Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Festus Interruptus

Stick a fork in - ACL Fest 2007 is done, all but for the closeout T-Shirt sales on the internet and potentially hipper looking and longer than usual Monday lines at sweet little Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

When I wrote yesterday that Festers, like cities, have their limits? I was more predictive than I realized. Happy Festing requires flexibility.

All by way of saying my daughter felt the need to attend to her life, Sunday, rather than catch day three of ACL. She woke up with her energy reserves set on "OOOO" and realized Monday will kick off a particularly rough work week. Add in her ongoing application process for law school, which only really advances on weekends, and she made the call that she was Fested Out. As my Fest status has consistently been "companion/comic relief", that meant my Fest experience for 2007 was similarly over.

I've always insisted our approach to ACL Fest be all about the music. We Fest only as long as it stays fun. Fest is there to serve us, and not the other way around. There is pressure to keep in mind the initial expense of a three day pass, but anyone familiar with concert costs realizes once you've heard two-three solid hours of music at ACL Fest, you've easily covered the gate for a three day wristband. We'd done that two times over by the end of Friday, so even the Scroogiest part of me couldn't quibble with a decision to call it a Fest and let that be.

Every year we listen as folks make plans to be there when the gates open and stay until the last strains of music fade, all three days. Every time we are walking down to the park, we are met by people who have already fested out and have called it quits for the day. Same thing whenever we'd begun that uphill trek towards home, we were met by people just then making a trip down to catch the closing acts.

My daughter has categorized Fest Goers into three groups. Fanatic, Normal, and Wusses. Fanatics are there for every note, rushing from stage to stage to catch some of every act as possible. Normal, well we are normal, naturally. For us, the decisions about when to go and and how long to stay are all driven by the music and our appreciation of or desire for that music as stand alones. Wusses go to the park, get hot and discouraged by the dust or freaked out by the long lines or whatever, and leave after only a short stay, or wait until 7:30 or so and only go to hear music offered after the sun has already set.

So the decision to bail on Day 3 this year does shove us a bit towards the Wuss category according to my daughter, but seeing as that was her call to make, I bow to both the decision and the category shift.

I spent the beautiful, cooler than usual afternoon outdoors at any rate, and was treated to strains of music floating over mostly from the AMD and Austin Ventures stage. This meant my husband and I spent time Sunday doing yardwork and floating in the pool as we were treated to snatches of songs from Ben Kweller (Sundress being the easiest to recognize with it's catchy refrain), Midlake, Rose Hill Drive, and what I am pretty sure was My Morning Jacket. We adjourned inside for dinner, but then as we went out so I could check the size of "our" frog who sits poolside vigil each evening, we did so to the sounds of Bob Dylan.

I have to say it has been an outstanding year for music coming in the back door at our house. With our proximity to Zilker park we hear 4th of July concerts regularly, can see the tops of the fireworks from our upper deck every year, but 2007 has so far also brought us both the Rolling Stones and now Bob Dylan, overheard in our very own back yard. Not shabby.

So, sorry, no big wrap up report on Fest as promised, but rather a sigh of relief to have been released back into life's more regular and forgiving rhythms for a Sunday afternoon and evening.

My general observations are that due to a rainier, cooler than usual summer the park stayed grassy, the dust was less a problem than ever and the heat was typically killer only on Saturday. Despite disappointment over the cancellations of Rodrigo y Gabriela and the White Stripes, we certainly heard more than our money's worth of great music. The people were cool, the food was hot. We had us Some Fun. A check in the "win" category all around.

And to close with a lyrical observation I believe applies...
Ob la di
Ob la da
Life goes on, bra.
La la how the life goes on.

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