Tripping the light fantastic: Manifestivus 2011

I made it until quite late in life before attending a multiday music festival.  But, my wife Eva wanted to go to the Manifestivus in nearby Cabot, Vermont... and it seemed like a reasonable thing to do, so off we went.

Accomodations:  A crowded tent city in a pasture.  The weather during the day was great -- sunny and hot -- but rain showers moved through on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Some attendees were too inebriated to pitch tents properly and consequently suffered badly in the cold hard rain that blew through early Sunday morning.  We (being rather sober) managed to keep dry, thankfully.

Bread and Puppet added an ethereal touch to the event with oversized puppet figures moving through the venue at irregular intervals.

More giant puppet strangeness -- at night the effect was heightened.

Brett Dennen headlining on Saturday night -- after a hot day there was a beautiful sunset and the temperature dropped rapidly -- it was almost cool. Brett Dennen described the Manifestivus as a Vermont-size Burning Man festival... which I guess is a good description of what was going on, not that that I have ever been to Burning Man.

Afro-jam band Toubab Krewe playing on Saturday night.  I remember that the first two numbers they played were fast and furious and featured cigar-box guitars and other homemade instruments -- it was quite unique. Unfortunately after these numbers things got very Phishy with long meandering jams consisting of guitars interminably following bass lines. But it was still a good time...

A giant bonfire was lit at about 11:30 on Saturday night... but that was not the end of the show, which continued far into the night.

I've discovered, that all subcultures have their own mores, symbols of rank and achievement, patois, and expected behaviors:  This holds true for road racers, mountain bikers, hikers, theater people, and (apparently) the substance-ingesting young people who regularly attend such events. Camping in the crowded, damp and messy tent city for two nights, it was funny to be exposed to a new subculture, I almost felt like an anthropologist among the natives of Polynesian islands or something.

All in all it was a fun event and I'd go back -- but also don't think I'll buy an old VW van and start following the festival scene all over the country any time soon, either.

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