4Peaks 2019 - Road Report), we crashed at Mayhem's ranch the night before the gates opened. The following morning, we carabused to the lot with GratefulEd's Belle leading our 2-bus parade. Recall, Belle is a 1973 VW camperbus with a Riviera pop-top, but a fairly custom interior. Similar to Hapy, Belle is not really a looker, in that she was painted with dark green fence paint. She does have lots of cool old stickers and flags, though. This year, GratefulEd added an observation deck on top of his luggage rack, so he (or anyone else) could sit in a deck chair and look out across the festival grounds high above the cars. You can see the ladder access to the deck in the picture on the right, and me testing it out in the picture below that.
Last year (see 4Peaks 2018 - Festival Report), I said that I wasn't a huge fan of the GoWesty designated lot because it felt like we were hanging in an art gallery with a bunch of really nice looking art. Hapy is built for camping, not gawking, so he attracts very little attention, even when we're all by ourselves. This year, though, the GoWesty lot was not as formally laid out, so it didn't feel nearly as much like a car show. Maybe Ziggy heard some feedback after last year and changed it up. I dunno. Either way, I didn't overhear the "I like that one better" comments like I did last year, and we had far more passersby drop in, so regardless of why, it was better.
Arrival and Set Up
|sunset by Peaks, Hapy nose on left|
Central Oregon can be windy, and this year, the wind was fairly consistent. When the sun was out, the wind was blowing at least 10mph steadily, gusting higher. The predominant direction was from the stages up towards us striking Hapy's windscreen, so shortly after we had the Busdepot canopies up, GratefulEd and Mayhem put up a double-king size tie-dyed sheet along the wind side. We zip-tied the canopies together, and zip-tied the sheet to the poles, creating a mostly-wind-blocked zone. Within 30 minutes we had pop tops and canopies up, the lot couch out, carpets down, and beverages opened. Since it was barely past noon and the first band didn't start until 5, we had all afternoon to settle in and meet our neighbors.
Weather the Weather
Little Buddy heater, so we fired that up to semi-warm our living room space. It never rained, and after that first night it wasn't quite as cold, but it still got down to or below 40F overnight every night. Boo and I planned and packed for cold, so between lined pants, knit hats and a warm jacket, we held our own against the cold, and it didn't get us down. That first night, we made hot chocolate for the 4 of us to put some warm inside. Otherwise, we required no heroics. Turns out dancing is a great way to warm up.
Within the first hour, we found Mike-and-Suzie from last year. They, again, volunteered a couple of early shifts, but otherwise we didn't see them much this year. They brought a friend from their hometown who hadn't been to a festival before, so they spent most of their time separated in their own space. We met Jay and Alice from Bellingham, who told us about a small 2-day festival they have there. Alice was fighting a cold, so we didn't see her much, but we ran into Jay everywhere. Our next-door neighbor, JerseyPaul, was a chronic vagabonder, spending months on the road at a time. He had a story for every occasion. Boo played a round of corn-hole with a guy named Bip who we are fairly sure we met at the Black Sheep Family reunion a few years ago. He had an amazing energy.
I was able to connect with Chris the coffee-roaster from last year and give him a pint of Kahlua I had made with some of the coffee beans he gifted us last year. He gifted more beans this year, so we may have started some kind of quid-pro-quo thing. NewTrailerRussel was set up across the fire lane from us. He turned us on to some really good, kinda trippy music from a band named Beirut and showed us the inside of his trailer. It is amazing how light and well-considered new trailers are. He had adorned the walls with little electric candles giving the entire space a terrific warm glow. So nice.
We met lots of other folks too, whose names escape me. For us, the personal connections are why we go to smaller festivals, so having had so much time to meet and connect was especially important to us. We head for the festival with the intent to "see more music this year", but what we clearly really want is more personal connections, so that is ultimately how we direct our time. We vote with our wallets, and we vote with our feet. Everyone does. Sometimes, it takes some thinking to realize what you voted for.
It wasn't all perfect, though. The coffee cart only had coffee, so requests for anything requiring espresso was not available. Also, there was a Subaru dealership set up right at the corner who would set up this massive super-bright light as they were leaving for the night. Presumably, this was so that passersby would look at their table of pamphlets when the dealership representative left. It was so bright, it disturbed the light-art installation across the street, detracting from it such that you really couldn't see the lights. It was awful, so, we solved that problem for everyone by unplugging the light each night after they left. The twilight that remained was from the light glow of the art installation. Ahh... that's right.
It's rare to comment about the row of plastic cubicles at festivals. When it happens it usually isn't good. So, mark this: the porta-potties at 4Peaks this year were the best managed, cleanest services I have ever experienced. When freshly cleaned, they smelled like Bubble Yum bubble gum, and that smell lasted well into the cubicle being heavily used. Only on the very last day as we were leaving did they start to resemble porta-potties pretty much everywhere: gross.
Vendors and Food
Within the venue, there are many craft and food vendors. We usually check them all out a little bit, and sometimes we buy something. This year, we were less generous after the trump tax bill killing our finances, but the wares were pretty amazing.
Overall, this year's 4Peaks was a total hit. I'll get to the music in my next post, but the vibe and the people we met were fantastic. We didn't want to leave, when the time came, but we could feel the draw of home. We stayed almost to the end of the final performer before dropping the pop-top, loading up the last few bits of gear and firing up Hapy's engine for the drive home. Of course, we plan to go again next year. I expect GratefulEd will again, perhaps with his wife. I suspect that Mayhem will join us again; perhaps he will bring his family with him.
1... 2... 3... 4Peaks!