Thank you for last night. I can’t remember the last time I said that. It’s definitely been since before I moved to D.C.
I am writing you through my hangover from Virgin FreeFest 2011. I didn’t even drink (heavily) yesterday, but my body hurts like it’s March 18th, January 1st or Seis de Mayo. I have been to a concert or two and I have attended my fair share of festivals, but Virgin FreeFest was unique.
The crowd at FreeFest was like nothing I have ever seen. September 10th was an all-day party in Columbia, Md. ”Let Free Ring” was the phrase of the day and the fans made their appreciation of the free festival obvious. Black and red festival t-shirts from years past polka-dotted the festival grounds. People literally walked around speaking their love for the festival organizers.
The fans had good reason to praise. The music at FreeFrest was anything but cheap. The line up included the headliners The Black Keys, the popular blues duo from Ohio, and international DJ and portable one-man party, Deadmau5. TV on the Radio, Cee Lo Green, Cut Copy, Teddybears and, my personal favorite, Calvin Harris were some of the other 21 bands that rocked one of the free festival’s three stages.
I will say this, electronic music is dangerous at an all-day festival. There was an intimate stage tucked away in the woods that was affectionately dubbed (pun absolutely intended) The Dance Forrest.
Calvin Harris, followed by !!!, James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem), Teddybears, and if you were still breathing at this point, Deadmau5 was waiting at the Festival Stage to deliver the festival’s final blow. After an hour and half of Calvin Harris, I was ready to pass out from exhaustion. It was 5:00. By the time I got to see The Black Keys, it was a very mellow, sitting-on-the-lawn type experience.
Electronic music is quite selfish. If you choose to indulge, the DJ will not leave you with any life left for other acts.
Money rules the world. Economics say that people act on incentives. I don’t know what Virgin’s incentives are and I don’t care. Virgin, for whatever reason you hold it, FreeFest is a beautiful thing.
People were simply happy to be there. I didn’t feel music snobbed, or green snobbed, or hippy snobbed.
Even though all of the usual characters were there.
The body painting, bandana wearing tie-dye-teen crowd was there in full force.
But they didn’t put me off.
The hazy-eyed adventurers who giggled as they searched for their lost friends Lucy and Molly, didn’t annoy me like they usually do.
It didn’t have the “be seen” feel of a Bonnaroo.
So for whatever reason you did it. Thank you.
I’m going to go ice my knees now.