Marolt: Making a concerted effort to enjoy the long weekend |

Marolt: Making a concerted effort to enjoy the long weekend

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

Three nights of the Jazz festival in a row is enough. It was fun at the time, but I’m glad it’s over. I say it every year: the three-day pass is too much. Next year I am buying daily tickets to the shows I really want to see; yet every year I get suckered into buying a wristband for the whole shebang.

I made a mistake from the get-go. When I put on my wristband before Friday evening’s shows, I rushed and ended strapping it on too tightly. That thing is an expensive weekend companion and you don’t want it to slip off because they won’t replace it if you do.

In that case they systematically assume you are a liar and a cheater trying to buck their system and resell your ticket. And, because of this distrust, if you lose your wristband, you will lose your investment in the entire long weekend and end up spending it alone in the dry grass on the side of the wind-whipped hill above the venue listening to warbled music ebbing and flowing on changes in the breeze, looking down through binoculars at all the fun and wondering what your friends are doing right now, what you did to deserve this cruel fate and dreading the Facebook posts to come.

Once the ends were stuck fast, my wristband was going nowhere. Fortunately, I did not get it so tight that gangrene was a threat, but the flesh on either side was bulging and it became an irritation that grew from mild to moderate to enough to drive me nearly mosh-pit crazy by the final night.

We had a ceremony at St. Mary on Sept. 2 to dedicate and bless the incredible remodel. I was asked to carry an altar cloth to the front of the church during the proceedings. I could not do that in good conscious with the concert party pass and red “over 21” OK-to-drink booze wristbands on my arm outstretched to the archbishop. I wore my longest sleeves and used two-sided tape to keep them attached to my hands and my secrets safe.

The wristbands are funny. It’s not like I am ashamed that I am attending a music festival and it’s certainly no secret that I am over 21 and I naturally look like a guy who might enjoy a belt now and then, so what gives? I think it is either that they simply look ridiculous or they make me feel like a slave to some stupid system that assumes I’m not trustworthy.

The second night the music was mellow, not great for getting the heart pumping, but good for making jaws flap. It was a nice change from the opening night, which definitely was not locals’ night. My wife and I had a contest to see who could first spot somebody we knew. We gazed across the crowd for 45 minutes before she pointed out somebody we allegedly knew, but he looked only vaguely familiar to me.

Sept. 1 we talked, and talked and talked and talked some more. We weren’t the only ones. Everyone was talking. Unless you were right up beneath the stage stacks, it was difficult to hear the music well. So, we talked. We had half a dozen different conversations between the food tents and our blanket. I held a gyro in my right hand for more than an hour before I could take a bite.

One thing we need to remember is that dope is legal now. Smoking it in a crowd is no longer rebellious. It’s like smoking regular old unfiltered cigarettes. It’s not cool. It’s obnoxious and rude.

Thanks for trying to give me a contact high, but to me your secondhand smoke is just category five bad breath. It’s like me trying to give you a contact drunk by burping beer into your mouth. You fought for and won your right to light up — not exactly like abolishing slavery, but a victory nonetheless. With legalization comes responsibility. Take it to the designated smoking area. Respect others’ right to breathe clean, healthy air. The same goes for vaping. It’s just an electronic Marlboro with a nasty tooty-fruity odor — not exactly a demonstration of technological savvy.

Lastly, I like the creation of the standing-room-only area up close to the stage. It was a wise move to convert that from tarp-size parcels of private property into public land. There were a lot fewer territorial battles along that front this year. That change almost made up for the convoluted mess they created out of the transportation system. At least they moved the fights out into the parking lot.

Roger Marolt spent Monday recovering from the labor of recreating. Email at