Meet Festival Tyler.
Festival Tyler worries a lot less than Tyler Lauletta does. He dances in mud. He is very open about talking to new people, especially women. He smokes way more cigarettes. He lives with much less fear. And he is very into music, even if he doesn’t know the band or the song.
This past weekend, Festival Tyler attended Governor’s Ball in New York City. He had a great time. Now it’s up to Tyler Lauletta to try to remember all of it and put it in writing.
Friday was looking like a miserable day. I woke up at 4:30am and trudged to work through 40 blocks of Tropical Storm Andrea because I am too cheap to pay for a subway ride that I know I can walk. By the time work ended, I was already exhausted and knew that what lay ahead of me was at least an hour of rainy public transit followed by a festival day that might be called short due to the storm. But my money was already spent on a 3 Day Pass, and Festival Tyler broke through enough to get Tyler Lauletta out of his apartment and onto the 4 train.
Unfortunately, Festival Tyler had not been around when Tyler Lauletta got dressed for the show. I was still in dress pants and a button down shirt from work. As a new transplant to the city I have still yet to bring up any clothes for bad weather, and my only outerwear came in the form of a cotton sweatshirt generously donated to the cause by my roommate. Already drenched upon arrival, my pride wouldn’t allow me to buy a poncho at the risk of missing the beginning of Of Monsters and Men’s set. How much more wet could a person get?
Turns out, a lot more wet.
I was miserable for the first half hour. I was cold, drenched, and alone at a festival. Neither of the headliners were considered “Must See” artists for me, and I almost decided to cut my losses and go home. My clothes were ruined, my phone was dying, why should I stay?
Festival Tyler answered: “Why not?”
Holy shit. Festival Tyler is a philosopher.
I was already soaked. My clothes were already ruined. The time was already invested. Why leave? Could things get worse? Not really. The only thing keeping Festival Tyler from having a good time were the worries and concerns of Tyler Lauletta.
And Festival Tyler quickly realized that that was some bullshit.
This moment of clarity defined the rest of the festival. It marks the point that I realized that giving in to the mud was the answer, not fighting it. It is the point where Festival Tyler officially took over.
Festival Tyler danced like a mad man in the mud to “Little Talks” to close the set. Once they left the stage, he bought two ponchos from the merch stand, one for himself, and one for his Chuck Taylors. He then asked a friendly stranger to take his picture, smiling like a lunatic in the rain.
Festival Tyler was now barefoot, squishing through the mud. And loving it.
Next on the schedule was Crystal Castles playing in the Skyy Vodka Tent. When the rains take over an outdoor music festival, the only people that are truly excited about the experience is the band that is playing the tent stage. Normally reserved for midrange acts and used as an excuse for people to beat the heat, being Under the Tent felt like a haven on Friday night, and Crystal Castles took complete advantage of their semi-forcibly captive audience. They close with “Not in Love” and Festival Tyler dances in the mud again.
A friendly stranger points me the in the right direction for Young the Giant and I trudge towards the Honda Stage. On the way, I meet Collette and Anna who have a tough time accepting that someone would suffer through this weather alone. I don’t know how I could’ve done it any other way.
I wander for a bit smoking soaked cigarettes in between stages. Andrea has created mud that goes up to your shins in some parts of the festival grounds. The sky is dark, and for a moment I believe my eyes, but there are literally thousands of golf balls flowing through the mud rivers of the park. Pictures weren’t an option with my phone dead, but I snagged a golf ball as a keepsake. It was a striking visual experience.
Young the Giant is just okay until they start playing “My Body”, which is the only song I really know by them, and is really the only song most people know them for. Festival Tyler dances through the mud once more, this time belting the lyrics along with the band. I would say that this makes me somewhat of a fair weather fan, but the weather was so unfair it wouldn’t be apt.
Beach House is the next band to perform on the You’re Doing Great Stage. The weather is getting worse, the crowd is thinning out, and rumors of the headliners being cancelled start to swirl. I secure myself a spot under an umbrella with two new friends, Joanna and Remy. We share experiences of our muddy days thus far, and our hopes for the rest of the festival. They ask to take pictures with me, and we get Instagrammed.
Beach House starts and the whole crowd seems only half into it. I slowly wander away from the show towards where Pretty Lights is supposed to headline. I see the crowd that had been camping for good spots are beginning to dissipate towards the exits. The headliners have been cancelled. Everyone please get home safe.
Festival Tyler walks across the bridge, and gets the muddiest McDonald’s he’s ever had.
Damn, I forgot to have those girls tag me on Instagram.