I went to Utopiafest by myself this summer and had a noteworthy time. I saw one of the best performances of my life (Explosions in the Sky), I enjoyed a very quiet camp site in the middle of this giant crater-like field, I was able to forage for Texas Persimmons, one of my good friends from Austin surprised me there, and the list goes on!
But in short, the 5,000 person cap made a palpable difference in the atmosphere of the festival. I try to treat myself every year to at least one of these events.
I enjoy live music, and I don’t mind massive crowds, and I love meeting up with friends I haven’t seen in some time to share these experiences with.
Scheduling conflicts made joining my friends this year difficult so I settled for the festival closest to home and I think I’m going to have to work harder to convince my NY friends to come down to Texas next summer.
I will say one of the things that turns me off the most towards music festivals are the often obscenely long lines to Porta-Johns and it’s not because of the biological necessity, but because to me it signals poor civil engineering and I did not encounter this problem once at Utopia. One year at Bonnaroo, these things were just overflowing and I found an exposed needle in one of the urinals and was subsequently traumatized.
As far as I can recall, there was only one negativity that occurred at Utopiafest. There was one man there, a bald fellow about 5’10”, about 185 lbs. who was the only one that I know of that routinely spread negative energy within the crowd. I remember him being the only person looking away from the stage during a performance and staring down this poor woman who he might have been trying to catch the attention of earlier. Another time, I saw another man threaten to get physical with the bald fellow until a friend pulled away the irritated man. I bring this up to show you there was literally only one strange human at this event, and I imagine most learned to steer clear of him.
Throughout Utopiafest, I couldn’t help but think about the book I read in college by Thomas More named “Utopia,” and what exactly we strive for in our everyday.
“Kindness and good nature unite men more effectually and with greater strength than any agreements whatsoever, since thereby the engagements of men’s hearts become stronger than the bond and obligation of words.”
–Thomas More, Utopia (1516)
Campsite complete with tiny charcoal grill, breakfast fixins’ and some cold brew!
I fried those tortillas in the bacon fat…woah, mama. Had to share some of these with neighbors.
Got to try my hand at Frisbee Golf. This was the last hole, a monster downhill shot towards the festival grounds. Probably a 200 yard hole.
The kind gentlemen that taught me their sport. These guys were actually big time players (the fellow all the way to the right won the tournament).
The slip and slide was short-lived but did not tear in vain.
Had these chicken thigh strips marinating in Sweet Baby Ray’s and a dash of Tamari for about 36 hours.
I found some new neighbors and offered some finger food and the boy in the blue was actually a vegetarian but upon being offered the chicken skewer, accepted. His mom gasped and said he hadn’t eaten meat in years and he loved it! They had seen my personal chef information on the back of my car so I imagine there was a deeper sense of trust within my little offering.
REI set up cooking stations. Once my ice had finally melted, I brought the rest of my bacon and cooked it at these stations and handed out deliciously fried bacon to many hungry and thankful festival goers. It was the first time in my life where I felt like a bacon fairy and will not be the last.
Beautiful bracelets by a new friend.
Front stage for the Holiday Mountain Queen! Always such a blast.