Saturday Morning and Austin seemed limitless. No, I didn't have tickets to ACL, and no, I didn't have tickets to the OU game in Dallas, but in a town like Austin there's always something to do. This weekend it was to be Ditch the Fest-Fest and Party World Rastlin' in the evening. A day of excitement, a day of adventure, or so I thought.
I loaded my darling wife's derriere onto my motorcycle and away we went. Ditch The Fest here we come! A few years ago we went to the first fest with fine friends of ours. We didn't really know Mitch and Robyn at the time, but after three hours of fierce dance moves and a few bottles of Mitch's homebrew, we were the fastest of friends. All this factored into my expectations. Hopes were high. All the better to be crushed.
We parked in the middle of deserted downtown Austin (take all the music lovers and Texas Longhorns fanatics out of Austin and there's hardly enough people left to fill Whole Foods) and headed to the Empire Control Room. Hipster Bouncer at the door, teal tiny brimmed hat, shirt from a band too cool for me to have ever heard of, pants that would fit spider man.
“Hey” he said, by way of greeting.
I handed him $10 and began to babble, About the bands, about the weather, about the lack of anyone inside the Empire Control room.
“ID?” he said and I provided it, as did my wife. Enter we did, into this deserted, hot and soulless place, only to be stopped.
“It's $10 each.”
Hmmm? I raised my eyebrows. I had been afraid of this. Last weekend it has said $5, but a last minute check on facebook said $10. Now, I hate to be cheap, but then, we all have our flaws.
Ten Dollars...each? It's three in the afternoon!
“It's after two… man”
His mathematical prowess amazed me.
Yeah, but no one's here! And there's not even any music playing! I stammered.
That I wanted to pay five dollars for this empty music-less event didn't even cross my mind.
“Next band goes on in a minute. He just gave the two minute warning.”
The two minute warning? Was the next performance truly so unlistenable the audience had to be warned? No, I told myself, No! It seemed far more likely that this, non-ACL attending, televised sports snubbing snob had been infiltrated by that cultural behemoth that is UT athletics. I pled my case.
Come on dude, it was $5 last weekend, there's no one here. I just wanna drink a beer and hang out for a few hours.
“Not my problem… bro.”
I looked to Raquel, she had fire in her eyes. I turned back to the bouncer with a smile.
Man this place sucks! You guys sold out! Just like ACL, raising prices every chance you get, why I remember back in my day when it was free, and you guys had actual music playing, well-I-swear-I-do! Boy howdy, why I used to walk here and dance home! You kids! You kids and your festivals.
I rambled and snorted as we walked off. Happy to have my $10 back and happier still to be driving away from the hip hop artist hyping a crowd of one bouncer. Probably should've stayed, it looked pretty damn exclusive.
Still, I can't stand the rising prices. Next year I might have to start my own alternative music festival. I'll call it “Ditch the 'Ditch-The-Fest-Fest' Festival.” It'll be free! And BYOB, and a CD player, and maybe some of my friends on acoustic mandolin. They're not popular but only because no one gets them man. We'll be clean, and pure, and alternative! Until I can find a way to make money off of it.