StrangeCreek Campout 2018- Greenfield, MA

strangecreek 2018

Heading south from Maine and across Massachusetts in the spring is lovely. A Wednesday in May makes is great and knowing you’re leaving an area about to flood with tourists is amazing. It was in fact the last Wednesday in May which means Memorial Day is near and “Vacationland” is not the place to be.

This year MAY Fest has been postponed and I’ve never been interested in the Dark Star Jubilee in Ohio. Wormtown last year was great so I thought I’d try my hand at StrangeCreek which is run by the same folk. Hair tie was running the Teen Scene just as he did at Wormtown and I managed to entrench myself deeper into the Wharf Rat community there. I brought gear, set the space, and helped strategize the sober camping (which should be improved for Wormtown 2018). One nice bonus to volunteering is an early arrival. After setting up Wednesday night, we had all of Thursday to relax as the early attendees started to filter in. Music started late at night. Through Hair tie, I was able to secure a volunteer spot for my special lady; she worked the teen scene alongside Hair tie and his lady. It was our first fest together.

The space is still wonderful. Set in a summer camp in Greenfield, Mass, StrangeCreek and Wormtown are organized the same. Camping where you find it in the woods or by your car in the lot, vendors on the main stage field, cabins for late night tunes, and two stages deep in the trees. There are two key differences between Wormtown and StrangeCreek. The latter hosts Max Creek as a headliner and (or because of that) there are far more attendees. Word spread around camp early on Friday that the event was sold out. There was at least a record number attending. Having a day to ourselves before the crowds came was a wonderful start to the weekend.

#strangecreek #52showsayear

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Speaking of attendees, one stood out. I had forgotten her since Wormtown. She triggered me and I wasn’t sure why for a while. Deep in the family camping area is a small grove of trees where we set up our mini village. The canopy helps shade us and provides an anchor for a tarp roof. One tree has a rope swing which the kids love and all are sure to camp clear of its path. In comes a Subaru with Mass plates. She drops her camping pod and parks next to it. I was told to let people know not to park anywhere in the family area for the weekend. I let her know (per my previous sentence). “Oh, I can park here.” Ok. I let it go. What had me remember her from Wormtown was her cave. Imagine a flat-roof tarp garage with three bays. One for her car, one for the camping pod trailer, and one for a seating/cooking area. The black tarps made her garage cave dark and ominous especially under our grove of trees. Her front yard was the tree swing path which she outlined with caution tape. Then, she outlined an area next to her cave in caution tape.

Later in the night, she tied the rope swing up to a tree so the kids couldn’t use it. In the morning I watched a sad boy ask the boyfriend, “What happened to the swing?” According to the boyfriend, it was closed and would open whenever his lady was ready. When I next saw some people who I thought would care, I mention the situation. “Oh yes. don’t bother,” was the response. Word is that she’s been coming for over 12 years and wasn’t worth dealing with. After talking to more people and explaining that I was unsure why I was bothered, it finally came to me. I go to festivals for the community more than the music. The multiple acts of alienation, annexation, border control, and mellow harshing added up and made me sad for them and others trying to connect. Tarper x 100?

Identifying the issue helped me a lot. I was able to let it go and it then solidified my connection with the rest of the community. Teen Scene worked so hard to develop special activities for the kids, I spent hours organizing and running the Wharf Rat table, there were lights, and telescopes, and community fires, etc. So many activities and ways to connect beyond just dancing.

Otherwise, the music was great although I didn’t have a chance to see much. Hayley Jane and the Primates were amazing (of course). I was actually approached before the set and told they’re trying something new. The setlist, costumes, and dance were organized to tell a transformational story and it worked! Great to see a new setlist and the special lady got to hear her song live for the first time since November. The one that got her through grad school.

Musical highlights included Melvin Seals and JGB, Pink Talking Phish (including an all Phish set), The Machine, and The Stupid Robots. Friends working crew started loading in The Machine’s gear early in the week. The night before their set, they were up till 3 am positioning lights and lasers. My sister’s friend plays keys and I wish I had more time to see them play. What I did hear sounded just like Pink Floyd so I was impressed for sure. I was left wondering if they played anything from Piper at the Gates of Dawn, my favorite Floyd album.

Driving back to Maine was wonderful. The traffic leaving Maine was epic. Speeding past it on Monday reminded me how nice it is to leave a tourist spot during peak season and how nice it is to return. See you at Wormtown, everyone!


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