In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the electronic artist, Manatee Commune, talks about some of his crazy moments from touring. You can check out the feature, after the break.
My companions quickly passed out as I questioned my decision to pursue being a musician.
Gradually I gathered the last of my energy, jumped in my car, and entered the coordinates of the festival. Thirty minutes later I pulled into a well-lit parking lot, completely devoid of cell service and severely confused as to why I couldn’t hear or see a stage anywhere in the distance. I drove in circles until a security guard appeared from nowhere.
“Are you the Manatee guy?” he asked as I rolled down my window.
“Yeah, I think so,” I said.
“Keep driving, take your first left, and stay left.” He pointed down the pitch black road I had been tentatively cruising down.
I drove and drove and drove for what felt like another hour before I finally found a left turn. It was an old logging road that seemed almost abandoned, but I followed my directions, staying left at every fork I came across. It was so dark I felt like I had entered a portal, a wormhole that would lead me to a new universe.
Finally, a tiny sign appeared at the fifth turn, ‘Love and Awakening This Way’. Within moments the entire forest was lit with rainbow LED’s, tents and trailers packed tightly along the dirt road, partiers roaming the grounds, dancing and sprinting around my car. I followed the crowds to the only visible stage where a gathering of sleepy festival staff greeted me.
Weary and confused, I grabbed as much gear as I could and followed the crew through the audience as they lead me to a massive tree on the far end of the dance floor. I realized as we approached that the monstrous cedar dawned a wooden skirt, a platform that wrapped 360 degrees around its trunk. Seeing the array of wedge monitors and the bouncing DJ, it suddenly occurred to me I would playing on a tree-stage with an audience that could watch from all angles.
Across from my stage stood one of the biggest projection screens I have ever seen. Over two stories high, covering the entire main stage, stretching from the ground to the tip of the highest trusses. Huge, coiling visuals flowed and twirled in a kaleidoscope, warm, vibrant tones pulsing to the beat. I wanted to take better note on how something could be so detailed and so large, but six o’ clock was approaching and the sky was beginning to turn from black to purple, confirming to my semi-conscious mind that I should not be awake right now.
Lucky for me, the crew running sound was not nearly as grumpy or delirious as I was. They promptly mic’d me up, patched my many instruments into the system and gave me a decent sound check.
I felt comfortable despite the strangeness of the venue, and I went on to have a surprisingly fun show. My audience was excited, sweet, enthusiastic, and despite the insanity of a sunrise show, very eager to dance.
As I stepped off the stage, I gladly accepted the hugs and high fives from new fans who for some reason had stayed awake for my set. I made some friends while I quickly packed my things, and sooner than I expected I was back in my car, rushing back to the hotel to grab the Shallou boys before we made the drive to Seattle.
There was no cell service while I was there, and I was too busy to take pictures, so when my set was over I had nothing to show for what I had just experienced. It felt like a dream, it felt like I had been asleep for the hours between dropping off Joe and Emilio and picking them up again, and I had no proof to show myself that it had actually happened.
It was fun, though, I’d probably do it again.
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