I had such fun being a stagehand last time at the Pleasantville Music Festival, I decided to join Adam and the group again this year. It’s a day of music, community, food and a relaxed atmosphere that’s conducive to just hanging out with friends, old or new. There were popular headliners, great local bands and vendors of all stripes to visit.
Parking was a little tight, so I brought my fold-up bicycle. I managed to find a spot somewhere between Thornwood and the Gulf of Mexico, and cycled the rest of the way. My folding bike is getting a little long in the spokes, but it’s hard to find a full-sized folding bike so I’m keeping this one around. I’m a 6-foot-2 dude, and I can’t be riding around on a clown-sized bike, even if it’s a folding clown.
It’s my second year on the crew, so I know the whole lexicon now. If somebody says “Great weather!” It means it’s way too hot. “I love the band’s new stuff,” means “I wish they would have played more of their old stuff.” If someone says, “Any good food trucks over there?” It means they want to know if they’re allowed to eat at the catering tent. “It looks like the rain is going to hold off” means “We’re doomed.” It was hot, that’s for sure. My VIP wristband allowed me access backstage, and in the food service area, but I really wanted to spend more time in the bathroom, where it was air conditioned, but I was starting to look like I had a digestive disorder.
I saw people walking around with earpieces, and I thought it would make me look a little more important if I had one, too, so I got mine out of the car. “Is that Jeff on that earpiece?” Somebody asked. “I need to get in touch with him.” “No,” I said, “but the Yankees are up four-nothing.”
One of the core values of the Pleasantville Music Festival is recycling and waste management, and they are pretty serious about it, to put it mildly. The volunteers in the light blue T-shirts must have remembered me from last year. “You’re not going to throw that cup in there, are you? That bin is for high- and low-density polyethylene ONLY.”
“Actually,” I said, “I’m going to be recycling it by planting tree seeds in it, so HA!” I strolled away victorious, but I turned around quickly and saw a couple blue shirts duck behind a vendor tent, and I think I might have been followed.
The Psychedelic Furs were winding down their set. They may be older than they used to be, but getting older doesn’t mean you forget how to play. Hey, I’m in a band and getting older too, so I guess I’ll be needing a different excuse when I forget how to play.
It was time to strike the stage, and when we were all done I felt like it had struck ME instead. As the last of the risers had un-risen, our crew was released for the evening. I went over to Lucy’s for a well-deserved cocktail, since I hadn’t had a drop to drink the whole day. If you’re not at the top of your game with all those heavy stage pieces flying around, you’ll lose a finger faster than you can say, “Has anybody seen my finger?” I’ve always considered myself pretty level-headed, and I saw no need to let a 40-pound stage monitor drop on my head and make me more so.
I made my way towards the exit, and a couple of recycling volunteers were still cleaning up. “What are you going to do with all that scrap metal?” “That’s just my bicycle,” I said, and I put my pedal to the scrap metal. All in all, being a roadie was a lot of work, but a great experience. If this is your first time volunteering, that’s code for: “Next time, don’t be an idiot and play two sets of tennis before you show up for your shift or you won’t be able to lift your coffee cup the next day.”
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