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  • Writer's pictureCraig Riddell

Bass, Beat and Repeat!


Wow! All of the stages are up and running…and so are my fellow festive campers. More lights, many more attendees…at this point I don’t know if they are here for the day or the rest of the weekend…its all a blur. The beat goes on and the big name DJs showed up to carry the festival to the next level.

I take some time to check out the vendors at the Grand Artique, a kind of old West town set-up at one end of the festival complete with saloon, and an open stage featuring “Real Bands.” Actual musicians are a bit of an oddity here at LIB but a welcome one for me.

The main focus of the Grand Artique (GA) is a large General Store featuring everything from gum to clothing. There are hundreds of odd and vintage hats, shirts and jackets. From Polish Secret Police apparel to lots of vaguely Western gear. There are toy guns, and real leather holsters, retro band t-shirts, and old cigerrette lighters. I think the Grand Artique might be my favorite area of the festival. Overall, there are probably 10,000 items from vintage clothes to shiny jewelry, badges, pins and really anything you might cull from a garage sale or going out of business sale.

From the sale bin I pick one of everything. A GA t-shirt, patch and scarf collectively they ring in at $11 and the nice young lady throws in sticker. Of course, I feel like I’ve gotten my deal of the day. Which encourages me to keep shopping.

I eventually select for purchase an old leather belt. However, at the Grand Artique for the most part things are unpriced and you have to haggle with the proprietor to come to a deal, barter is also encouraged. I like a haggle, but prefer that everything be priced prior. You know, so that I can tell If I won. At least it would be nice if some things were priced so you can get idea… is this a flea market or an estate sale. Not the case here at the GA. I ask about pricing and am told it depends.

The owner has the “eye” you want everything and he knows it! The belt for instance was contentious, I selected it from a pile of belts in a basket, and make my way to the proprietor to see about the price. He looks at it, holds it up in the air like a snake by the head, and asks me where I got it? I point to the basket of belts. He asks me what else I’ve purchase? I describe the t-shirt patch and scarf… which were some of the few items actually priced at the GA. Never less, he asked me how much I paid? Eleven dollars I state. Then he asks me how much I think I should pay for the belt? I say $10, he looks at me incredulously and says No Way! This is a hand tooled leather belt I probably paid $15 for it. I can’t sell it for $10, I’d have to get at least $20. I’m cheap but I’m think a belt and theater for $20, that’s not too bad. Hand tooled, yeah I guess, its pretty hard to tell given the age of the belt but it is fairly pliable and I happen to need a belt. So I agree.

At this point he hands it back to me then takes it back almost immediately. He says you know wait a second I think this is my belt! I’m thinking yes…that’s why Im trying to buy it from you. He puts it around his waist and says he thinks its one of his everyday belts. I’m just watching at this point, I say something lame, not sure what. He tries to fit it to his waist but he’s so thin there’s not enough notches to tighten it up. I jump in at this point, “It doesn’t fit!” “I don’t think thats your belt.” For me its kind of an OJ Simpson moment. He looks a bit disappointed but ends up selling me the belt. This is now my most treasured memorabilia from LIB.

Bass, beat and retreat…Its late, Im tired, so I head back to camp and crash. At this point it’s around 10:30pm when I bed down in Phil and fail to sleep for a few hours. Campers come and campers go and the beat goes on. I give up on the sleeping deal around 3:30 am and head back to the grounds…which is still banging away like that Duracell bunny. As a matter of fact that are quite a few bunnies out there, along with teddy bears, unicorns and trolls Cause kids like to play. The Zoo (a cafe venue) is abuzz with their variety show which starts according to their sign at 2:00am nightly. Most of the vendors are still-up cavorting and catering to the crowd…pretty much all of the food vendors, but some of the #Boothtiques too.

I dance a bit, and trudge around. Of course I’m exhausted but too tired to sleep. I continue walking through the fest. The cool kids are still dancing, pulling on each others tails, hoisting their totems and otherwise celebrating life. I haven’t talked about they are managing to stay up for what seems like 20 hour stretches. High on life, youth, pharmaceutically enhanced, all of the above. I however, am struggling at this point.

As I wander through the grounds I do manage to locate one of the last remaining mud pits from yesterday’s rain. Of course I decide to dive right in, backwards naturally so the other kids see I still have it! Think of a slippery floor and a banana peel and you’ll get the general idea. The kids love it, a few come rushing over to congratulate me (and check to see if Im still breathing). I get up, enhanced with a back full of mud, and muck which adds not only to my look but enhances my aroma. After acknowledging my fans I head back to camp to tell my campmates about the great adventure.

Halfway back I realize that I’m missing my chief blogging tool, my phone. At this point it seems unlikely that trudging back the mile or so to find the phone will have any positive results. It’s pitch dark minus the dazzling led lights flickering. Theres a few thousand or so people on the grounds and despite having recently woke up I’m exhausted. Never the less, we are in Neverland so I grasp the adventure and head on back to the tar pits. After 20 minutes or so I locate the general area… I think.

There is a large mud pit, however no sign of a phone. After traipsing around trying to locate my phone I finally resort to using pieces of garbage to poke around in the mud pit. Its a big pit and nothing turns up. A few of my fellow LIBers seem to enjoy the process and inquire as to my intentions. This is Lightning in a Bottle, so its just as possible that I be could initiating an art installation, helping out my fellow nocturnal creatures or that I just think mud is awesome. They seem fine with my explanation of having lost my phone and several relate similar stories of having recently lost their phones. One young lady hadn’t actually lost her phone, in that she knew where it was, in the bottom of a porta potty. She had decided it had found a better home and left it to its fate.

A couple LIBers helped me poke around the mud and the general area to no avail. At this point a beautiful young lady by the name of Grace who works one of the vendors took off her sandal and used her foot to search through the mud…That got other in attendance applauding both the spirit and ingenuity. At that point mud incrusted already, I shucked my sandals and decided to join the bare foot search of the mud. After five minutes or so I hadn’t found anything but had surrendered to the enjoyment of it all. Honestly, my feet had been destroyed by the festival, walking, dancing, yoga and whatever and the cool wet mud felt amazing.

Even if I found my phone at this point the likelihood of it having survive 30 minutes in the soupy mud meant that it would be functional more as memory or souvenir than as a communication device. I had just expressed that thought, when low and behold my feet found something. It didn’t really feel like a phone but I was feeling adventurous so I reached in dug around and eventually pulled it out. Eureka, my phone! Still lit up. I powered it down , thanked all in attendance and went to the the near by food booth which sold fried rice. They were kind enough to supply dried rice and a plastic bag which used to cradled the adventurous phone for 12hours or so. As of this writing the phone is a souvenir and a reminder of the adventure and still works as my chief bloging tool. Another minor miracle here..thanks Apple, Thanks LIB.

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