Regardless of your affinity (or lack thereof) towards Mumford and Sons, Alabama Shakes, and Edward Sharpe, you have to admit The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Guthrie is a freakin’ cool thing to happen in Oklahoma. It’s going to generate some serious cash for a historic Oklahoma town that peaked in 1911 and seems like an idyllic weekend for the young and adventurous hipsters who want to think they are young and adventurous, right?
Well…yes and no. Lately, a few red flags have come up that have many people worried about the logistics of the festival. I’m not even talking about security, police forces, or Oklahoma’s strict and silly marijuana laws. It seems most of the cyber rioting stems from festival and campsite rules.
I’ve rounded up some ticked-off Facebook posts via the Gentlemen of the Road Guthrie Stopover page.
August 27th, they announced what items wouldn’t be allowed on festival grounds. These were pretty standard items (no fireworks, weapons, outside food or drinks, etc) but a few banned items (umbrellas, glow sticks, blankets, chairs, more than one water bottle, etc) left some concert goers in a tizzy. They ranged everywhere from the upbeat and sarcastic:
To the very, very angry:
As with any outdoor event that draws tens of thousands of people, there’s going to be some rules that kinda suck. Although it’d be wonderful to get to enjoy the show sitting in a lounge chair under an umbrella (hell, a pina colada and an indigenous child fanning me with a palm leaf would be pretty sweet too), I can see why festival planner laid the ix-nay down on these items.
But blankets?! Really, what is the difference between a blanket and a tarp, XXL sweater, a towel, or any other large piece of fabric that keeps you from sitting in the grass like a peasant? It appears many other people were bummed and confused by this as well.
Don’t worry Blair, actually all of our comments and concerns did pay off! Luckily for everyone who has tired legs or aching backs (or is just lazy like yours truly), the “no blanket” rule has been revoked. Hooray!
A mere days after this debacle was solved, festival planners posted rules for the actual campsite. Again, some of the rules are pretty standard for an outdoor music festival (no pets, explosives, guns, etc). But, they also made it know that parking would cost $20 for the weekend, and you’d have to tote your camping supplies to a tractor shuttle, then carry it to your campsite. Pretty much, it’s going to be a land run, but without any figurative or literal horsepower. Oh yeah, you also can’t start a campfire, and can’t bring any outside alcohol.
Of course, the Facebook world reacted to this with everything from concern to annoyance to mild rage. Here’s a pretty good sampling:
So not being able to imbibe on your own libations or make your own hearty meal does kind of suck–especially for those staying for three nights, and everyone on a tight budget. However, these comments mainly excite me because they indicate that a lot of people want to throw down copious amounts of alcohol. That, I’m totally okay with.
And in true Oklahoma form, we’ve had Angry Libertarian Guy:
And his best friend Angry Gun Guy:
I think I speak for everyone when I say that I’m really upset that Justin Stump won’t be making it out to the festival.
Like any good social media manager would do, the person running the Gentlemen Of the Road Guthrie Facebook page posted a message to address the many concerns and questions their site has been inundated with:
Despite a few inconveniences and oddities–I mean, it’d be really nice to be able to drink a beer in my tent that costs less than $5 an ounce–I wouldn’t let a few Debbie Downers, angry complainers, or bonafide Derps get you down. Our home state is hosting a giant, awesome outdoor music festival. If you were liable for 35,000 people, you’d probably be too scared to let drunk and/or high people start fires, wield filet knives, or have access to their cars right next to a tent village as well. The booze rules suck, but don’t we all remember the high school days of smuggling alcohol around in water bottles? Getting mixed drink components to your campsite shouldn’t be a big deal, and 99% of all concerts don’t let you bring outside alcohol inside the venue anyway, so there’s no real difference there.
I think what could be going on is that attendees are a mix of both very experienced and totally inexperienced outdoor music festival campers, and much of the hospitality planning was left in local people’s hands. It’s not unreasonable to assume that the city of Guthrie is on the verge of a panic attack right about now. Couple that with hardcore festival veterans and a bunch of people who have no idea how to pack or what’s in store for them, and you’re bound to have some natural chaos.
This whole ordeal could very well end up being a disorganized, logistical nightmare. But does that really matter? You bought your ticket knowing that it’s going down a tiny city in a summer month, so you can’t possibly be that caught off guard. I went to Wakarusa this past May–it stormed so bad that half the shows were cancelled and festival administration told everyone to take shelter in their cars–and it was still a blast. Everyone’s in for a memorable weekend, and sometimes a road block or two will make it that much better of a story to tell. Plus, it’s Alabama Shakes and Mumford and Sons! If you’re too hung up on a few inconvenient safety regulations to enjoy the show, you’re probably too lame for me to enjoy the presence of anyway.
Track Chelsea down at the festival…or just follow her on Twitter…at @xCawoodstock