So, I’m back.
I went to the Alive Festival, as some of you know… for pictures of what it looked like last year, refer to my sister’s xanga. She is at the bottom of my subscriptions list that you can see over to the side of this post.
Alive did NOT look so pretty this time though.
I have half a mind to refer to it as “Mudhole ‘06”, but that might be misleading and make you think that the whole trip was a horrible waste. That isn’t the case, although it came close.
I got up at 6 in the AM and showered… we were ready to leave by 7 something, and my hair was mostly dry as well. That is an amazing feat and I doubt that I could easily do it again. But, after loading up and driving down the road we ended up going shopping and stopping at Wal-Mart, then Meijers, then Giant Eagle… we needed a lot of odds and ends that we hadn’t managed to pick up yet, and it seems like all the stores conspire against us by only selling one or two items and not having the other four or six that we were missing.
Then, sometime after 10 we were finally leaving our city. It rained on the way. It had been raining all morning, but I’d hoped it would stop… silly me. It didn’t. RadioU finally crackled out after a while and it kept raining. We took a side trip to this McDonalds that I happened to see at an obscure exit, just so we could use real bathrooms one last time before getting to the festival. My mommy was worried that we’d get lost, but it wasn’t so bad… the roads were really weird there though. The highway had train tracks going over it! x_X
We got to Alive and it was still sprinkling, but we found our campsite (we paid extra for a reserved spot so we wouldn’t have to fight for some territory like a bunch of animals…) and we helped our mommy pitch the tents. They smelled bad inside though, like old dirt and bug spray, so we didn’t move our stuff in at first. That was good because later I went to spray some air freshener and I noticed that it was wet inside. Our tent leaked like a sieve! That was bad news, but at least we have those huge vans, so Stacy and I had our sleeping space set up in the back of the van. We put the chairs and cloth tables in the big tent though and sat around chatting… then later we ate Chic-Fil-A and whatever Stacy had… then I forget what else we did. I think we went to the vendor’s tent and bought some stuff. I didn’t get much because nobody I wanted to see had merch out that day. I did get an awesome Demon Hunter poster though… I love that band, but I have never seen one of their shows.
That night, the only band playing at main stage that I actually liked was Kutless. We didn’t bother going to see them though because I am really not fond of their shows. They just seem to be lacking something. Grits played too that afternoon and they sounded kind of funny. We could hear everything from our campsite because we were so close, but we were by trees too, so it echoed off them and it was like listening to two radios that aren’t quite in sync. Weird.
The whole night was pretty interesting. Stacy and mom were scared silly, but it stormed so badly out that I guess that’s justifiable. I had a good time watching our neighbors and the lightning though. Our poor neighbors… the youth group on one side of us all piled into their van for a few hours. A bunch of them slept in there too, which they’d already been doing since they got there on Monday… I was amused, but I felt bad for them. Our other neighbors didn’t get out but they kept shining a flashlight all through their tent, so we thought they might be leaking. I felt nice and dry in the van…
The lightning was awesome. Stacy and mommy hated it, but I was having a good time watching big forks and arcs go cracking across the nasty, dripping sky. The lightning seemed to like the area of the lake and the woods better than the fields of tents… but that is fine with me. If I was lightning, I’d find better things to strike than tents. We made fun of the X Files we had watched the day before, too. It was great… this kid thought he was an X-Man and had lightning powers.
Before I got out to go get dressed in the tent, I saw our neighbors from the youth group bailing water out of tents. Poor neighbors. This day we went to the grocery tent after dressing because we needed more ice for the cooler. It was far and it was wet. They had to spread it out so that there was a reason for people to walk to the other side of the grounds by the “beach” stage, I guess.
Then we did some other stuff… went back to our camp and hung around in the drizzle. I was very unhappy about the rain because for anyone who knows me reasonably well, rain and high humidity are my least favourite parts of weather to deal with. We left our camp later though, so we could go try to catch Project 86 and Day of Fire. Not long after we got to the show though, it started raining… and pouring. Luckily we had ducked into the small merch tent that they had by the beach stage and we checked out some of the stuff there… I got a shirt and some books from Project 86. I’m excited about the books, but I’m not done with the one I’m working on yet.
Stacy was ecstatic because she got to talk to the singer from Day of Fire again… I think he’s the one who she had start the whole signing her shoes thing. He was really nice though and signed some more stuff and gave her some stuff for cheaper than it was marked. Band members are usually pretty nice people when you meet them. I was sad about the rain and all though… because Project 86 cut the show short and told all the soaked people to go inside the tent. Why go inside if you are already soaked through, I want to know… It got so hot and muddy and stifling in there, but eventually the rain lessened and we started back to the camp because Stacy was insistent that she was going to faint. Unfortunately she did right after mommy sent me over to the ambulance to get somebody. At least my mom didn’t let her go down hard… but there were a bunch of big guys that could have helped hold her up that were just standing around, watching. Jerks.
After that we went back and got some food. I dunno why, but I just felt like we needed to get it early… although it was only 5 something. I took a moment while my mom was getting dinner to go to the vendor tent and buy a shirt that I finally decided that I wanted. That tent was a nightmare… it was all churned up like a herd of cows had just gone wallowing through. Nearly lost my shoes, but I wanted the shirt… it was from Sanctus Real, since they were playing then and we were going to watch part of their set from the top of the hill by main stage (they had big screens on both sides of the stage so you could see the concert from farther away), but the weather looked so bad… and then a security guy started going around telling the food vendors that there were tornado warnings. I got to see some parts of the concert, but then we hurried back to the camp. Then we hurried out again to use the bathroom before the rain started… there was a security guy yelling (drill team style) at everyone to get in and out of the bathrooms as fast as possible, which we did. Then we ran back to the camp… and this security lady started yelling at us that we had better get some shelter soon. Like we didn’t know! But our neighbors didn’t know. We told the youth group, who were all milling around, thinking about eating dinner and lounging in their dining tent. Silly people. Then told our other neighbors and they actually packed up and left when it started raining.
Us? We waited the storm out. It was fairly shortish and I ate my chicken and Dippin Dots while Stacy and our mom were scared stiff… then after it was over we opened the van to let some cooler air in. it got so hot in there! x_x After that we wondered what would be happening, because since Sanctus Real got cut off because of the storm (security ended it so they could use the speakers to announce the tornado warnings). One of our neighbors came and talked to us… her name was Jennifer and she didn’t really have any friends in the youth group, so she decided to see if we would talk to her. She was pretty nice. Eventually they started the rest of the people who were supposed to play, and skipped the speaker. We left the camp after a few bands so that Stacy would get to see Toby Mac. My widdle sister adores him as well. I like his music too… but I probably wouldn’t put him in the top 10 on my music list. His set was pretty cool… he brought a giant (it was huge!) beach ball that the crowd could punt it around. It was fun to watch them, since we stayed up top from the “slosh pit” (no moshing there…). Jennifer came with us to the show, which was nice because I don’t think she was really into the same kinds of music as we are.
It got so humid out that evening… my clothes were soaked and sticking to me. It’s one of the worst feelings I can think of, especially when you know that anything else you put on will probably stick to you as well. Which it did. And everything in the van was damp because we’d left the doors open for a while to cool things off… and I think it was also sometime that evening when we discovered that the van’s battery was dead. That made everyone upset, but we’re not sure why it happened. It could’ve been because we left the doors open and the lights drained the battery (we hadn’t thought of that), or because the battery isn’t good anyway, or because the youth group next door had decided to use the area right in front of our van for a slip-n-slide and got the engine muddy. Rawrrrgh! >.< But what could we do? We went to sleep.
I was so unhappy. It was hot and sticky. I got up eventually, after my mom said she and Stacy were going to go use the bathroom. They didn’t come back for a long time though, so I called and found out they’d gone all the way over to the grocery tent as well to get new ice. We lefty again pretty soon after that… and I stupidly did not wear socks, so I got a blister. We walked back to the other side of the grounds and visited the RadioU spot, but nobody was there… we saw them filming some stuff though and talking to people and we watched that a while. Obadiah recognized me and waved, so I went over and talked to him for a bit. He wasn’t really enjoying the weather so much either. That made me feel better that someone agreed with me… but he had to work, so we left them alone after that and walked back to the camp to get chairs and a band-aid for my blister. I limped a lot… but at least I didn’t pass out like Stacy. That’s why we had to get the chairs… in case she felt faint. On the way to our tent we ran into Jennifer, who had lost her Alive wristband and was stuck in the camping only section of the grounds… Alive is done in a regular campgrounds and you can’t get back onto the festival part of it without the wristband, and she was very upset. So we sent her youth leader to get her. Poor girl. But then we walked ALL the way back to where we’d just left (and I stopped and spoke to Karrie and John Jr. for a minute as they were trying to wash the mud from their shoes in a mud puddle… ml). Then we wound up at the beach stage to wait for Spoken… and it rained just after we set up our stuff. I was glad we had umbrellas, but mine leaks slightly. Then it stopped except for a little sprinkle here & there… but Spoken didn’t show up. No offense, but I don’t know who Hyperstatic Union is and I wasn’t keen on seeing them, so we left. And walked all the way back to main stage to find a spot at the top of the hill. The mud was so bad… you have no idea what I mean, but it was bad. Eventually we found a spot though and we watched Anberlin’s set. I was glad to see them, esp after two of the bands I liked got rained out and the other one didn’t show. That made me a bit happier.
I was really disappointed that I had nothing I could take to get signed afterwards… and then the security guy wasn’t letting anyone back in line again anyway, so I was very, very disappointed. We sat around a while and ate some dinner. Then we scraped up the rest of our money and went to the vendor tent again. I was scared it would be so bad… but they put down straw so there was something to stand on at least, other than the soup that was there the day before. Stacy and I got some Alive shirts that list everyone who played there, and after waiting for forever long at the table (nobody was there to run it) I got a shirt and a poster from Anberlin (it annoyed me very much that this could only have occurred after they were done signing…). Then we went back and got ready for sleeping. We left once after that and I was surprised because it was almost nice out, even if it was dark… it hadn’t rained since a little shower right after we came back with our dinner. Too bad it hadn’t been like that all day.
So. It was hot out when I woke up, so I jumped out of the van as fast as I could and went to the tent to change. My clothes were all chilly from being in the suitcase though, so that was kind of nice. Then we put sunscreen on and sat around while Stacy tried to decide what we ought to do. Eventually she decided we could just leave because there was nothing she wanted to go to until 4 PM, and we were already stuck in the mud with a dead van. We called AAA to come get us. They sent someone from “Oscar’s Towing” to check it out, but in the meantime I sat and cooked. I put on sunscreen three times, but I still got bunt. And awkwardly at that. I have a burn on my left shoulder that has a white fingerprint on it because I must have touched it when I had sunscreen on my hands, but not gotten it on the rest of my arm… I am so talented like that, you know? I also burned on my shins, and it stings pretty badly. I am the master of awkward sunburns.
But yeah, when Oscar’s people came to get us, they were jerks. He wouldn’t bring his truck back where we were because he was afraid he’d get stuck in the mud. Apparently he told my mom and Stacy that he “didn’t want to get his truck dirty”, and he would make my mom pay out of her pocket to get him towed out if he got stuck… so basically all he did was verify what we already knew: that the mud was bad and that our battery had died.
A few people around us had been pulled out by a tractor that some of the Alive staff had brought by for that purpose, but we still had the problem of getting someone to jump our van before we could get the tractor. Luckily for us, our neighbor in the camp behind us worked at a car dealership or a garage or something, so he knew how to jump the big vans and took care of that for us. We ran it for a while and then tried to drive out, but we got stuck after a few feet. The neighboring youth group was nice though and they worked hard to push us out. They were really awesome to help us out there, since Oscar’s people wouldn’t do it. We didn’t have to do a tractor pull either.
So… even if I didn’t really get to see any of the concerts, and the two I did see (Toby Mac and Anberlin) I had to watch from far away, I guess that’s not really the point of going to these things.
Looking back on it, the parts of Alive that actually made me happy were when we were helping and talking to people or when they were doing that for us. I was happy that the people from RadioU are friendly and liked me enough to talk to me for a little bit when they saw me there. I haven’t been there since April, so it really made me feel better. I’m also glad that we got a chance to cheer Jennifer up and get someone to help her when she lost her wristband. Even if we didn’t like the same kinds of music, it was cool that she knew sign language and Spanish, so Stacy and I practiced our language skills while she hung out with us. I also liked that our neighbors were so awesome and helped us get out of there when those other people were so rude and wouldn’t help us at all.
But like I said… I think that the point of going to these events isn’t always supposed to be about the music and having a good time after all. What these are for (and what being a Christian is largely about) is for this (my emphasis on parts of it):
Philippians 2:1-4 (NLT)
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and sympathetic? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.
So that is what I learned from going to Alive ’06.
Later days & God bless.
Pastor Thompson: I just pray that she would rise up like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And that she and others in her generation would just rise up for You, God.
(those three guys stuck with each other and with God, so we should do it too)