I am writing this column by hand while sitting backstage at the Samsung Sound Lounge at Bumbershoot, Seattle’s premiere music and arts festival, now in its 38th year.
That’s more than half my lifetime.
Some things don’t change no matter how long you live.
I still thrill.
I thrill, just as I did 20 years ago when I last attended Bumbershoot, when I can enjoy a festival or concert at the expense of someone else.
Nothing says joy more than by having it at the expense of someone else.
Twenty years ago I was able to garner backstage passes to hear the smooth sounds of George Winston and the rocking revues of John Hiatt and Jackson Browne.
Those familiar names were not in the official program this year.
This year, thanks to Samsung, I had backstage passes for groups like the Stone Temple Pilots, Death Cab Cuties and a post-hardcore rock band called Scary Kids Scaring Kids.
Where is Burl Ives when you really need him?
I longed for something familiar sounding this past Labor Day weekend.
Not only could I not understand most of the entertainers’ lyrics, I never heard anyone sing “Jimmy Crack Corn.”
Thank goodness the Space Needle is so tall.
At least I knew how to get back to the hotel where our daughter Danielle and her beau Mark were lodging.
Directions are not my forte. Therefore, tall landmarks can be a real blessing trying to find a new home.
Loud music also necessitates periodic relief.
For me, nothing says relief more than a free continental breakfast.
Because I was not a guest at the kids’ hotel, I felt it inappropriate for me to have as many cinnamon rolls as I would have had if I were to have had my own room key.
But for our daughter coming up from Las Vegas with her boyfriend, we most certainly would not have attended these last three days of celebratory activities, particularly at our expense.
A hundred bucks a pop for a three-day pass? $15 to park? $8 for kettlecorn?
That’s the kind of money we use to pay mortgages with, not to have fun.
Fortunately for us, our Good Cheer fashions were most appropriate for our attendance. No one but us knew we were not locals.
We were not alone in our non-fashion statement as the thousands of festivalgoers I observed were all proudly wearing thrift-store clothing. That’s logical when attending a festival named after an umbrella.
The downside of all the folks wearing worn clothes like mine was that I had to get my hair colored blue so my girlfriend could find me in the crowd.
Blue hair, coupled with my now natural gray, gave me the look of a Civil War soldier supporting both sides.
Having been exposed to three days at Bumbershoot, I am again thankful that I am back on this side, where a baseball hat is all you need to get lost in the crowd.