Wanee Day 1
I woke this morning with a pounding head and dry mouth. Not cotton mouth, completely bone dry mouth, teeth, gums, tongue and throat. Luckily it was just the result of a head cold forcing me to breath through my mouth all night. couple that with the Nyquil geltabs and the sleeping pill I took, what was I saying? The Curly-Haired-Blonde-With-Whom-I-Live was already awake and finishing the Wanee Weeks food prep. Conservative Hippyism was born at Wanee. We packed and left in a little haste. We forgot our broom to sweep the tent. I guess we’ll be bringing some North Florida Dust back to mix with the Central Florida Sand-Dirt. We remembered our Almond Joy coffee creamer and Nedi Pot. We could minimize our operation a little anyway.
The three hour drive to Live Oak was over in a blink. Only a gas and pee break after an Indian (dots not feathers) lunch delayed us. The Will Call line was not quick. The anticipation was killing me. I felt like a kid trying to get into Disney World after hours strapped to my seat, only to have to wait just outside the gates in the burning sun. The Suwannee staff was patient and quick, Canahelpya’s were coming every 2 minutes or so. We weaved our way, wristbands qualifying our presence, through the campground areas, the place was jammed already. Tie-dyed tapestries and tents sprouted from tree lines like lichen in the damp forest. The lakeside sites were taken, which isn’t an option for us anyway. This time of year the lake is usually low and a little dank. The creepy unprotected field camping was full. The field camp is what a modern day POW camp would look like, if the war were between people who don’t care and people who don’t fight.
We ventured all the way out to F camp. Where there is plenty of space and canopy. It too was nearly full. We chose a spot and were immediately warned by neighbors to make sure we weren’t accidentally setting up on “the road.” Our neighbor’s name was Clint and he was from Georgia. He drove a 6 door van with a lift and all-terrain tires. He spoke slowly. Maybe he was just choosing his words. Maybe I’m justa damned yankee who speaks to quickly. We saw him again at the jambalaya tent down on the festival grounds. We spoke of bacon and quantities thereof packed for the trip. In the heat of the afternoon we made a pct to look after one another’s camp. Ironically neither of us were doing that at the time.
The first act we caught was Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers Band. The two played with the Doors and blessed us with Riders on the Storm. Shit like that gives me the feeling I have broken on the back door of a museum I am not old enough to get into. Two years ago when I saw Greg Allman perform Melissa acoustically I knew I was getting away with theft.
Devon Allman was the performance I was there for. Last year he did a rendition of Prince’s Purple Rain which almost made me cry. Fu%k it, i cried. I shouted it a few times. He didn’t play it this year. He always does Midnight Rider with a searing solo at the end to make sure you know he owned it now. Someone had a cardboard cutout of his dad. He had to tell the guy that it was creepy. He was soulful and alive. His Honeytribe is a gritty stripped down trio built around him. It opened up and started pouring during one of his harder solos. POSERS left. You can have’em.
Hot Tuna played what seemed like a muted set. Not very load and not very energetic. Underwhelming.
Levon Helm died today. I’m waiting to hear Cripple Creek in his honor. Hot Tuna played two undistinguished tunes I didn’t recognize.
We walked back to our camp-sight with the jamtronic sounds of Conspirator mocking us for turning in early. Late night at the Mushroom Stage is a Wanee Sub-Phenomena. You could come for it just that and get all your money’s worth. Mushroom after Midnight deserves its own space.
The campsight was a little wet from the short downpour earlier, but the wood was still dry. After a few dozen tries, we got a fire lit and sustained long enough to eat enough hotdogs to justify marshmallows (at Wanee they’re marsh-mellows) right before bed. The line in the sky where the clouds of the day met the clear star freckled universe of the next day was tangible. The universe was smiling and winking at us. The Conservative Hippy and The-Curly-Haired-Blonde-Girl-with-Whom-He-Lives were back at Mecca. Wanee!