Note: a version of this piece first appeared on Big Ass Lens, Sunday, June 24th. Though the text is reprinted in its entirety, the gallery presented here contains photos that differ from the original posting.
Standing at the foot of the bridge, with its green paint and imposing size, I tried to predict what lay ahead of me. It was the Saturday of Governor’s Ball, and we had packed no less than 10 waters, an eighth of the good stuff, some mildly addictive stimulants, and a schedule that included Santigold, Major Lazor, Passion Pit and Duck Sauce. Would we manage to smuggle our goodies in? Would security deny the lens and all its girth? We had more questions than answers, yet we looked ahead to a day of hard partying, oversized beers, and shellfish sandwiches. There was no mistaking: today was going to rule, and nothing was going to stop us.
Time to pass through security. I think I’ll choose the line with the friendly black lady who might be more lenient with me. I pass through without a problem. I breathe a sigh of relief and stroll into the open field, passing bodies clad in neon threads, eyes obscured by bright sunglasses, honeys all around. Dance music blares from afar; although we do not know who plays, it is a welcome sound that passed through our chests, filling it with anticipation and hope for the fun times ahead. Today, we shall party and dance with reckless abandon without regard for tomorrow.
Large beers pass through our hands. Fosters is the cheapest and the best value, despite its unwieldy size. Miller lights are shotgunned, thanks to the abusive new practice of perforating a key-sized hole into the can. A liquor tent appears before us, spirits that placate and soothe the soul. Tequila tonight; blackout tomorrow.
Entering the first stage, we seek only heavy beats and gossamer feet, a pep in our step guiding us hitherto. Before us, a band appears – crooning saxophone, bouncy drums, a lively celebration that pleases all. O dubstep, how we missed your filth! Your sounds do pierce the brain, melting faces, rallying a sea of humans wearing little to no clothing. A fact I scarcely complained.
Smoke fills the lungs, and we are brought back down to earth. Drug abuse surrounds us, eggs us on, comforts us. Sunglasses merely mask the insobriety in our eyes; as hearts race and heads bob, we hide behind the guise of UV protection, a convenient solution to all. We jump, scream, and pump our fists; the sights and sounds engaging our bodies, sending our minds in a thousands temporal and sonic directions.
In between sets, we chat with fellow guests, who are happy to pose for the lens. Baby blues, pearly whites, and neon paint are the themes of the day, and we willingly oblige in our participation. But now the beers have reached my head, and I stare blankly into my hands, which holds a familiar tool that I remember utilizing. Is this a camera which I see before me, the lens toward my hand? Come, let me snap thee.
The sky grows darker and the incoming breeze provides much needed relief. Our space gets cramped as people pack in, clamoring for a better view. Confetti rains upon us, hands reach for the sky, minds are blown. A sign reads “You Are Here,” but where is here? It seems only a few hours ago we walked through the streets of Manhattan, but this place – this field of dreams, where does it exist, but in our minds and bodies? When did the clock cease, when did the clouds freeze mid-air, how did the present become the past? I sip my beer, and release my qualms. Worries fade away like the sun behind the stage.
We do not wish to leave but the ferry horn beckons us thereto. The mood is nostalgic but satisfying, and nary a complaint is heard. We sail towards home – to beds, to toothpaste, and microwavable snacks. “It was a great day” they would later say, “we came to revel, and tempt the devil; and in our leisure did we so treasure. Today was ours – we shot the moon! So thus we part, this night of June.”