Welcome to Canada, eh?

By Jon Fox

Sunday, July 14, morning

First of all let's start backwards from 8:00 am this morning: Woken for the third night in a row by the rigging dudes in the trailer across the way who have nothing to do except get drunk all day, and all night, everyday, until they breakdown the stage tonight. As I realized that I couldn't get back to sleep untill I relieved myself, I went out the door to find these chums with two female twenty-somethings wearing only their shorts. The first one gazes up at me with a joint in her hand and says "Welcome to Canada eh?" Turns out that the riggers have been persuaded to take these girls up to main stage so their picture could be taken on stage with their tops off. Our rigging friends only condition on doing this is that they stay half-naked until they get them onstage....

We've been here since Wednesday and I hadn't yet ventured more than 100 yards from the Netcasting trailer since then; Most of the time has been spent sweating indoors with all the lights and equipment. I found that four in the morning, after a looooong day of putting up this amazing show to the Internet, was the ideal time to see how the other side was living- "out there."

Sure, I've heard them hooting and hollering until dawn each night with things such as "Tragically Hip!" to the response: "Whoaaaaaaa," but I found much more than I ever imagined. The campgrounds go as far as you can see in all directions. There are some with tents, some in R.V.'s, some just sleeping out under the stars, people who aren't able to find their tents again after the show, and numerous configurations in between.

In order to get around, the promoters have provided school buses that run 24 hours. There are clusters of lights on generators where people are hanging out, and bulletin boards, showers and porta-potties every half mile or so. Security is being done via the nineties version of Canadian Mounties- cops on dirtbikes. There are squads of medical units in glorified golf carts, a smattering of trinket and record shops and many food vendors that even stay open 24 hours.

The police and EMS personnel who were patrolling the grounds said that the crowd were a really mellow bunch, that there were really no violent outbreaks and the worst things they had to deal with were foolish pranks. Someone at the Music World record store told about one concert goer who went on massive buying binge. It was only after ringing up the grand total of $2000 that they found that the card was stolen.

The late evening entertainment included the usual hanky panky with new found loves, but football, frisbee, tire rolling, screaming at the top of your lungs for no particular reason, and campfire singalongs were available for those who didn't get quite so lucky. Of course there were no actual campfires allowed on the site, but the glow was just the same.

I'll leave you with the story of a group of nearly twenty people referring to themselves as the "Hole Men" who, sitting on the side of a dark evening hill, would occasionally burst into cheer for no apparent reason. Turns out those night howlers were prompted by the unsuspecting passers who would unknowingly fall into a large dark pit in the ground.

All this and more....

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