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10 Ways to Get What You Deserve at an Outdoor Festival

This post is dedicated to my friend Janet and her righteous indignation at the righteous babes at the Ani Defranco concert (Main Stage, Bluesfest, July 9.)

janet and the naked cell phone guy


1. Arrive at any point after the concert has started, but be determined to get the best seat in the house. This won’t be easy, but it’s SO worth it.

2. Just push people out of your way. People expect to be pushed around at outdoor concerts. So what if they’ve been there for hours, laying claim to the perfect location? You’re here now, and it’s your turn.

3. Step on people’s feet if you want them to move.

4. Step on their stuff too. And kick over their drinks.

5. Once you’ve displaced everybody and claimed your spot, call your friends on your cell phone and give them a real-time, blow-by-blow description of the concert. You’ll want to shout, so everybody around you can hear your description of the concert over the concert.

6. Answer your cell phone and talk about deductibles for 10 minutes. Yeah, it’s boring, but it makes you look important.

7. Just throw your garbage on the ground – the volunteers can pick it up later. That’s what they’re not paid to do.

8. If you know the words to the songs, sing along – preferably at the top of your lungs and directly into the nearest stranger’s ear. If they tell you it hurts, apologize and keep doing it.

9. When you’re clapping along with the music, make a point of clapping your neighbour’s hair.

10. Remember, there’s no such thing as a space too small for dancing. (Handy Tip: If you smoke while you dance, lots of people will give you more space.)


11. Don’t bother applauding the band. But if you’re asked to give it up for the sponsoring beer company, knock yourself out. Scream like a banshee, grab your package and make buffalo noises.


By the way, Ani’s happy now. She says it wasn’t her choice, but somebody came along and MADE her happy.

I tried to take some photos of Ani, but you know the setup of the Bluesfest main stage is not very accessible for either taking photos or watching concerts. It’s like having a festival on a highway, with the stage at one end, and then all the Jags and Porsches, and then all the regular folk, who can’t see the stage but know it’s up there somewhere. The nice folks at Bluesfest have put up a big screen so we can see the performers too.

Here, I’ll illustrate:

This is the stage – note that I took this photo by holding the camera above my head, so the camera actually saw far more than I did.
Ani on stage

And here’s a picture of someone taking a picture of Ani on the big screen.

Ani on screen

6 comments to 10 Ways to Get What You Deserve at an Outdoor Festival

  • LOL. Awww, and I found Ani DiFranco far more civilized than Great Big Sea – maybe it’s all crap all the time in the crowd with the occasional pocket of goodness. Have some pics up here on flickr.

  • I didn’t see Great Big Sea, Jess. (As for Bonnie Raitt, I was content to lie on the ground way back by the food concessions and stare at the six stars in the sky.)

    You’ve got some great pix on Flickr. I have to admit this year photography has been a bit of an afterthought for me. In some other years I’ve had a bluesfest media pass, which keeps you focused on photography.

  • great tips, I’ll have to remember those

  • *Sigh* Ahh, Bluesfest. It’s nice to know that such a big festival is such a huge let down to so many people. It’s nice though, that the city does indeed try. It’s nice to (sort of) hear the musicians… expensive, but nice. Besides, aren’t things that drive one to write rants more memorable than those that are just enjoyable?

  • Paul

    Sure there are inconsiderate people at these things. Tell them about it and move on. This was more or less a new artist for me and I thought the show was fantastic. Really fantastic. And so was the sound. You should worry less about your sight lines for photos (or get a press pass) and listen to the music. There are probably lots of people PO’d about all the a**holes with their cameras too. The photos you show here seem to indicate that you got there after the show started too – no need to be so … righteous.

  • Paul, first of all, you’re wrong, I didn’t get there late. And secondly, you’re about three years too late leaving this comment – this was a post about Ani’s concert at the 2006 Bluesfest.

    Have a nice day.