I’m curled up on my cousin’s couch right now, relaxing with her and her husband after an evening of stocking up on grillable food and alcohol at Costco. Tomorrow morning, we leave for We Fest, the three-day outdoor country music festival in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. This will be my second time going, and after last year, I am so excited to go back. Last year, I wrote about my experience and posted it on Facebook, and I definitely plan about writing about this year too. Below is my account of my first year at We Fest for anyone who either wasn’t friends with me on Facebook when I posted this or doesn’t know me personally so they can be caught up when I post the second year account sometime next week. Enjoy!
As a lot of you know, I went to We Fest for the first time a couple weeks ago. This was a pretty big step for me for a couple reasons. Firstly, I’m a pretty new country fan. Prior to my friend dragging me to a Tim Sigler Band performance a couple years ago, I was not a country fan at all, and while the genre has really grown on me since then, I wasn’t sure how I’d handle three solid days of country. Secondly, the last time I went camping was when I was fourteen, and that was a completely different experience from We Fest (for one thing, Catholic Youth Camp generally discouraged campers from bringing whiskey). I remember not being a huge fan of the sleeping outdoors thing eleven years ago, so I wasn’t sure how I would handle it as an adult.
Because I am a humongous nerd, I brought a notebook with me to We Fest (because what booze-soaked outdoor music festival is complete without diligent note-taking?) to document my first We Fest Experience. The following is a brief (-ish) play-by-play/observations of the weekend- not everything of course, mostly the stuff I remembered to write down and was able to decipher and organize once I was home and sober- for any of my friends who I don’t see often and want to know what it was like.
12:30 PM: Stopping at a nearby liquor store to stock up before we get to the campsite.
12:40 PM: Okay, this is a country festival, so whiskey seems like an appropriate choice.
12:45 PM: BLACK CHERRY whiskey!? That exists!? That sounds amazing! It’s kind of symbolic too…like I’m having my metaphorical “We Fest cherry” popped so I should get cherry whiskey…yeah, I’m reading way too much into this. I’m sure it’ll be delicious.
1:30 PM: OH JESUS IT TASTES LIKE COUGH SYRUP.
1:35 PM: Okay, it’s better with Coke. Actually, I think I’ll add a little more.
2:30 PM: I’m drunk and playing Harry Potter hangman on my phone at our campsite. I don’t think I’m We Festing right.
1:00 PM: Checking out my cousin Jodi and her boyfriend Rob’s campsite at Lake Sallie. Their group is so big that their campsite seems more like a small village.
1:20 PM: Just played massive beer pong (trying to toss a large ball into buckets) with Jodi. You would think having a bigger target would make it easier. You would be wrong.
1:30 PM: Now we’re playing actual beer pong against Jodi’s friends Matt and Molly. I swear I was better at this in college.
1:45 PM: A few people in their group created a “redneck hot tub,” where they lined the bed of someone’s pickup with tarp and filled it with lake water.
2:00 PM: What’s “Power Hour”?
2:10 PM: Where’d the rest of my whiskey go?
2:11 PM: Hey, beer!
3:00 PM One perk of having a long walk back from Lake Sallie is that I have plenty of time for people watching. Let’s see…several guys with missing teeth…a t-shirt that says “take them panties off” (offending women AND grammar nerds with a single article of clothing!)…a red, white, and blue speedo (because nothing is more patriotic than stuffing your junk into a spandex version of the American flag)…remind me again why girls say they want country boys?
3:10 PM: Hey, Tim Sigler’s here! Oh, wait, nope, it’s just a guy in a cowboy hat and a black t-shirt.
7:30 PM: Oh, charming. One of the guys near our campsite is hardcore hitting on a girl who I’m pretty sure is seventeen years old. In front of her mother. Or he’s hitting on the mom. Classy. Back to Lake Sallie until Florida Georgia Line starts to take a break from the land of the creepy bros.
8:00 PM: Rob makes a great Jack and Coke. He seemed like a great guy to begin with, but the fact that he can mix a drink well has earned him the Cousin Seal of Approval.
9:00 PM: Checking out Florida Georgia Line with Jodi and Rob since I haven’t heard back from my group. Stopping at a booth selling cowboy hats. As much as country music has grown on me, I don’t think the fashion really suits me.
9:05 PM: OH MY GOD Jodi is letting me borrow her old cowboy hat and it’s ADORABLE and purple and beaded and doesn’t make my head look weird and I’m already planning several outfits around it (think punk rock cowgirl chic…shut up, it could work) and Jodi might not ever get this back now.
10:00 PM: Hanging out at Jodi and Rob’s campsite, waiting for Alisha to text me so I know where to meet our group (the joys of general admission). Rob just made me another Jack and Coke.
10:30 PM: Still haven’t heard from Lish, but Rob is awesome and is letting me take his V.I.P. pass for the Jason Aldean concert.
11:00 PM: Hey, I actually know some of these songs!
12:00 AM: KELLY CLARKSON WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?
1:00 AM: Trying to escape the concert area. Good thing big crowds don’t freak me out or this could be really uncomfortable.
1:30 AM: Oof…haven’t drunk this much in a while. Okay, I’ve had water and Gatorade and as long as I get a decent amount of sleep I should be fine tomorrow.
7:00 AM: WHOEVER THE ASSHAT IS WHO THINKS BLASTING “AMERICA, FUCK YEAH” FROM THEIR SITE AT SEVEN IN THE MORNING IS A GOOD IDEA HAD BETTER HOPE HE DOESN’T RUN INTO ME TODAY.
7:30 AM: It’s like Jack Daniels is repeatedly kicking me in the stomach.
8:00 AM: Bless Alisha for making ridiculously strong coffee.
8:00 PM: Walking to The Band Perry concert. It is impossible to walk through one of the tunnels here without a group of people chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” Alisha and I tried to change it up a bit (“CA-NA-DA!” “SWITZ-ER-LAND!” “POR-TU-GAL!”) but unfortunately it didn’t catch on.
9:00 PM: Hell yeah, you put the “man” in “mandolin,” Neil Perry. Rawr.
10:00 PM: Waiting for Brad Paisley to start. More people watching: a tall guy wearing only a child-sized pair of overalls, holding a cardboard sign that says “Daddy’s Home”…a guy in pink cutoff shorts and a helmet…some guy dressed as Waldo…hey, Tim Sigler’s-wait, nope, another guy in a cowboy hat and a black t-shirt.
10:30 PM: Lexi is testing out the Jenna Marbles method of getting creepy guys to leave you alone (for anyone unfamiliar with this strategy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wRXa971Xw0). For the most part it’s not working, because Alisha is recording it and laughing hysterically, but there was an especially entertaining exchange that was actually successful:
Random Bro: Happy We Fest!
Random Bro: Boobs for beads!
Random Bro:…Boobs for beads?
Random Bro: Okay…nice meeting you.
10:50 PM: Man, Brad is DRUNK.
11:00 PM: “Mud on the Tires” sounds even better live!
11:02 PM: ‘CAUSE IT’S A GOOD NIIIIIIGHT TO BE OUT THERE SOAKIN’ UP THE MOONLIIIIIIGHT….
11:03 PM: Correction: “Mud on the Tires” sounds better live when I’M not singing along.
11:30 PM: …Did Brad Paisley just sing a line from “Let It Go”!? That might be the most adorable thing I have ever witnessed.
12:30: Heading to Jodi and Rob’s campsite to skip any of the Oatfield insanity.
1:30 AM: Jodi’s group has this DJ set in a trailer set up at their site, so they’re having a dance party. Great mix of music. Just danced to “Rebel Yell” which, according to Jodi’s friend Todd (apparently tonight’s DJ), is the second best song ever. I ask him what the best is. He says I’ll have to wait until he plays it later.
2:00 AM: Security just made us shut off the music! Nooooo! NOW I’LL NEVER KNOW!
2:10 AM: Jodi is trying to revive the dance party by playing music on her phone. It’s not really working out.
2:20 AM: Now Jodi is trying to revive the dance party by convincing people to sing and has pulled up the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline.” God, I love my family.
2:30 AM: Things are getting weird with a big foam glowstick. I like this group.
3:30 AM: Jodi is insisting that I crash at her campsite rather than walk back to Oatfield. Why can’t she accept that absolutely no one would mess with my mad ninja skills!?
3:32 AM: So…no one just saw me trip over the ramp up to the DJ trailer, right? Good.
3:35 AM: Fine, fine. I appreciate her concern for my safety. And her friend Jackie is being nice enough to let me sleep on her air mattress.
3:40 AM: I should probably stop drinking now anyway.
3:45 AM: Ooh, fireball!
6:30 AM: Ugh, fireball…
1:00 PM: Got back to Oatfield a few hours ago. It’s kind of drizzling, and the whole campsite is pretty quiet. Just playing games with Alisha, Brian, Sam, and Brit (B.S., Presidents and Assholes, Cards against Humanity) under the canopy. Maybe today will be a little more laid-back.
3:00 PM: I spoke too soon. This place is a shit show. I just had someone of questionable drinking age slur/shout “I JUST HAD SIX SHOTS IN TEN MINUTES!” about two inches away from my face, so that was fun.
5:00 PM: My tent is currently occupied by one of my camp-mates and a “friend” he made here. I don’t mind, but it seems kind of awkward considering the girl is camping with her mom, who is sitting right across from our campsite (and no, this isn’t the possibly seventeen-year-old girl..why are there so many girls here with their mothers!?).
6:00 PM: Camp-mate insists that the girl’s mom doesn’t know what’s going on. Uh-huh. I’m sure she thinks the two drunk kids alone in the tent are just playing Go Fish.
10:00 PM: Waiting for Zac Brown Band to start. Alisha is loudly singing “Savages” fromPocahontas. I have no clue how that started.
10:20 PM: OH MY GOD, someone here is dressed up as Beetlejuice. He has the crazy hair and zombie makeup and striped suit and everything. Who thinks “You know what I should dress up as at a country music festival? A Tim Burton character!”? I mean, I love it, just surprising. I should get a picture with him.
10:21 PM: Where did he go!? How did I lose someone wearing a black and white striped suit and zombie makeup in a crowd of country fans in less than a minute?! This might be my biggest We Fest regret.
11:00 PM: Some random drunk guy standing next to me just grabbed my beer, gulped a bunch of it down, and handed it back to me saying “Just wanted a sip.” General admission is SO much fun.
11:10 PM: The fiddler in the Zac Brown Band is so damn cute. I never thought the fiddle was a remotely sexy instrument until now.
11:30 PM: Alisha just pointed out that the fiddler looks like Chevy Chase.
11:31 PM: DAMMIT, LISH.
11:32 PM: …Still sexy.
12:30 AM: Pretty sure this frighteningly tall drunk guy is going to fall over on me any second. I don’t think the band is going to play “Chicken Fried” at this point, so may as well leave and beat the rush. Time to head over to Lake Sallie to return Jodi’s hat.
1:00 AM: Jodi is letting me keep the hat! I mean, I know in actuality I probably won’t even wear it until We Fest next year, but it’s SO CUTE!
1:30 AM: Heading back to Oatfield since we’re leaving early-ish in the morning. It is impossible to wear this hat without walking with a little swagger.
1:40 AM: Yeah, I’m definitely coming back next year.