|No trash on the ground...|
This is the eighteenth entry in the dossier known simply as Reggae on the River, 2016, a poorly organized attempt to convey the essence of this epic annual event. Though unsavory in nature for the most part, I will now endeavor to get my act together and get serious for at least fifteen minutes.
I don’t want there to be any doubt that I mean what I say, if only for this one post.
The quality of festival life took a quantum leap up this year at French’s Camp, when Reggae on the River, 2016, debuted. Across the venue and across the board, for all four days, we saw orchestrated a concerted effort to not only keep up with, but to stay ahead of the logistical behemoth that is all part of pulling off a monumental undertaking like this.
Succinctly put, there was less trash, the bathrooms were meticulously maintained and the level of mutual respect by all parties was at the highest of levels. This is not the cannabis-fueled prattling of an old hippie, so much as an objective look at what I saw and experienced over the four-day event.
OK, the jury is still passing the bong around on that one.
Nonetheless, I have heard tales of much woe from past ROTR’s, stories that would curdle your chai tea, and even experienced isolated instances of primitive behavior last year. I am therefore pleased to announce that someone is clearly on his game.
Or her game, just as likely. Someone appears to have made the connection between “cause and effect,” as in, “Because great effort is being made to enhance our festival experience, we, the attending public, will rise to your level of expectations.”
What may have appeared at first glance to be a sleazy way to make some quick bucks, the recycled-cup program had just the desired effect: The grounds remained free of the thousands of plastic cups from years-gone-by, to be replaced by an awareness that if you threw your cup on the ground, you would have to pony up six bucks, in order to get another beverage.
This applied not only to alcohol but to soft drinks as well. How many kids were going to throw away a metal cup with the ROTR logo and the date indicated on the side? How many adults as well?
Therefore, because there were no cups, there was much less chance that the average attendee would toss his or her debris on the ground. It was just that simple. I actually saw the trash cans and the recycling bins being emptied as New Kingston played Thursday night.
The sanitation crew started early and worked hard to set the tone. I wrote “It’s My Job,” Chapter Seventeen in this seemingly unending odyssey that is the 32nd rendition of Reggae on the River, as a tribute to this sterling effort.
Four days is an eternity if it is hot, you are properly hydrating and using the facilities is comparable to sitting through a 3-D showing of “Freddy and Jason Vs. King Kong and Godzilla.”
Whereas it’s not life-threatening, it will scare the stuffing out of you.
Did I say an eternity? Just how long can you hold your breath?
Reggae on the River, 2016, set the standard, and it is now entrenched higher than the billowing pavilion sails, much to the appreciation of all that attended.
There are going to be those out there who are going to disagree, based on individual experiences. As I noted in an earlier post, I did see at least one PAP that had been yellow-taped close. Had I been one to pop open the door, prior to the yellow tape having been utilized, I would be singing a different tune.
Regardless, according to the two dudes who were cleaning one set of toilets, a honey wagon visited every PAP three times a day, a crew cleaning and restoring them to original status. This concerted effort appears to have had the same cause and effect results that the recycled-cup strategy produced: Because the bathrooms were not gross, people kept them that way.
I was also impressed that the volunteer security staff maintained a high degree of both patience and enthusiasm, either initiating the “Happy Reggae” exchange while asking to see wristbands, or responding accordingly if the greeting were extended to them. It set a positive note from the outset.
So if the trash problem in the bowl itself is vastly improved, and the port-a-potties are clean and smell fresh, and the security personnel are extending the branch of respect, it would seem reasonable that expectations would be great for a smoother, more enjoyable experience.
Great Expectations. Sounds like a title to a book, rather than the coming to fruition of a solid plan of action, put into play by those running the iconic music festival. These individuals deserve recognition for a job well-done.
If it were the reverse, and conditions were atrocious, indignation would abound and the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth would be gruesome.
That such is not the case, let us give thanks and appreciation, and while we’re doing that, will you excuse me, please?
I need to make a quick pit stop.
Tomorrow: Behind the Tent Door: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter…”