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In defense of Desert Trip

October 6, 2016

desert-trip-poster-2016-billboard-1548I’m going to Desert Trip next weekend, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. My sister and I are going together, she’s 26 and I’ll be 32 by the time we get there. We’re staying in my grandmother’s senior living community down the road in Desert Hot Springs (a legit blessing since hotel prices are so astronomical). When I made it through the online ticketing queue, after hours in line, my hands were shaking so badly that I could hardly type in my credit card number. This is true, real excitement people.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a Pollyanna, but in order to fully enjoy the festival I’ve decided today to stop reading any articles about it. Even before tickets went on sale I felt irritated by the #Oldchella hashtag floating around Twitter after its announcement. Or the low-hanging fruit of jokes about walker accessibility and naptimes. Yes, there will be old people at this festival and they’re actually my preferred audience anyway. Most shows I see are attended by a lovely older crowd. And I’ll never forget attempting to act my age by attending a festival in Baltimore several years ago where the young audience jeered and booed Bob Dylan because Kanye West was up after him and was clearly the main event. I was so disheartened. It also might have been an all-time high for my blood pressure…

Beyond the harmless but annoying jests about age, there is a lot of talk about how much money the festival will be making. Yes, I paid a LOT for our tickets. Yes, the festival is expected to gross something insane like $160 million. But you don’t get The Rolling Stones or Paul McCartney or any of these top-tier classic rock era folks to show up for free. They’re making money off my passion but I’m getting the experience of a lifetime in return. It feels like a fair trade to me.

Which brings me to my final point, remember up at the top where I said I’m 32 and my sister is 26? A festival like this has never been held in my cognizant lifetime. I won’t speak for the Boomer crowd who certainly may be attending to relive glory days of rock festivals, next weekend WILL BE the glory days of my rock festival life. I can’t go back and see The Beatles, so I’ll go next weekend and see Sir Paul. I can’t return to when Bob Dylan sang his songs appreciably close to their written melody, so I happily embrace the gravel toned reworkings that I get from him today. So be as cynical as you want about the age or the pay rate or the current abilities of these artists but I don’t want to hear it. I’ll be here counting down the hours, saving up happily for an overpriced t-shirt, and reveling in the glorious fact that the rockers who hoped to die before they got old are still here and giving us a weekend that I’ll be lucky enough to tell my grandchildren about long after they’re gone.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeanne Becker permalink
    October 6, 2016 11:24 am

    Fabulous Ali. You are such a terrific, passionate writer. So Proud!

    On Thu, Oct 6, 2016 at 9:14 AM, t h a t m e r c u r y s o u n d wrote:

    > thatmercurysound posted: “I’m going to Desert Trip next weekend, and I > couldn’t be more excited about it. My sister and I are going together, > she’s 26 and I’ll be 32 by the time we get there. We’re staying in my > grandmother’s senior living community down the road in Desert Hot Spr” >

  2. Reverend Tim permalink
    October 7, 2016 11:03 am

    One thing’s for sure, there won’t be any mud at this one. Have a blast.
    FWIW, I’d prefer David Gilmour but that’s just me being picky :)

    • October 7, 2016 3:05 pm

      Ah ha, so the esteemed Reverend Tim falls on the David Gilmour side of The Great Pink Floyd Divide. Good to know… :)

  3. Aunt Karen permalink
    October 9, 2016 3:58 pm

    So jealous you’re seeing Neil Young. Yep, of all of those luminaries he’s the one I’m jealous about. Have a fantastic time! (Oh yeah, and ditto you’re mama…someday I’ll be buying your book, which I’m still thinking will be a memoir.)

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