As Milli Vanilli once advised, you could blame it on the rain. There was no line to get into the Pavilion at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest–just a wall of wet, pissed off people. Kristy held my hand tightly and pulled, squeezing her way to the front and dragging me behind her. I gripped my cane in my other hand, but it was now useless, just a dangling stick that bashed the shins of those Kristy pulled me past.
All pavilion seating was first-come-first-served, and we had gotten there early after seeing the weather forecast. Still, eleven hours is a long time to hold your pee. We’d had to make a run to the bathroom. Now we were shut out. Our friends were inside, saving our seats, but the festival staff were not allowing anyone inside until more room opened up.
Kristy pushed forward, finally wedging us awkwardly about a third of the way back from the front. She stood under a stranger’s umbrella. Its protection ended just above my shoulder, where rain ran off the curved fabric in a stream and poured onto me.
A chant of Let us in! began and died. Concert-goers cursed and yelled. Pushing and shoving from the masses twisted us so that I faced the back of the crowd. Kristy lowered her hand, inadvertently forcing mine to settle on the ass of the girl in front of me. Uncomfortable in my role as accidental pervert, I shifted and wiggled and pulled myself sideways just as the security crew opened the gate.
Suddenly we were moving, but not under our own control. The crowd surged in a frightening wave, forcing us forward quickly, perhaps too quickly. Kristy was in front of me now, a death grip on my hand. Some poor girl was pinned tightly between us, the accidental recipient of pressure from my hips. The intimate proximity would have been erotic were it not for the fact that I was battering her with my cane and thinking about the nine people who got trampled to death at the Roskilde festival in 2000. I am going to die here, under the feet of people trying to see MGMT.
Suddenly, the momentum dissipated, the crowd spread out, and rain was no longer falling on us. We were under the Pavilion’s roof. A cheer went up from those lucky enough to have made it. We disentangled ourselves from the girl we’d just dry-humped and headed for our friends.
There were five hours still to go. None of us had eaten. Only some of us had peed. No one would be able to leave now. It was going to be a long night.