Harvest of Dope 2010
Fashion-girl Jordan and I participated in this year’s second-annual Harvest of Hope festival out in St. Augustine, and I was quite happy to find it just as under-policed this time around as the first.
Technically, Harvest of Hope is a three-day, not-for-profit music festival that raises money for migrant farm workers, but so far in the party’s nascent existence there’s not been enough raised to donate, and the music gets pushed aside in favor of the experience of the campgrounds.
I’m not knocking the jams, it’s just that it’s hard to compete with the wastelands of the apocalypse.
We arrived in the dark Friday evening and were forced to set up our tent in the mud. Thankfully, we found a dry patch next to some friendlies. An hour later, we’d finished fighting our tent and were bowl matching to the sounds of Dead Prez with our new neighbors from Orlando. It wasn’t long until they shoved a big bag of shroomers in my face and invited me to a handful.
I went into this thinking, “I’m working,” so I only took a couple stems and swallowed them down with my beer. Apparently they were shitty shrooms anyway, although I find it hard to believe these kids weren’t tripping. Everything they said just got curiouser and curiouser as the night went on until two of them had a head-to-head space prayer, whatever that means.
I spent that first night with two of them, Belligerent-ass and Mr. Terrible. Belligerent-ass went around calling out everybody’s shit in a tight, pink, sparkly Mickey shirt, and Mr. Terrible kept repeating something about mother moths sprouting wings and how awful everything was. I told him he should replace the word “awful” with “flambastic” and see if his mood didn’t change, but he didn’t get it. I just got drunk and high until I passed out.
The second day, I woke-up around 2 p.m. and made a much needed beer and cigg run. We bought 24 beers and 60 ciggarettes, the lady at the counter stared at us like heathens. Only a few would survive the weekend.
After finishing some reporting work, I proceeded to get as faded as possible. I downed four beers in about an hour and worked through a few bowls, sat down into a lawn chair and said fuck it, this music sounds great from here. Some crusties walked by and sold Belligerent-ass a glass-blown one-hitter for $5 from a suitcase full of pipes. I asked myself, where are the police? Eventually we made our way to the festival arena and enjoyed us some Mountain Goats.
When darkness fell, the real shit got started. Jordan crashed early and I wandered over to the fire-pit to join the social circle. Unfortunately, the fire was sitting in a giant puddle of water and needed constant attention from a drunk man I named the Fire Wizard. He would get uncomfortably close to the flames and breathe on them as if he was Prometheus breathing life into clay. It sort of worked, probably because of the high levels on alcohol shooting out of his gullet.
About a million sing-a-longs started, but my personal favorite was the indie-rock-acoustic rendition of The Whisper Song. Imagine a crowd of twenty-somethings shouting “Wait till you see my dick.” Magical.
By about midnight each night, the lights were cut off and the place was submerged in post-world darkness. Everyone started howling and you knew the next trip to the Porta-John wouldn’t be pretty. I made Jordan get up and see this.
A giant conga-line started weaving it’s way through the campground. It must have been 400 people snaking through the mud, shouting and yelling at everyone around them to join in, going nowhere in particular. Eventually, the water-fire died and the pyros found themselves some haystacks to burn in the make-shift streets. People danced and ran around the giant blaze while the drummer kids made primal beats for everyone to yell over.
This finally caught the attention of police around the time drunks started jumping the flames.Two officers stalked up quietly with fire extinguishers and blasted them until the fire was gone. As they started back to their jeep, the pyros got to work, and before they could start the ignition, the fire was back. This time they just watched and realized there was no law in this land.
I couldn’t stay awake anymore by three, and I figured I’d gotten the general drift of the madness.
Sunday was a good day for music. Kid Sister made us shake our asses, Man Man blew my fucking mind with their performance, and Broken Social Scene taught me to love rock’n’roll again. It also marked the end of the hippie-love-mud-fest, and I was only too happy to get home and take a shower.
All in all, the weekend is a real good time. If you’re not afraid of sunburns, fire pits, crusties, drum circles, acoustic sing-alongs of Neutral Milk Hotel, cigarette bums, marijuana, mushrooms, acid, mali, mud, dust, getting filthy, conga lines or Bob Saget, I highly suggest you check it out next year. Who knows, if you bring all your friend with you, maybe the foundation will do more than break even and these migrant farm workers will finally see some money.