I should start by saying that I went to this music festival with my husband because he absolutely bleeds this music. Eats, breathes and lives it. This was his concert treat. :) I was along for the ride.
Y'all, Burgettstown is in the middle of nowhere. Honestly, you aren't close to anything major. I understand that, but by saying that I've at least put a bit of a picture into your head. Mayhem descended upon their town. Bless them.
We dropped K off at my friend's house. It was her friend's birthday this next week, so she spent the night at went to the family party and friend party. We dropped her off at 9 AM and were off. It would take us about an hour and a half, but Hubs was itching to get there. He was afraid of traffic, detours and whatnot.
We got there at 10:30 AM. The lots didn't open until noon and might I add, they did not let you in a moment earlier, either.
The town of Burgettstown was filled to the brim with people who had nowhere to go. People were lined up on off-shoot roads, parking lots, abandoned driveways, roadsides and businesses. We went down the hill a few miles to McDonald's and bought a Coke. We ended up going back up the hill to the Grab N Go, sitting in the parking lot, eating lunch and I read for about 45 minutes. At least that way, we would be on the right side of the street to pull into the lot. We figured not having to turn around would be a good thing. Turns out that kind of didn't matter, but it's all good.
They didn't charge for parking. Nothing. I was stunned. I knew that they said that they wouldn't, but Ozzfest at Polaris Amphitheater in Columbus said they charged one thing and it ended up being about 3-4x that.
We ended up parking at the West Gate-- about a mile or so back. I had to check the Epi Pen in at the East Gate. That left us parking the car and hoofing back over gravel that was sized around the size of golf balls.
This is where I thank Hubs for making me wear my tennis shoes.
They had ample parking lot port o potties. In fact, we chose one that wasn't parked yet and IT WAS CLEAN! I even used it.
We made our way to the medical building and they had a little old guy as the gatekeeper. They had a medical emergency in the parking lot and they were attending to someone. He kept apologizing. I told him that I was there all day and that I'd rather them take their time and tend to the needs of someone first. At that point, a black-shirted security guy came over and was talking to us. We explained that I needed to have an Epi pen checked in. :insert scrunchy face: "You do?" "My husband phoned and they said that we had to." "Oh." I told him that my coworker could only figure that perhaps someone could reload one with heroin. He agreed that it could be a possibility. Seems that we followed a rule he didn't even know about. He escorted me to the med building, handed me off to his favorite EMTs and waited outside for me. They wanted to keep my Epi Pen at the building. "But what if I get stung? I'll be stuck." They decided that I could keep it. They handed it back and the older EMT told me, "Good luck, Honey." Bless her heart. Hubs and I didn't exactly fit the physical profile of the majority of those in attendance.
We left there and went to stand in line. You see, the gates opened at 1:00. In order to get through the gates, you had to have your bag checked and to be patted down for weapons. Fine with me. All I had with me was food, some approved meds, my legal factory sealed bottle and other feminine items that may be required. The bands started at 1:05. I can't see how many people could actually be there for the first bands. We heard them, though.
I thought I was going to have concert girl hair. It was down. It was curly. It was lovely. I was standing in line and pulled my hair up to show Hubs that it was absolutely soaked underneath. After we passed the gate, I couldn't stand it anymore. I was digging for a hair tie, then Hubs bent down and was pulling hair up. He kept gathering hair as I dug. Pulling my hair up helped, but it was hot. Not inhumanely hot, mind you. It was humid. Hubs suggested that a big part of the problem was it being held on asphalt.
A complaint we had right off the bat was that they had three stages and the two stages on the end were playing simultaneously. Honestly, I didn't exactly know what I was listening to. I knew that it was loud. Hubs knew of all of the bands and their music, so he was trying to place us on the outer ends to buffer some of the song mixing that was going on.
We bounced between stages. I knew that there were a few bands on the temporary stages that Hubs really wanted to see-- Ice-T with his band Body Count, Cannibal Corpse, Mushroomhead and Darkest Hour. He wanted to see the others, too, but these were the must-see list. Mushroomhead was the only band we missed, but that's because we were in line to see Ice-T.
Coco, Ice T's son and Ice-T! :) Took this picture for Hubs.
We stood in line for a good long while to see Ice-T. We were about mid-line. Then, they decided to move the line off to the other side. The people at the back of the line then rushed the middle of the line. I had a woman about twice my size try to bully me for our spot in line. Um, no. For about 20 minutes, Hubs and I were separated by a moat of people that I couldn't get past. I was holding our spot with another girl who was trying not to be plowed over either. I know it's not about winning or losing, but the short girls retained our spots. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to have someone bully me/us.
Success! One of Ice-T's body guards took the photo for us. Bless his heart. He was so worried that the photo didn't turn out. "Ma'am, make sure you check it to see if it is good!" What's funny is that as Hubs was leaned in talking to Ice-T, my favorite black shirted security officer was there. "Hey! How are you doing?" He was laughing as I was wiggling my way through to get in the picture. "Great!" Hey, it never hurts to have security/body guards like you.
Then that brings us to a very interesting situation that happened. Prior to the sign line, we purchased the Body Count CD at the merch booth. We made sure to have something to be signed. We had the photo taken, met Coco (she gave Hubs a signed photo that leaves little to the imagination) and went on our way down the line to get the CD signed by the rest of the band. My husband is exceedingly thankful to any band he meets. As he was being his typical thankful self, I'm watching the CD go down the line and I'm thanking the gentlemen as it goes. There was a woman at the end. She had stopped. Hubs was thanking and I noticed that the guy on the end accidentally handed our CD to the lady on the other side of Hubs. My Body Count guy leans over and says, "Ma'am, is that your CD?" "Yes, it is." (Hubs swears it was the drummer.) I leaned around Hubs and the pole in the way and said, "Ma'am, that is our CD." She just looked at me and piled it onto her things and was going to walk away. Two other band members told her, "Ma'am, that isn't yours!" I couldn't climb over Hubs or the pole, but the Body Count guys fought for our CD and got it back for us. Thanks, Body Count!
An aside, the woman who was trying to take off with our signed merch? She and her man had cut in line in front of us, then complained about the girl who stood in line alongside me for over an hour had cut in front of them. She didn't. We had talked on and off for the time we were in line. We were both on the petite end. She sent her boyfriend to stand in line to get signatures from Mushroomhead. They were dividing and conquering. I backed her. She was there for far longer than they were.
My photo of the Body Count scene.
There were people who really wanted in the front and kept coming through where I was at to try to get there. Okay. I get it. The dude who plowed into me so hard that I almost went down-- not cool, dude. The girl standing behind me just looked at me with her mouth wide open. "I think he was on a mission," is what I told her. "All. Day. Long." I'm thinking that she had a run in or two with the same guy.
From Ice-T's Twitter account. We were to the left, just out of view.
From Darkest Hour's Facebook page. Hubs said that he can see himself in there, but I'm nowhere to be found. One of the plights of being short. (Hubs is in a tan hat, behind the upraised arm, about in line with the 'A' on the tie dyed E Z Up Upon A Burning Body tent and I'm in front of him.)
Well, and everywhere I stood, the guy in front of me decided to Mr. Bean me and stand right in front of me. Never mind that he was about a foot or more taller than me. The plight of being in the pit, too. I was trying to get Hubs closer so that he could see. He was trying to keep me back so that I wouldn't get plonked by the surfers and all. I have got to tell you that they played so loud that it was beating painfully against my chest. I do believe it was at that time that I texted Rachael that I was certain that I'd never hear again.
We saw several other bands, including Cannibal Corpse. We stood back a ways for that. Hubs was concerned because I was having a bit of a dehydration headache and he just kept buying bottles of water for me. I was starting with a hum and bought a Coke. That made it worse. (Heat and caffeine, duh.) I think he wanted to make sure I wouldn't pass out in a crowd of people. After that, we hauled up over the hill and found that a band on the main stage had already started. Bummer. Hubs missed a bit of Trivium. He'd seen them before, but still . . .
We went down the hill to the restrooms and --- THERE WERE MANY AND THEY WERE CLEAN! I thanked the cleaning staff. I think that they were surprised. They just don't understand how much a clean public bathroom means to me.
What's funny is that when we came over the hill, I could see that the sidewalk was a little wet. It had started sprinkling, but hadn't met up with the temporary stage side yet. We walked into the sprinkles and the sprinkles turned into more and more. We ended up in our ponchos and sitting on the ground, trying to keep our things dry.
Then lightning. I thought that maybe it was from the heat and humidity. I still don't take lightning lightly. Neither did the venue.
"For all of you on the lawn, we want you to go to a structure or to your cars. We will let you back in. Safety is our biggest concern. We cannot continue until lightning is more than 5 miles away from the venue. You cannot come into the pavilion. Please go to your cars. Lightning will kill you."
Okay. We went to our car, hung out, had something to eat and dumped the merch and backpack contents off. About 15 minutes later, we were greeted with this:
Asking Alexandria's set was cut about 15 minutes short because of the delay, but we were off!
The person who recorded this appeared to be about where we were standing.
Hubs kept us off to the sides all day long. He wasn't interested in having bodily damage occur. There was a guy. We'll call him the happy drunk. We're watching Korn (who is absolutely incredible in concert) and this guy is going person to person and punching people in the arm and swinging from them. I looked over and found Happy Drunk right in front of Hubs. He went to go plonk on Hubs, but he was wearing his Bodybuilding.com shirt and the guy stopped in his tracks. I reached over and shook his hand and he decided the same was good enough with Hubs as he mentioned something about Hubs working out. Hubs, not being that guy, but he stood me in front of him and did the cross armed thing. Happy Drunk didn't come back to us to consider plonking on us. Every now and then, Hubs would steer me one way or another. People were rolling around in the grass one way, a drunk was being carried through by friends another direction. Hubs was my body guard and it was nice. :)
And then it started again-- the lightning, that is.
After Korn, Hubs come hithered me to the thinner side of the hill. "I thought I saw lightning." Not again. We had gotten texts from my coworker, Julia, and friend, Aimee, about basically all hell breaking loose at home. Knowing typical weather patterns, I thought we had maybe an hour and a half or so. I knew that we would have to drive through it, but I thought we would be able to see a few songs from Avenged Sevenfold. We watched some more. Yup. Definitely lightning. We were lukewarm on seeing Avenged Sevenfold, so we bailed.
Turns out we did the right thing.
We found the car, I busted out a quick text to K that we were on our way back and the same to Aimee. (She had been talking to me about the storms earlier.) Aimee's words of advice, "Run, Forrest!" And we did.
I drove. I didn't intend to drive the whole way home but that's what happened. We hauled out and we weren't the only ones. We had to pass through the gauntlet of traffic barrels. (Three lanes. Traffic barrels every car length. Rope was strung between each, but dropped for the exit. The problem was that cars were trying to pass between the barrels and the rope was catching on their cars, knocking barrels over.) We got to the main road and about a mile away from the venue and it was starting to get ugly. It is here that I list the strikes against me on this drive:
1. I was driving Hubs' stick shift car. I have no problems with that, however I was in inclimate weather on back roads in Pennsylvania.
2. I hate to drive in the rain at night. I'd rather drive through a snowstorm.
3. It was so dark, but the lightning so bright that it lit up the sky like daylight.
4. We had to watch for critters ranging from bunnies to bears.
5. There was no place to pull off.
6. The defogger was having issues keeping up. Hubs needs to anti-fog his windows. I had to keep the window open and the rain was so crazy that it whipped around and was hitting the right side of my face.
7. PA back roads with an idiot on my tail (that's being polite) with bright lights on. It felt like the lights were burning holes into my retinas. I finally moved the side mirror out and they backed up a bit. Still, I was doing 50 in a 45. It's not like I was humming along at 20.
8. Signs aren't clear during the day. They really aren't clear at night when you can't see.
9. I hydroplaned 3 times, which is fine with the traction control, but Hubs' coworker hydroplaned this spring in her Yaris (older without the traction control) and she creamed her Yaris into a median wall. I held onto the wheel for dear life, pulled my foot off the gas and was praying audibly.
I was never so happy to see our hometown. It was honestly the 2nd worst driving experience of my life. (The first was when K was 9 months old, we had to drive to the Ohio border to help Hubs' sister come back with the girls. Storms were so bad that it was like a Storm Chasers core punch for 2 hours straight, but without hail.)
When we got home, we checked social media for the A7X update. They had to bail at about song #4. People call the downpour "biblical." "You couldn't see in front of you." "Couldn't see to find my car." "Waited in a port o potty in the lot until it died down." (I'd rather get drenched than do that.) Still, there were whiners. There was a woman who posted this diatribe on their Facebook page:
HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT UP TO PEOPLE WHO SAVE FOR THE LONGEST TIME IN AN ECONOMY THIS BAD TO SEE YOU AT LEAST ONCE WHEN YOU COME TO THEIR AREA? What a disaster. I know this wasn't your fault but....I had been waiting the whole night to see you guys and then Mother Nature had to roll in and ruin it for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I should be refunded my ticket or provided the chance to go to the show next week in Scranton, PA. My son was hoping to see you guys set up somewhere near the other stages to stand in line to get an autograph - nope; he was hoping to get a chance to ask to get up on stage to play with you - nope; Did we get a signed poster like we did last time we went 2 years ago - nope; Did we see the rest of an awesome performance - nope.....guys, my son and I left with a deep emptiness in our souls! Its almost a hopeless feeling. Hard to describe. [Edited here for length by Bailey's Leaf] . . . I still feel short changed but the songs we did hear were awesome!Really? I'm guessing that she didn't read the print on things that says "Rain or shine."
I know that they aren't the only ones disappointed. I was okay with it, but much of the concert audience there had A7X merch on.
It was a good day, though. Good stories to laugh about. I survived 2 pit experiences-- in one day. Hubs declares that I'll be fine for the PJ pit in October. :)
Found what we missed.