context – forgetting to write about Riot Fest

I was apparently so upset about how Riot Fest turned out that I forgot to write about Riot Fest.

Let me preface this by saying that the lineup, all in all, was very good.  I had exactly one conflict, Andrew WK and Jawbreaker, that I solved by not seeing either.  It was the right choice, but a choice that 18 year Jason is forever raging about.

The thing about a music festival, if flying solo, is that is can be a wildly isolating experience.  I had friends scheduled to come with, mostly on Saturday but friends for all 3 days none-the-less, but a last minute wedding required a last minute bachelorette party, so I was flying solo all weekend.

I ran into a friend from my last job, and we hung for a while like the best of ’em, but we had our own agendas and priorities, so we parted ways quite early on Sunday.  I don’t think we actually saw anything together.

The day started off strong with the best set I’ve ever seen Say Anything play, followed by my new favorite band, Cap’n Jazz (their cover of “Take on Me” is LEGENDARY).  But between not knowing Cap’n Jazz super well and having had mixed experiences in the crowd on Day 2, I didn’t want to burn out early when I had such a big decision coming up later in the night.  I spent most of my afternoon reading while bands played around me.

I got to hear Pennywise play that one Pennywise song I know.  I saw like 20 minutes of TV on the Radio.  But somewhere in that set I realized that try as I might I just don’t care that much about TV on the Radio.  And after checking the schedule it was a good two and a half hours until Andrew WK started, and even longer until Jawbreaker.  I could have seen Paramore in an hour and a half, but I didn’t really want to see Paramore.

But I still had the big choice to make: in the one hand I love Andrew WK, he’s 35% of the reason I come to Riot Fest at all, my wife and I played two different versions of “Party Hard” at our wedding–that’s how much he means to me; but in the other hand was arguably the biggest punk/emo reunion in the history of the genre, I love “Boxcar” more than I love most AWK songs, and while I’m largely unfamiliar with the rest of their music, I’ve liked everything I’ve heard.  So instead of waiting two and a half hours to worry about whether or not I made the wrong choice, I went home to get a good night’s sleep.

This was 100% the correct decision:  my new assistant started today and deserved more than a half-sleeping, sore-throated version of myself to wrangle.  First impressions are important and all that Government Work.  On top of that, my brother gets married this weekend and I still have to finish the ceremony I’m conducting and write a Best Man’s speech.  It’s going to be a crazy week, y’all.

I did what needed to be done, and I’ve never been more upset about it.  It’s the death of an era: an era where my friends all got jacked to see a bunch of bands we loved in high school, an era where potential future stories are more important than sleep, an era where my job didn’t take first priority in my decision-making tree.  So I came home early and ate most of a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and then pouted myself to sleep, which is why this is a day late.

I guess that this is growing up.