in the crowd, I’m sure), and all of a sudden I felt lucky to be in such a beautiful place with my kind crew and great music all around.
Then came Les. Whoa. Colonel Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade (who came to life at Mountain Aire 2000) were relentless. I found myself again at the front of the stage, but this time banging my head to those ripping bass lines. Les, looking very dapper and in his usual form, stormed the stage and taunted the audience. At one point he spotted a fest-goer in an enormous green foam hat (hard to miss) and proclaimed, “Man in the big green hat, you are a unique individual!” (Les would know.) But back to the music: these guys kicked ass. Percussionist Mike Dillon, from Critters Buggin, is truly sick. I couldn’t stop watching him, even among such a cast of characters and freak musicians as the Frog Brigade. And Skerik – looking like Disco Devil Bishop on his nightly jog (did you check out the shoes on that guy?) – was in true Skerik form. "It's a scorcher, Colonel!" he proclaimed in a thick brogue. When Les invited him to express himself via his sax, Skerik did just that. The Brigade tore in a super hard-driving rendition of King Crimson’s “Thela Hun Ginjeet,” then Trey took the stage! At first he seemed a little unsure of where to go, turning his head between Les and Skerik as if to see just what was going on. I guess if I was standing between Les and Skerik, I wouldn’t know where the hell to turn. But Trey got his bearings and “set fire to his guitar,” as Les threatened he would, and the subsequent jam was fantastic, a great finish to a strong set.
We went back to the campsite to down a few cocktails and other party favors, but hurried back so as not to miss Ween’s set. (I would’ve kicked myself if they played “Baby Bitch” and I missed out.) All I have to say about Ween is – what the fuck. These guys are completely goofy onstage, and yet they’re undeniably solid musicians. I’ve seen them just once before and so know that they cover just about any genre… and they do it well. Ween is very heavy-metal at times – I caught myself throwing out the devil’s horn hand signal, which I rarely do at shows - and yet they pour out the ballad-type tunes with real emotion. And yes, they played “Baby Bitch”! And “Roses Are Free” and lots of other fine tunes from Chocolate and Cheese, as well as numerous Ween crowd-pleasers. (One of our crew's favorites was "Bananas and Blow," from White Pepper. Though we weren't exactly stuck in a cabana South of the border, this song's happy-go-lucky chorus became our theme for the rest of the weekend.) Some folks seemed surprised and disappointed that Trey didn’t join Ween, especially for the frequent Phish cover “Roses Are Free.” But their set kicked my ass, and after their performance I was pumped and charged, even after partying and hanging out in the hot sun all day. Even among the vast and diverse array of music out there today, these guys stand out as true originals, and their live shows do not disappoint. OK, I’ve only seen them twice. But really, they don’t disappoint.
It was full-on nighttime by the end of Ween’s set, and nearly time for the Trey band to take the stage. There was a lot of anticipation – and trepidation – for this performance. I was hoping for the best, though I was not blown away by the Trey band shows I saw last summer. (These were especially disappointing after the excellent show we caught at the State Theater in Cleveland in February, 2001 when Trey had just added the horn section.) Suffice to say, even our friends who were lukewarm on the Trey band were very impressed. This band really threw down. What a crew of musicians: keyboardist Ray Paczkowsi and percussionist Cyro Baptista (the most recent recruits) are real stand-outs, Paczkowsi bouncing around while hitting all the right notes and crazy man Baptista pulling out about every percussive instrument you can think of. Of course drummer Russ Lawton is no slouch; he and the other original Trey band member Tony Markellis (bass) kept the rhythm solid among all the joyous mayhem. (It would have been great to see Markellis bust out a tune with his deep voice, as he’s done in the past, but I respect the fact that he hangs back with his steady bass lines. Maybe next time around…) And that horn section? Very nice. Our man Russ Remington plays a lovely flute, in addition to a mean sax, and sax man Peter Apfelbaum (a name familiar to jazz heads) is one to watch, even as he occasionally set aside his brass for a little tambourine action. Of course the mainstay Trey band horns - trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick, alto saxophonist Dave Grippo and trombonist Andy Moroz – were fabulous. Trey rounded up a cast of stellar musicians for this tour, and it really showed in their performance. Even though the newest members were added just months ago this band sounded much, much tighter and much more energetic than in last year’s shows.
“Money, Love and Change” was rockin’, and then Derek Trucks joined the band for “Cayman Review,” an irresistibly bouncy tune and one of my favorites off the album. It was during this number that I felt pulled, once again, to the front of the stage. However, it was so packed up there that we had to settle by the side among the rising brown dust. But even there people were gettin’ down! Good energy down in the dust cloud. Derek sounded great with Trey; that was a real highlight of the set. As was a cameo appearance by our boy Les Claypool during “Night Speaks to a Woman,” another funky tune off the new album. Then after this came “Sand,” which really threw the dancers into a tweaky frenzy. Mighty fine rendition of that most excellent song. Every tune was solid, really, and then the troupe ended the night with “In the Wee Wee Hours” which brought the entire Extra Action Marching Band to the stage. One by one the Trey band members eased out of the light, and then the all 40+ members of EAMB took over, eventually spilling into the audience with their funked-out marching band extravaganza. They literally drove right through the lawn, waking up the sleeping couple on our left (too much fun in the sun, perhaps) and proceeding to drive through the audience to their late-night gig at the “dance hall.” “That’s about the funkiest marching band I’ve ever seen,” our pal Ricky proclaimed. “Nicely done!”
After regrouping at the campsite, we returned to the dance hall to check out Peretz, a.k.a. Perry Farrell and Alex Graham. Perry was looking good – very fit and not so strung-out – and he and his boy laid down some nice grooves. There were five or six artists creating visuals on the walls of the hall, with psychedelic liquid formations and other crazy visuals, as well as fire dancers who were very, very captivating. They were beautiful to watch, enough to make me want to take up fire dancing (if only to look like that). Overall it was a cool late-night scene. People were grooving all around the big room, and even at the wee hours no one was getting too out-of-hand. Some of the players were also checking out the scene: Skerik could be seen wandering through the crowd, and our pals Dean and Nicole spotted Trey just outside the doors of the dance hall. They got to thank him and shake his hand before a crowd swarmed on the poor guy.
We wandered out to where this incredible sculpture was taking place – a large rotating metal creation emanating hypnotic sounds. On one end a woman was lying on her back, deep in relaxation, while a dude pumped out sounds based on the energy he was feeling. “Pretty amazing, huh?” a gal next to me said. She had seen the sculpture before (as Nicole had too, at a fair in Eugene) and told me that there was a one-and-a-half-hour wait to experience this thing. I’d never seem anything like it before.
As if that wasn’t enough, we turned around and who do we see but Eenor from Les’s band, with his signature blond dreads, warming up his guitar with a drummer and bassist in tow. They poured out some mesmerizing numbers, complete with more fire dancers to enhance the mood (must… try… fire dancing…). Having spent a long day at the fest, we then decided to head back to our campsite where I nearly passed out from exhaustion.
SUNDAY | 05.26.02
I was pretty tired and strung-out when the blazing sun hit our tent, and sadly missed NoCal favorites the Mother Hips, who opened the fest Sunday morning, and Cornershop. This latter group is a British duo that has been touted by Mr. David Byrne and toured with Los Lobos and Beck; talk about credentials. I was even more bummed out when our friends returned with glowing reviews. “Top notch,” Ricky said (and he’s a picky bastard when it comes to music, bless his heart). Here’s more on Cornershop from our boy:
“The live sitarist, an Indian gal who sat on the left side of the stage, added great texture and a ‘worldly’ feel to the music. But the lead singer was a bit pretentious. He just stood and stared at the crowd for much of the show as he sipped on red wine. He had the look on his face like he had never seen a crowd or gathering like that before. He just walked off the stage at the end when the band was still playing, with only the slightest acknowledgement of the crowd. Great spacey, textured, psychedelic pop but the lead singer is too aloof. But that's just my humble opinion.”
More rave reviews on Robert Randolph & the Family Band, with Robert’s wicked pedal steel, cousin Danyel’s thumping bass, cousin Marcus’s energetic drumming and honorary “cousin” John’s righteous Hammond. It’s fun to see these church-going punks from New Jersey stirring up the mainly white audience, getting them to do “the march” (Robert’s favorite audience participation move) and shake it in general. “RR and Cousins are always way down-to-earth and very engaging: a perfect band for a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon to lift the spirits even higher,” said Ricky, noting Robert’s choice of a bright orange shirt that seemed to reflect their fiery delivery.
NOLA funksters Galactic played the late afternoon show (or “twilight set,” as Hawk coined it), which for me was one of the highlights of the whole festival. I’ve been transported by Galactic on several occasions, but their performance at Mountain Aire was really spectacular. Maybe they were just hot off the heels of their set at the Sasquatch Festival the previous day. Whatever it was, they were definitely on. From the moment they took the stage, they pumped out the serious funk and folks were gettin’ down and dirty on the brown dirt “dance floor.” Galactic blew it out with some raunchy instrumental numbers – including a combination “Bobski-Jeffe” jam with great sax work by our man Ben Ellman - before Houseman took the stage. Houseman seemed pretty laid-back (for Houseman, that is) and led the troupe through a spirited rendition of “Yes We Can.” SF-based jazz guitarist Will Bernard joined the boys for “Doo Rag,” and what ensued was an insane guitar extravaganza with Jeff Raines and bassist Robert Mercurio. Back to more Houseman who (acknowledging the crowd, no doubt) led everyone through a rolling version of Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” Then who should appear but Mr. Robert Randolph (sporting a black bowler hat), who proceeded to tear it up on his pedal steel. RR and Galactic is a good combo: not only did the young fella push Galactic’s guitarists just a little more toward to the edge, his sick pedal steel was a fine complement to Rich Vogel’s supreme keyboards. At one point a triumphant Stanton Moore (who somehow nabbed Robert’s black hat) practically jumped on top of his drum kit and just beat it out with pure abandon. They closed the set with “Shibuya,” a real ripping number. After Galactic’s performance we practically bounced out of the fairgrounds, amped up from the high-octane groove-funk-soul we just experienced. Hawk said that this was the best show he’s seen since Sector 9 in Santa Cruz in March, and if you were lucky enough to be at that show, then you know that’s saying A LOT. But as much great music as we’ve seen since moving to San Francisco, I think he's right on that.
I was really looking forward to the next band, Elvis Costello & The Imposters. I had never seen Elvis Costello perform, but I know he’s a great songwriter and a real original. His set comprised classic favorites (such as “Allison” and “Radio, Radio”) and tunes from his new album, When I Was Cruel. The title song was a dark, haunting number that featured this eerie, almost Indian-sounding loop for added effect. “You know the type of person who will shake the world by its ankles, just to get whatever change falls out?” Elvis asked the crowd. “Ever wonder what the inside of that person’s head sounds like? Well, that is this song.” (Yes, I know exactly what he’s talking about.) The former Declan Patrick Mac Manus delivered a fine set and his band was quality, moving easily between sweet ballads and driving rock. His music evoked many moods within the set – he sounded creepy and menacing one moment, then melancholy at the next turn. And at times his band just flat-out rocked. They really tore it up for the encore, the bopping “Pump It Up” that had the whole crowd shaking its thing. Very solid performance.
Once again, it was time for Trey band to take the stage, and they were even more on fire this night. They opened with “Mozambique,” then launched into the psychedelic, Beatles-esque “Mr. Completely” (an old Trey-penned tune and another of my favorites off the new album). Then our buddy Will Bernard joined the band for “Last Tube,” he and Trey furiously trading licks. It’s great to watch another guitarist give Trey a run for his money! This was certainly one of the most fitting and satisfying guest appearances of the festival. After Will left the stage, the band continued on with its upbeat big-band-swing-jazz party, which came into full-swing with the irresistible “Push On 'Til The Day” that closed the set.
As Trey & Co. returned for an encore, you could see and hear the tour bus backing up to the stage, ready to load equipment and hit the road. “Our bus driver wants us to get off the stage and on to San Diego,” Trey informed the crowd. “But we’re not ready to go just yet. So we’re gonna play a while longer!” No objections from the crowd, needless to say. Trey mentioned that he wanted to try out some new material, and the band broke into “Discern” and “Burlap Sack and Pumps.” Trey had played the latter tune in previous shows on the tour, a rollicking number with the entire band calling out the words. Once again our skeptical friends were won over. And though we thoroughly enjoyed the show, it was clear that even we weren’t having nearly as much fun as Trey, who at times stopped ripping on his guitar to boogie around the stage. It was really a jubilant display that sent us off into the night on a high note.
Back to Shantytown for replenishments, and then onto what would be our final hour: Particle’s late night show in the dance hall. (Apparently Particle made a mad dash to Mountain Aire from The Big Wu Family Reunion, where no doubt they rammed a jolt through the minds of those nice Wu kids.) These guys hit the stage with their tweaky, spacey groove - “space porn funk,” as they call it - and didn’t let up. At the start young Stanton Moore snuck up onstage to jam with the boys. (If Trey was having more fun than anyone else at the festival, then Stanton was certainly next in line.) They blew it out for a while, with the crowd a mass of twirling bodies, and when Stanton stepped down Particle continued to kick it. While the expressions on their faces were almost somber at times, their music was driven and ultra high-energy - good stuff for our late-night crew.
By the time Particle disbanded we were ready for sleep. It had been two days and nights of quality entertainment, not to mention partying in the hot sun, and Hawk and I did not want to be the last to leave the festival grounds, as we usually are…
MONDAY | 05.27.02
Well, we were almost the last ones to leave the fairgrounds. Eventually we packed it up, bid good-bye to our Portland friends and got ready to head back to SF. The grounds were looking pretty clean by the time folks cleared out; it’s good to know that people are conscious and looking after the scene. This was my first West Coast festival since becoming a full-on California resident, and it was a great experience all around. We met many nice music-lovers, didn’t have any really bad encounters with spun-out tweakers, didn’t hear TOO many nitrous blasts at our end of the campground, discovered that Nutella (a chocolate and hazelnut spread that makes for delicious goo-balls) is a tour staple, saw some excellent performances and left Angels Camp feeling divine. What a way to spend a lovely Memorial Day Weekend.
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