Home | Features | Editorial | Politically Incorrect

Politically Incorrect

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
Politically Incorrect

Paralysis by analysis

Sometimes, I just go crazy. That’s the only way I can think to explain why, on the third of July, I loaded up with 14 others of my ‘extended’ family and headed out to the Gorge in George, Washington to spend the day enjoying Lilith Fair, a festival of female musicians.

Immediately after Misty called to tell me that Live Nation was offering (one day only!) ten dollar tickets to the show, I came up with dozens of reasons why we shouldn’t go. I was on deadline, it was the day before the fourth, we’d have to take more than one vehicle... the list grew quickly. The next 30 minutes of our conversation featured a lot of “buts.”

Canadian singing artist Sarah MacLachlan started Lilith Fair back in 1997 and in 1999, hearing it was to be held at the Gorge, Misty and I had considered going. Her son Tyler, however, was a newborn baby and we decided he was just too little to haul him across the state to listen to music all day and camp in a tent. That turned out to be the ‘last’ time that Lilith Fair toured—until this year, that is.

Remembering that, I mentioned to Misty during our conversation a term I had run across on the Internet that tends to describe both me and my daughters pretty well. It was “paralysis by analysis,” or, in simpler terms, we can think anything to death. Her response? “I’m buying the tickets,” and then just a click in my ear as she hung up the phone.

So at 5:30 in the morning on July 3, in the middle of deadline, I began packing bags full of things we’d need. A lot of things (mostly food) as this had become a family affair and fourteen others of my extended family were to accompany us on this day. That would prove to be a wise choice as I think the only way we got my partner David to attend was by inviting his daughter, Erin, and his two grandsons, Gavin and Landon. David was a driver—my driver—and I’m not sure I’d be writing this story now if he hadn’t taken over that part of the day.

I left Clark Fork at 7:30 am and didn’t return until 4:45 am the next day, which would be the fourth, and the absolute best celebration of Independence Day I’ve ever been privileged to attend. If I were willing to forego Clark Fork’s fourth, things would have been easier.

Once on the road, I must admit I started to get excited. After all, some of the mainstage artists for the day included Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, Colbie Caillat and Sarah MacLachlan herself, and I enjoy all their music. The second stage artists also promised to be good and yes, Gail, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals were stunning... “awesomely good” was how Dustin put it.

The Gorge... well, let’s just say it’s no Festival at Sandpoint. Although the location is gorgeous, I was surprised to learn that once we were on the field, we would not be allowed to return to our vehicles for all the stuff we’d left behind on our first hour-long trip through the line to get in. That included, of course, all of our food and our warm clothes. I would have a lot more sympathy with the venue if they had posted a warning about that on the tickets, their website, or even on signs before we went into the gates but they didn’t, so I’ll remember it as a terrible venue. Their loss.

So no food, as none of us were willing to pay $8 for a slice of pizza or even, god forbid, $9 for a can of beer. I, a person who doesn’t really (really doesn’t really) like crowds, sat on a field with around 9,000 other people. And once the sun went down, which it did just as Sheryl Crow sang her last song, we just about froze to death.

Did I mention it was worth it? The music, of course, was awesome—my god, the talent in some of those voices simply astounds me. But the family is the memory I’ll carry with me through the years. Landon, rocking out to Erykah Badu (I think he learned to dance from his grandpa); Greg, asleep by 5 pm and Misty dripping the huge block of ice all over him; Natalie and Emma dancing all over the place while Amy sat stubbornly on the ground; Dustin’s thrill at being interviewed by Spin magazine (about being a “dude” at Lilith Fair. He wants me to post a link on our website to the story when it comes out. I told him it depends on how big a dork they make him out to be.); sitting next to Misty while we enjoy the music we’ve shared on CDs for years; David and the flashlight sometime around 2:30 in the morning and driving into the sunrise with him as we crossed the Long Bridge on the way back home.

Too many times I can come up with too many reasons why I shouldn’t do something that is simply fun. And the reasons aren’t bad ones—staggering down the street in Clark Fork at 9:30 am trying to film the parade after three hours of sleep pointed out exactly how on-target my misgivings had been. But boy, I wouldn’t trade the memories for a little bit more sleep.

I hope I remember that next time.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted)

total: | displaying:

Post your comment

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Quote

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Author info

Landon Otis

Tagged as:

Entertainment, music, Lilith Fair

Rate this article