September 3rd, 2012
I Survived The Budweiser Made In America Festival On The Parkway And Had Exactly Two 24-Ounce $11 Budweiser Cans, Pt. 2
On a technological note, this is a bit of catastrophe. Sure, the sound from the stages hasn’t had a single glitch. But at a certain point this afternoon, everything stopped working. So if you’re not interested in communicating with anyone else or making a phone call for a handful of hours, you’re fine. You’re chillin’ and drinkin’ – IT’S THE END OF SUMMER. But as a media person who’s trying to Tweet, this is just plain annoying. In re-sending Tweets over and over again, my phone is dying repeatedly. I keep leaving sets to plug my phone back in because it takes about ten attempts before a Tweet or Instagram goes through. In the media tent, we had an MIA-press network that worked for a minute. It’s not even a network to choose at this point. Texts aren’t going through. Phone calls drop before you’re connected. Is it just because there are 50,000 smart phones trying to do the same thing at the same time within a mile radius?
And as someone predominantly staying sober and responsible, this is turning into a bit of a nightmare. I’m not with friends. And yet bands of drunks are bumping into me, stepping on me and pushing through wherever I stand to go wherever it is they’re going. It seems like no space is safe. You find a spot that seems like a good spot – wait 15 minutes. You’ll be swarmed momentarily. Every time a set starts, within the first three songs the hoards from the other stage come piling up on you. It happened at Janelle Monae hard. I thought I had a good spot – far enough away from the stage but close enough to not HAVE to rely on the massive projection screens. I left the MMG set to be in a good position when Janelle took the stage. Sure enough, after two songs I was getting bumped and pushed by people far drunker than I and far more brazen; trying to get closer to the stage or bring beers to their friends.
The amount of bros and hos walking around with next-to-nothing on and Budweiser cans in hand is astounding. There are hardly any ‘adults’ – meaning, people older than 35. The ones that are here are probably people like me; press folks, security and staff. A strong majority of men have their shirts off. Tons of girls have tiny jean shorts on that leave little to the imagination and, say, a bikini top. I enjoy skin as much as the next gay, but this is party central and everyone knows when you’re not partying, parties aren’t that fun. The media tent was good for free drink and I wolfed a few segments of a tomato, mozzerella and balsamic sub. But now the drinks are gone and the wi-fi doesn’t work.
The cool thing is that, in coming back to the tent to charge my phone after trying over and over again to Tweet and Instagram, I got to lay my eyes on Jigga himself. Coming out of the porta-potties, ominous luggish bodyguard-types came around the corner and then, in the middle, was Jay-Z wearing aviators, jeans and a v-neck t-shirt. My eyes lit up and I gave a very cool head-nod. I don’t think he noticed.
Check out these dudes: