Even though Andy and I crashed JazzFest seven times between us, ACL will go down as the best crashed festival of the season. My roommate crashed, I snuck @chrisinaustin in even though he broke my wristband forcing me to crash two days and, most impressively, @candabus and @doctorcollins created media passes. A whole new level of crashing we hadn’t attempted yet. We needed @candabus to tell us how the big crash went down.
@Candabus As the weeks to ACL approached, I felt like a college freshman at Christmas. I knew I should be excited, and I am a little, but something just didn’t feel right this year. My friends told me it was because I didn’t have the media pass I was wishing for, but I also sensed that the lineup just couldn’t compare to 2008.
Last year, I was running around frantically from show to interview to media tent for write ups from noon-10pm each day of the fest. All begrudging aside, I had an amazing time at ACL this year, and I think it was partly due to the intense cycles of fear and relief from attempting my biggest crash yet—a three-day festival with over 65,000 attendees.*
On Day 1, @doctorcollins and I walked to the festival around 3pm, trying to avoid the early crowd and save our energy for the night. We nervously walked up the the Lady Bird entrance which appeared to be bogarded by security guards who had nothing better to do than stare at the handful of people walking through their exit. Our next step was to scout out the main Zilker entrance. We got word that @ZackTeibloom was willing to do a pass back in about 30 minutes. We decided to try that and mosey around in the meantime. Moments later we spotted a nice-enough-looking-but-clearly-loopy guard pacing around his exit, drawing smiley faces in the dirt with his shoe. Essentially, we struck gold at the end of a Festival Crashers’ rainbow.
We were about 20 feet away when we first spotted him and instantly saw two guys with their backs to him. The guard started talking to someone and bam! those guys vanished into the exit and presumably into the festival without wristbands. “Holy shit. Did they just do that?” I asked @doctorcollins. Before we could even discuss, opportunity struck. The guard starts talking to someone else and without saying a word, we looked toward the ground and veered past the guard at a steady, but subtle pace. An ACL cart in the middle of our path added more distraction as we easily slipped past the second guard and into the festival.
We waited until we were in the clear to high five and say how awesome we were, but kept that going for at least ten minutes. I instantly forgot about my negative connotations to this year’s ACL and got that giddy feeling that my weekend was about to rock in ways I couldn’t predict. The lush, pristine grass, immaculate weather and knowledge that two poor, unemployed kids cheated the system was the perfect start to the weekend. We met up with friends at Dr. Dog, wandered over to Phoenix, got a taste of Andrew Bird and Thievery Corporation before ending the night with Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The day felt almost too easy. Because it was.
That brings us to Day 2. Something just didn’t feel right about this day from the get-go. We had a late start, I was grumpy and it had started to sprinkle. We assumed the rain could only work to our advantage, but it seemed to do the opposite. We tried our luck with the same guy. We scouted him out a little longer this time, saw our window and jumped right in. Walking confidently and quickly, I thought we had it…until I hear the guard running up behind us shouting “no entry, no entry!” Lost for words, we shrugged and sadly walked out. We were so confused by our friend’s sudden change in behavior. Yesterday he was chatting it up with fans while four people slipped in with 10 minutes. Today he lost his hat while running to catch us. I tried to keep my hopes up, but I sensed the feel of defeat and quickly felt like we didn’t have many other options, especially since @ZackTeibloom lost his wristband the day before.
Grizzly Bear was about to go on so we decided to position ourselves outside the gates closest to the Dell Stage. The sound was actually pretty clear and the luminous sky and dewy grass made for a good perching spot. I could tell @doctorcollins was already frustrated so we headed back to the main entrance to seek help from some other friends with media passes. We even concocted the perfect scheme for @supercooleric to distract the guard while we snuck past. After some missed calls and a tragic phone dropped in the water incident we finally found him and @robcheid.
At the last minute, someone decides we should just go into the main festival gates sans wristbands. @doctorcollins and I were frustrated and ready for action so we followed. And failed. We flashed our bare wrists and I prayed they wouldn’t notice, but of course they did. Rookie mistake—trust your instincts. I still tried to force my way past the guard like I didn’t hear anything after he repeatedly asked for my band. He had to put his arms up in front of me before I stopped, bullshitted some story, then left.
I texted a few more friends praying for help, but there was no use. @doctorcollins suggested we make fake media passes and even though I thought the idea was retarded, I followed him home to try it. We fiddled with InDesign to no avail and looked at my photos from last year to see what the media band looked like. Eventually, @doctorcollins found some paint swatches that appeared similar to the “swampdick” color of this year’s media band. After about 20 minutes, we had some surprisingly legitimate-looking wristbands. And we were proud.
We rushed back to the festival, flashed our wrists and uttered “media” without looking up and it worked! I was so relieved to finally be inside the festival grounds that I forgot to pay attention to music and drank myself silly instead. I remember shoving through the crowd to see the lasers at Ghostland and jogging across the Town Lake bridge to an after party where more free booze awaited. Day 2=salvaged.
Day 3. @whitd decided to make her own paint-swatch wristband and join me while @doctorcollins stayed home to watch football and be lame. She was a little nervous and I was only slightly. (In recent experience, using the same method twice in a row never works.) Luckily, we got in with no hiccups. It could’ve been that it was the last day, but I like to think it was our confidence and charm.
We walked through the gates, smiled and then stepped in poop. I mean mud. I mean moop. Moop aside, I was elated to be safe and secure inside ACL ready for my most awaited lineup: Dirty Projectors, The Dead Weather and Girl Talk. If I’m still poor next year, (which I most likely will be) you can bet I’ll be dancing around with a hand-written media band. And no one will be the wiser.
*I think I heard that on the news. It sounds right.