[Checking out the Sound]
Strangefolk hit at 7 p.m., having just reunited earlier this year after a 12 year absence. Our camp site was in line with the speakers, so we enjoyed a dinner of boiled ravioli (prepared by Andrew “The Ravioli King” Keeler) while they played in the distance, the food a much-needed energy-booster following an exhausting afternoon.
Soon after, it was getting to be time for Primus, and the line for “Potty Time” (the name given to the array of Port-O-Potty’s nearest to the main stage) was exceedingly long (no one wants Les Claypool’s bass tone to make them accidentally relieve themselves, I suppose).
Right about then, Roseanne Barr may or may not have given a speech about running for president. I'm still not sure if this really happened or not. People started chanting "Primus sucks" to call their heroes to the stage and poor Roseanne thought they were talking to her. But she handled it like a pro, regardless.
Primus was a little too weird for me at that exact moment, so I watched the first few songs then took a leisurely stroll down the seawall into the depths of the campground, all the way down to the end. I heard they played a great set though.
Long Island was crystal clear across the sound, with green lights in the distance evoking The Great Gatsby. You could say “hello” to anyone walking by in the opposite direction and start a fruitful conversation. It seemed everyone was laid back and up for whatever. Even the cops were cool. If you’re a Bridgeport cop, Vibes is not a bad way to spend a shift. The horseback cops, as always, got the most love.
Sunday: Sunshine Daydream
On Sunday, the campers were spent. We had nothing left that was clean, and we’d slept about as little as you’d expect. Our phones were all de-charged, our car keys were misplaced and garbage littered our campsites. Most of us saw the sunrise just a few hours before. But it’s Sunday and that the fresh-faced, energetic day crowd funnels in, many of them taking advantage of the $20 ticket offered to Connecticut residents. We secretly have contempt for them and their cleanliness and energy reserves, but it’s good-natured contempt.[Hippies]
Keller Williams played solo in the midst of another sunburn-worthy setting, using his loop pedals to keep the groove going at all costs.
The McLovins continued to represent Connecticut on the Green Vibes stage, already Vibes veterans though barely out of high school. (Out-of-state attendees are getting exposed to all these local bands, which is pretty great exposure for our fine state, dontcha think?)
Max Creek, by contrast, has been around since 1971. They hit the main stage with more classic, stereotypical hippie festival fare.
At this point extreme fatigue set in, and though I would’ve liked to stick around for Steel Pulse, fantasies of a cool shower and some crisp, clean clothes proved too strong to resist. (The Avett Brothers were to close out the show, but they’re a bit too polished for me anyhow.)
[I'm not really sure what's going on here, but it seemed interesting at the time.]
Though in all honesty I enjoyed the lineup from last year better (Furthur, Elvis Costello and the Imposters, Toots and the Maytals, Jane’s Addiction), the overall vibe in 2012 was the best I’ve yet experienced. The collective energy of everyone there was the best you could’ve hoped for.
Thanks to Ken Hays and the whole Vibes crew, the City of Bridgeport, the Bridgeport Police and all the volunteers for making it so memorable and for helping everything to run so smoothly. It was a well-oiled machine with a finally tuned balance between safety and tolerance.
Now we’ve got to start campaigning to keep the Vibes in Bridgeport in the coming years as the contract with the city expires this year. Let's not let this thing slip away.