February 24, 2016

We had a long weekend recently, and a friend (his name is Chris) wanted to know if I wanted to come with him to a music festival. He told me that they might have an opening or two for some DJs to do a couple of sets. It was a couple of hours’ drive away, but he has a car and was willing to drive. I was promised at least a free ticket to the festival, so it sounded pretty win-win to me. Either I got to listen to some free music for a couple of days or I got a paying gig. Or both.

We headed out, and we were already on the highway before it occurred to me to ask Chris what the sleeping arrangements were going to be—I know, I know, should have asked before I agreed to it. Lesson learned, trust me. He said that the cost of a hotel in the area had skyrocketed because of the festival, and if he got us a room, it would be more than we’d get paid (if we even got the job). But he had been able to secure us a camp site near the festival with access to real bathrooms, and the car got to stay on the site with us so we could keep an eye on our DJ equipment. I totally hate sleeping on the ground and started to freak. Chris laughed said to check the back seat.

There were two of the best inflatable beds back there, along with a pregnancy pillow for the drive up, a tent and two sleeping bags. Sweet! Real bathrooms and a mattress to sleep on is the kind of camping I can fully support!

There was hardly any traffic until we got near the festival. After some rerouting, we made it to the campsite. The area was nice. We had a few trees, a BBQ grill, a campfire ring, and a nice flat place to put the tent. Chris got the tent set up while I read the instructions for the air mattresses. They were self-inflating and ran on battery power, so I got to work getting fresh batteries out of their box and into the pump mechanism for the beds. Once the tent was ready, I dragged them in and started ‘em up. They didn’t feel all plastic-y, which was promising, and inflated quicker than I thought they would. The pumps weren’t very loud, either. It helped that Chris had his laptop out and was blasting some music, though. I unrolled the two sleeping bags and tested out one of the beds. It was surprisingly comfortable!

We headed over to the festival, watched a few acts, and then checked in with the person Chris knew. They had one slot available, and Chris offered it to me. I felt terrible that after all the thought he’d put into this and his kindness in bringing me along, he was going to be out in the cold like that. So I asked if we could do a set as a duo, and the promoter agreed. He showed us to where we would be doing our set later that night. It was so exciting!

We had a great time and a decent crowd by the end. It certainly looked like they were enjoying it, and judging by the tip we got from the promoter (it was an energy drink; our job had basically been to attract people to his tent for free samples and purchasing product), he thought we did a great job, too. We headed back to the tent, exhausted. I was expecting the beds to have deflated a little but they hadn’t, and they didn’t the whole night either. The mattress was as firm when I woke up as it was when I fell asleep. I deflated the mattresses—also surprisingly easy–and dragged them out of the tent while Chris took the tent apart. We went back to the festival and caught a few more performances before we made our way back to school.

All in all, a really good experience and a really productive weekend. I am so glad I went.