Photo of Resonance staff, artists, and friends by Bradford Watkins

Written by Taco Olmstead

Dawn turned to full blown morning and my eyes were thick with sleeplessness and simmered from the bright light. My mind ping ponged between thoughts of regret of having made poor choices in the twilight hours and the boundless energy that welled up from my prideful spirit at not succumbing to my age or the wisdom that comes with it. Was it really a poor choice? To spend the night philandering about with my passion for event production and my yearning for the camaraderie of friendships made there? My justification was firmly rooted in the thought that despite my age and well being, how often do I live this life with such good friends? Twice, thrice? A handful of nights per year are spent with these friends and I know that there will be a time when my mind and body give in to the weariness that comes with age. I will not go into the morning light gracefully but rather as a rag tag denizen of drunken reveries and foolish meanderings to a window of opportunity that long ago passed. I’d rather find myself awake on the other side staring at my corpse in a morgue than lose these precious moments embraced in the love and laughter of my friendships, that really is the truth of it isn’t it? How much do we value those precious times versus the guarantee we all are given; we will eventually grow old and have little more than our memories to comfort our aching hearts and joints; that no person lies on their death bed thinking that perhaps they should have slept more; because at the end of this life I can guarantee that I will heartily confirm that “fun sure is fun”.

Love is so much more than “whom”, it is an action that moves through us into so many different facets of our life. Love is the thread that ties all of the elements of our choices together; our families, friends, strangers, encounters, both work and play; Love moves effortlessly with no permission from us through these fields in our life. Love is the result of our simple breaths, the electrical synapses in our mind and body spark Love into our lives with every heartbeat and despite efforts made by many, cannot be defined in the narrowness of only people. Love is everything and nothing, like the Tao, undefinable but we all know the touch, texture and shape. At most every event I attend or work, the presence of Love goes beyond the machinations of human connectivity but rather is found in each aspect of the pointlessness of celebration and the necessity of producing jollification for ourselves if not for any other soul there. Event production is an act of Love that despite the god awful hours, risks to the mind and body and the inevitability of the debt accrued, it is indeed an eternal fountain for Love within. For these reasons I have never enjoyed laying on the sidelines apathetic to the woes of the production staff. While it is true that some events are given more effort than others, it always rings true; I enjoy being a part of that effort.

Cars started pulling in hundreds of music fans on Wednesday at Resonance. Photo by Bradford Watkins.

Wednesday began the ingress for Resonance, though it was a partial ingress , people were lined up and there was a pressure on the staff none the less. Jim Dewey and Crazy Legs worked through the night as did most of the staff hoping to ensure that all systems would be a go in order to dazzle and wow each and every attendee upon the grounds that evening. Kenny drove by us and reminded us “go to sleep!” in the most loving way he could muster. Despite his pleas to us to look at the long game he too succumbed to our shenanigans before moving on to the pastimes of Kenny. Elise awoke early per her usual routine and I caught a nap that would be long enough to content the necessity of my mind but not too long that my playful spirit would be deprived of it’s favored pastime, fun.

Photo of Taco by Tyler Goble of ZenFocus Photography.

I plopped down beside Edward, our Production Manager for the event and thanked him for the hospitality of his whiskey the night before whilst simultaneously depriving him of more nicotine. He looked at me and asked “are you here to help?” I sheepishly responded that I was at his disposal if so needed. He then handed me a radio and told me to in fact help. He already was entwined with two radios, both in a constant state of chatter and the third handed to me was a constant cacophony of requests, demands and otherwise tawdry comments to distract from missions ongoing and past.

Radio chatter is perhaps one of my favorite festival pastimes. By no means am I saying that I get on the radio and “step on” calls but rather I truly appreciate the banter. There is nothing better than upon hearing a panic inducing situation unfold on the radio having it obliterated by a wise ass comment or two that border upon hysterical. The professionalism of doing so is questionable but the necessity of being lighthearted throughout the most serious of situations is the difference between the attendee believing the event went smoothly versus watching panic stricken staffers running amok.

As our day moved forward, the stress level rose. It seems that a festival build has been and likely always will be a long series of fires requiring someone to put them out. Inevitably gear will be forgotten or absent, contractors and vendors will be late, staff will be absent and misunderstandings consistently arise. I am firmly convinced that there is no amount of nicotine, or any other substance for that matter, that can counter the stress of event production. It seems that each radio call facilitates the most perfect time to pull a cigarette from a pack and have it deeply inhaled in about five breaths. With each inhalation of carcinogenic smoke there is an ever increasing feeling that drunkenness would be preferred to sobriety and maybe everyone should become educated in the art of fellating themselves while simultaneously sticking their head completely up their own ass. The astounding amount of stupidity that afflicts us as humans when running on no sleep and powered by an unknown number of stimulating psychedelics in our off time is of little surprise to any veteran event producer. Everything is a surprise while everything remains static during each build. SSDD…

“Tomorrow you’ll be my shadow brother” he said, as I handed him my radio at the end of the night. I placidly walked away yearning for the comfort of my wife. So much for being a simple theme coordinator on my birthday weekend, at least I have a castle here.