Without the army of volunteers which invades French’s Camp, the week before Reggae on the River begins, there would be no ROTR. When we first arrive, there is nothing behind the storage building, except a 50 x 50 foot slab and a wide open field. Upon this slab and the immediate area around it, the Ambassador Lounge emerges, like the phoenix out of the ashes.
Backs against the wall, Thursday morning, only hours from the Grand Opening, we were still grappling with logistics. Now that there was only one main kitchen, different from the two kitchens of past years, how was food supposed to be served in the Ambassador Lounge, where the performers and other VIPs were being catered to? On top of it all, Bull had lost his phone.
Melody got salty and accosted Nate, who explained that he had lost his phone. Tell it to someone who cares, she had said, so we went back to camp, to find that someone. We collapsed into the camp-chairs, trying to ignore the heat, and fired up some Lemon Ogre.
Did I say we? I meant me.
We used my phone to call HeadSodBuster so we could get a phone number for Ross, gave him a call and found out he had just scored a hole-in-one, by coming through with the golf cart.
These are the kinds of problems we faced, all day Thursday. At one point, around three in the afternoon, I was assigned the task of stringing some clothesline across the upper echelon of the kitchen, in order to hang a four-foot fluorescent light. I was also supposed to hang a 30-foot-long banner, and was trying to figure out how to get thirty feet out of a 25-foot-long cord, when I glanced up.
Striding toward me was a trio of Cal Fire officials, clutching clipboards, men on a mission from God. They congregated directly in the shadow of my ladder, so I decided to let discretion be the better part of valor, and paused for the cause, some place where I could not hear the dialogue. My friend Lennon, (“You know, like John…”) had all he could do to grab paper and pencil and start scribbling notes.
Just because there were all those electrical outlets positioned right beside the filled propane tank, and there was nary a fire extinguisher to be found on-site, did that mean we had issues?
That would be an affirmative and all adjustments had to be completed by seven that evening. Later Nate was to explain that the idea was to throw something horribly obvious and amateurish at them, and be deferential in our response, so as to take the glare off of other equally problematic issues.
According to Bull, the plan had worked to perfection.
He also added that as soon as seven PM rolled around, and Cal Fire was gone, we could go ahead and finish hanging that banner. I told him that was fine with me because I would be back in camp by seven, probably already asleep.
Did I say asleep? Only in my dreams, did I sleep Thursday night. My daydreams.
Because when I did, this is what I was likely to hear, “Loud? You think I’m loud? Well. I AM ONLY GOING TO GET LOUDER!”
Someone who comes to ROTR and expects to sleep at night, is a special kind of stupid.