I managed to get my fill of live music. I’ve been starved for it, have felt eerily incomplete without dancing. On Saturday, Mel, Rachel, and I met with our friends in Bangkok and headed to the mountains of Khao Yai for a two-day camping adventure at Thailand’s biggest annual music festival. I was not familiar with any of the bands and was unsure of what to expect. It turned out to be sensational. The scenery was picturesque–we were surrounded by soft blue mountains in every direction and were relieved from the Thai heat by a constant, benevolent breeze. Walking through the crowd at Ferris Wheel stage, Mel and I were pulled into a choir of ecstatic singing Thais and pretended to know the words as we sang along, threw our hands in the air, and jumped around with them. They were nearly in tears over their favorite pop artist, 25 Hours. Their enthusiasm was contagious. I spent the day head banging to metal bands, dancing on stage in a 60’s psychedelia-themed tent that blasted Spice Girls, and bouncing around at the reggae stage where I busted out my best moves. Drinking coconuts, freaking people out in a Thai male model mask, trying to communicate in Thainglish, and getting $6 massages. At night, I outlasted my fellow farangs and endeavored on a solitary adventure of all-night dancing until 5 am.
On Sunday, the unforgiving sun woke us up around 7 am. We saw an impressive two-piece band that melded beat boxing with the melancholy sounds of the violin in a most satisfying way. They played a Beirut cover and we were head over heels. Later, we mingled with mascots dressed as bears and starfish. It pleases me to see my profession (once a mascot, always a mascot) so prevalent in this weird and fantastic world we live in. I enjoy the types of people that music festivals bring together. A family reunion for eccentric spirits. We sat for an interpretative dance performance, which I loved, and a mime and ventriloquist show too.
Unfortunately, the rest of Sunday had us stuck in the mud–literally. It just about monsooned. In a matter of minutes, our few belongings became soggy, the grounds turned to mush, and we were drenched from head to toe. Trying to traverse through the mud which grew caked to our shoes like viscous clay was as dangerous and difficult as hiking up a mudslide. We gave it our best effort, even got massages in the pouring rain to brighten our spirits, but decided to give up after hours of being waterlogged with no music. We headed back to Bangkok for a celebratory brunch on Rachel’s birthday and splurged on a rare $9 gourmet meal–eggs with cheese and French toast filled with peanut butter, bananas, and, praise Jesus, bacon. Feeling good, feeling great. Feeling great, feeling good, how are you?