The first night of BottleRock, I found myself being taken by the hand and led to the front of the night’s biggest concert by a 17-year-old girl.
I had let her in front of me and, seeing that she was alone too, introduced myself. She asked me what college I went to.
When I told her my age, revealing I was a decade older than her, her commitment to me didn’t waiver. She advised me that she was going to get to the front of the stage to see Maroon 5 and that I was going with her.
She promised me.
So, we went forward, sliding by couples and jumping around groups of older women with their blankets on the ground. When someone left, we would make our move inward. And when it seemed there was no way we could maneuver ourselves farther into the crowd, my near-high school graduate would say “Should I ask?”
She’d then tap on some guy’s shoulder and sweetly ask if we could get by. Often, they would motion in front of them only to reveal that there was no where to go, but this girl didn’t let that bother her – she was on a mission.
And I was just along for the ride.
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When we were denied entry, we would find it somewhere else all while singing along to the music.
Once we were taken in by another group of teens — four girls in summery clothing, dark eye makeup and 1990s- style chokers. Although I found myself dancing with the girls and even taking a photo of them, my comrade wasn’t interested in these peers of hers, so, when the next song ended, we moved forward.
Before meeting Lily, I was meaning to leave that performance and head to one of the smaller stages to see Modest Mouse. I don’t even really like Maroon 5, it turns out.
I thought I did, but I am not going to force their poppy tunes on myself anymore. I can’t listen to the whiny words “I’m at a payphone trying to call home” over and over again in the same 4-minute song. I can’t. I won’t.
At that moment, though, Lily and I were both alone in a crowd of more than 30,000 people. It was nice not to be alone anymore, so I let her lead me until she was done with me and Maroon 5.
Then, after we slivered out of the crowd and went our separate ways, I thought, this is just another piece of the festival experience. This was just one in a million snapshots of that night. This was two people being brought together, accepting the situation for what it was and moving on.
Lily, good luck in college and thank you for being a friend – if only for an hour.