Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Music Manners Pt. 2

2011 Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest

Well, what a first week of Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest it's been. Racing around town like a bat out of hell half the time would probably be the best way to describe it. But, as a young gal who loves everything in and around the music scene, every ounce of me is going to miss this unbelievable music festival experience when it's over. It truly is the greatest way to spend summer nights, see your friends and try new things. Tents filled with lengthy lines and Mill Street Ale, fields filled with bouncing crowds, and a surprisingly unbelievable view of Ottawa's sweet little skyline are some of the best sights around these days.

But, in continuation of last week's post, I thought it would be necessary to address some of the festival atrocities, annoyances, acts of kindness and absolute wild things I've seen also. So, let's get started with an account of what are some large dos and don'ts of the festival life, now that I've been permanently planted there for a week:

Rain, Rain, Go Away

FESTIVAL DO: Anyone who was at Bluesfest on Friday night is unbelievably aware of the chance (and sometimes likelihood) of a massive downpour at any point throughout the festival. By this point in our young lives, we know that Canadian weather is erratic and the weather people seem to get their pointers from toddlers sometimes, so we have to be prepared for anything. Friday was a gorgeous day to start, but later in the afternoon, things took a different turn and we were beaten to a pulp by relentless raindrops and wind. So, absolutely bring tarp-like cover-ups, rain jackets and more if you see the weather start to act up. It's something you'll have to carry if you are wrong, yes - but you can stash it at your feet throughout the concert, and you'll thank yourself when it starts to sprinkle. No one likes soaking underwear - something I unfortunately stood with two hours as one of the devoted Black Keys attendees.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Bring your golf umbrella to the concert. They are one of the most impolite accessories around, despite their obvious functionality on the golf course or while walking down the street on a torrential day. But, in a packed crowd that you might insist on squeezing your way into the middle of - your umbrella impedes everyone else's view, collects rainwater that consequently drips onto my face like Chinese water torture, and could be the reason I have to wear an eye patch for the rest of my life. I do not rock the Pirate look well; so please, either leave the monstrosity at home or stand far, far near the back with that bad boy.

                                                Please and Thank You's

FESTIVAL DO: Use those manners not only with each other, but also with every single hard-working volunteer who is helping you. It's true that these people are being given free access to the concert, but it doesn't mean there isn't hard labour that comes with it. While we are toddling off to bed after our favourite band, they are most likely staying behind to clean up our mess - so thank them for their help, and engage them in some friendly conversation at the food booth. Similarly, be kind to strangers; whether you're working your way through a crowd or maybe standing in front of someone shorter than you - use the etiquette you would in the work place or with your relatives by saying "excuse me" and "thank you." I feel like a Kindergarten teacher, but shockingly, people need to be reminded.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Be an a**hole. Apologies for the harsh language, but holy moly, you have no idea the rudeness and negligence that I have witnessed this past week. I know you are having a great time, but there's no need to take up a four-foot radius with your staggering/arm-waving in the middle of the crowd, or stand like a stiff board when I'm simply trying to pass you by. A simple side-step or adjustment would be just fine, so that we can all watch together. Again, USE those manners people. One lady, who I hope is reading (realistically isn't, but it feels good to rant), decided to take the snotty route when in the beer line with me last week. I simply wasn't sure where the end of the line was, so I soberly/politely stepped into place where I thought was appropriate. This annoying little weiner squeezed in front of me, looked back over her shoulder and in her boldest of tones said, "Oh, hi there Miss, can I help you with something?" while rolling her eyes and neck (too much 'tude for her pre-school teacher appearance) at my apparently massive act of disregard. I was not in the mood, and may have ranted a bit at the back of her head. Come on, sweetheart, I'm not so eager for beer (nor do I look overly threatening) that I absolutely had to push one person ahead to get there faster. Really? A simple "Oh, actually the line starts back here, thanks" or "Excuse me, I'm next if you don't mind jumping behind me" would have sufficed - but no, some people find it easier to be nasty and a complete.... (trailing off, finding a serenity place)...

                                            15 Minutes of Fame

With so many people constantly filtering in and out of the concert grounds, it really is a wonderful opportunity to set up a spot on the outskirts and show your talent. I see groups of kids, teenagers and adults alike all perched on the grassy stretches of land outside the concert site and I think to myself that it's a great way to get a little exposure from music-lovers. Set up a little station, throw your hat on the ground for change or a pile of demos for bypassers to grab - and of course, be smart and safe about it. It's the grassroots way, and sometimes it really works.

FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Busk for me in the middle of the concert grounds. On a few occasions last week, all I wanted was to get a little closer, and there was someone taking up what would have been ten bodies worth of space, performing an attention-grabbing attempt at a ludicrous trick. I see that you have a special talent and I'm sure that your hula hoop or interpretive ribbon dance is normally quite riveting - but when it's the only thing between me and an awesome act, I can get a little huffy. Just perform near the back; people who are lingering will watch and clap, and the rest of us can use that vacant space to do what's actually expected - listen to the music.
                                             Say My Name, Say My Name

*Optional, not expected:

"ARE you calling my name."
PERSONAL FESTIVAL DO: Yell "Ya!", "Woo", "Way to Go" or maybe even some sort of "Eeeeeyeahh!"

PERSONAL FESTIVAL (please) DON'T: Yell "YES!" during concerts, if you can. I've been nearly losing my mind at the possible onset of schizophrenia - thinking that people are calling my name. Yes and Jess. Similar, right? I know, it's ridiculous and realistically I can't control or take away from the positive reinforcement uttered in the word Yes, but...if you see me twisting my neck in confusion, looking for the old friend who might be calling my name, that's why!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see alyssa Reid perform at The Ottawa Bluesfest on July 16th! She is doing so well, check out her website! http://alyssareid.com/videos/