We arrived at DelFest without incident. The first step was to head to the off-site box office to turn in our tickets for wristbands. Once we did that, we drove a few minutes to the Allegany County Fairgrounds. The festival volunteers were just awesome. Everyone was very nice and very helpful. We were directed to a parking spot and decided that the best thing to do was to grab our tent and go stake out a camping spot.
Setting up camp
Neither of us had ever had to find a camping spot before, so we were both pretty nervous. By this point (about 12:30) it was already Very Hot. I was sweating within moments of leaving the car. It became instantly apparent that most of the nearby campsites had already been claimed. So, we walked. And walked. And walked.
We saw tents as far as the eye could see, packed very efficiently. And then we saw a beautiful, open spot of grass – but it was on a slight incline. I felt like this wasn’t a great spot and really wanted to find a flat spot, but a quick glance up the path revealed walls and walls of tents. We were going to walk for a few more minutes to continue the search for the perfect spot, but I was suddenly overwhelmed with frustration and declared, “I am about ten minutes from going back to the car and driving to a hotel right now.” Knowing that we were about a ten minute walk from the car, Mr. Thor implored me to take the inclined spot. After a quick consult with a hemp-bracelet-making hippie two tents down about what he thought about the spot, I decided that his expertise was enough to go on.
We set up the tent and the canopy and then schlepped back to the car two more times (at least!) to finish loading in our stuff. Some people had hand carts, radio flyers, even collapsible wagons. Those people, my friends, are geniuses. One of the volunteers remarked on our “West Virginia luggage” (trash bags) that we were using to carry our pillows.
After lots of walking, lots of sweating, and lots of water…I had to pee. I mean, I really had to pee. There were some permanent restrooms on the map, but they were quite a hike. There were porta-potties everywhere, but, well, I have an irrational fear of them. I decided that this would be different, I was just going to fling open the door, and GOOD GOD WHAT IS THAT THING POKING OUT AT ME?! I slammed the first porta-potty door and tried door number two. Just as bad. I started retching and cursed myself for thinking that I could ever do something like this. The phrase, “why do you have to be such a special snowflake?” may have crossed through my mind a few times. Devastated at what a wimp I was, I started dragging myself toward the spot on the map that represented a flushing toilet. That was the last time I tried a porta-potty, and I spent the rest of the weekend leaving camp and walking a solid 15 minutes before I got to the restroom.
The music… finally.
We didn’t make it to a show until just before 8 pm. don’t ask me what we were doing for those 7 hours. I was probably having a nervous breakdown in the tent. I kept wondering how on earth I could ever make it through one more day. But I also had a slight feeling that maybe, just maybe, dragging myself out to watch the Del McCoury band might make everything better. I was thrilled to watch them. I love Del, Ronnie, Rob, Alan, and Jason. I love watching their style, hearing their harmonies, I love it when Del holds his guitar up to the mic. Love it all. And It did make things better, for a little while.
Yonder Mountain String Band was set to go on next, but I was so exhausted. Mr. Thor likes the band a LOT, and I like them enough, but I decided to walk back to the tent and rest. We had tickets to Friday night’s late night show, which included Greensky Bluegrass and Railroad Earth – and the show didn’t start until 12:00. Midnight. Remember, I got up at 4:30 that morning to drive 4.5 hours to be traumatized by a porta-potty log, then to sweat out half of my body weight before I had ever heard a note. I was exhausted. I considered telling Mr. Thor to go to the late night show without me.
As I rested on the air mattress, I could hear Yonder Mountain playing. I decided that I would suck it up. I was at a music festival, after all. Sure, I saw them in September, but they are good. So I hiked 15 minutes, bought a cup of coffee, wandered up to the grandstand and sat down. I decided that we would get to the late night show early and be right up front. After all, the late night was sold out and we had our tickets in hand.
Friday’s Late Night show – AKA the moment I entered the festival with my whole heart
We were in the very front and almost center for both acts of the late night. Like, holding on to the railing, fighting off hippie girls who were trying to steal our spots, FRONT of the crowd. It was a little stressful to battle for my spot, but suddenly I remembered who I am. I might be a total wus who almost pukes when I see a poo in a porta-potty, but am also the girl who has ALWAYS been able to get to the front and stay there. I love music. It means so much to me. It speaks to me the way nothing else can. So I dug in my heels, grabbed the railing, closed my eyes, and danced.
Those bands were GOOD. They were fun. And, honestly, I knew one song by one of them going in. I went because Mr. Thor loved them both. I didn’t really care, and I only went because I had a ticket. At some point, even though I was exhausted, and tired, and also, exhausted, I realized how truly lucky I was to be in that little room with all of those people, right in the front. I cried. I laughed. I danced until I was sure my feet and legs would just give out. And when Todd Sheaffer finally yelled out, “now go to bed, you crazy motherf___ers!!” sometime after 4 AM, I felt an incredible sense of loss. I couldn’t believe it was over.
We headed back to the tent and went to bed. I couldn’t wait to get up and try it all over again the next day.