My company does not often give tickets away for free, so when they do I try to enjoy the advantage.

For the second year in a row I got tickets for the "Belgium Rhythm and Blues festival" ( Although I am very much blues illiterate, I had a good time last year and I was looking forward to going again. It's a fairly small Belgian festival (20000 visitors for entire the weekend) but that makes it quite cosy. Children are running around, getting their faces painted, etc.

It was incredibly hot outside (this is the second heatwave of the summer going on...period intermediate had temperatures of 25-28C...I love this summer!!!). The concerts took place in a huge open tent but there was no spot available anymore in the shade so we spread our little picknick carpet in the sun and enjoyed the music with the necessary sun screen on. Fortunately a little breeze came to help now and then....blowing more dust on my sweaty arms and legs making me look very dirty! I thought I had tanned a lot, but it all washed off in the shower at night :p.

It is always fun to observe people and on a festival like this you see all kinds of them passing by. i was trying to group them into categories, but I started to have so many categories that I kinda lost track. I guess that's good, people shouldn't be categorised like that, but it's fun to do that anyway just for once without paying too much attention to it. Here are some of the most common ones.
* the "trucker" types seemed to be the biggest blues fans: big moustaches, optional leather jacket (yes in 30 C!), jeans or dark pants, boots or big shoes but sandals are acceptable as well, lots of tattoos, a bit older, always a beer in the hand, T-shirt of a truck/motorbike or bluesclub.

There is also a trucker/country mixture: the boots are definately cowboy boots and they put a head on (and probably if it would have been colder, wearing a long jacket).
I add up all the people wearing torn jeans.

Besides there aren't too many woman in this type.

* The outdoor types : zippable "outdoor" pants, hiking boots, sports T-shirts, ... They are more brand and fashion sensitive but comfort goes above all.

* The posh types: most of them woman, wearing "fashionable" clothes that are totally not suited for going to a music festival such as high heals (!!), white linnen skirts, beautiful fashionable tops that get dirty easily or that are not comfortable in this weather.

I guess I'll put the women with beautiful bikini's in this category as well as I assume they like to get seen.

* The hippy types. they show up at all festivals. They seem to be hiding most of the year but all of a sudden they pop-up every where in the summer. Wearing colorful long dresses, patch skirts, knitted bikinis (yes!?), sandals, braids or dreadlocks, piercings all over, bandana's in the hair.
I must admit, there weren't many of them. I see them more often at the Pole Pole section of the festival in Ghent (world music) or at Dranouter (folk music) where they are at the front row dancing and jumping around. Maybe the hippies aren't quite into blues music as much.

* The slops, just wearing whatever, probably because it's comfortable and it can get dirty. I am making that assumption because I kinda count myself in this category when I go to a festival. I look for clothes that can easily be washed and that are comfy : old shorts and tops :p.

Anyway, I don't want to push people into little categories but it was fun to observe them and you automatically come up with these analogies.

My company Alken-Maes had a good publicity stand with huge ice cubes on the field in which tickets were hidden for a contest. In the late afternoon, the cubes had sufficiently melted down and everywhere on the field you started seeing people running around or chasing each other with chuncks of ice to cool down. I took a little piece myself to melt in my neck for cooling. Nice! Good publicity guys! You want a refreshment...take a Maes ;-). or an ice cube from Maes :p.

What was the best music that we heard: it was a guy playing on a "singing saw"... playing the violin on a flexible saw. It wasn't quite blues, but I really loved it. But also the bluessingers playing harmonica and having a really long breath were nice.

The thing I regretted was the food stands: there was no healthy food choices there. I guess it doesn't go along with a blues festival, the festival where the most beer is consumed per visitor. But in 30C I would have enjoyed different choices from fries, pitta, sausages and hamburges, fried fish (Dutch stand :p) , pizza and some oriental noodles and loempias. I would have paid so much for a fruitstand with big melon chuncks. It would be really profitable because they usually charge you a few euros for a piece !! In the festival of ghent which is oging on right now, there are always fruit stands as well and in folk festivals like Dranouter and world festivals like Couleur Café are known for their healthy, fair trade food stands etc... In dranouter there is always soo much fruit salad, a stand where you just can get bread, soup stands etc next to the usual fast food crap. Since this bluesfestival is comparable in their family friendly approach and their cosieness, I had just expected some more exotic and healthy food choices. I guess not.

Anyway, in the mean time the festival of Ghent is going on at full speed and I've booked in next Thursday and Friday to go. yihaaaa.


Anonymous said…

I LOVE reading your blog!! I know I don't ever e-mail you but I love checking every day to see if you have updated it or not...India was a long trip for me!! Ha ha!! I hope that you are enjoying the heat- it is what we are experiencing here too. A little too hot but I too am not complaining. I'll take it over the heat any day!! Anyways, talk to you soon. Deb
Anonymous said…
I meant I'll take it over the RAIN any day!! :)
Allie said…
The festival sounds fun. I love those kinds of weekends as you get to experience a different side of life, in the way that it is outside of your norm. I am not much for blues myself, but I am betting that I too would have loved seeing/hearing the saw fiddler and watching people have a go on the harmonicas.

Oh ... And don't worry, I am quite often a bitch as I secretly categorize people where ever I go. :)

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