Saturday, July 25, 2009

Damned Ukulele Playing Hippies


I was lying in bed last night thinking... (as I tend to do when I should be sleeping) and my mind wandered back to the Ukulele World Congress. I don't think anyone who attended could possibly have anything but great memories from that weekend. The location the atmosphere and the hosts were absolutely perfect. As I was laying there thinking about how great it was I couldn't help but begin to worry about how its awesomeness could eventually be its undoing.

I have heard many folks who were not at The Congress talking about attending next year. In fact it seems there are many more non-attendees getting excited about next year's event than there were people who actually attended. And in my opinion, popularity can be a double-edged sword.

In Oregon we have an annual event called The Oregon Country Fair. If you've never heard of it (I would be amazed if either of you have), it is essentially a Grateful Dead concert/weekend minus the Grateful Dead. If you wondered where the hippies went during the second weekend in July, they all went to the Oregon Country Fair. I wont go into details of the fair itself, you can read all about it here. And see pictures of it here and here... (and NO these pictures are NOT safe for work). But in the old days the Country Fair was self policing and the drugs and alcohol flowed freely and openly spawning a giant naked-body painted-drum circle of weirdness that always seemed to be teetering on the verge on anarchy. Then in 1997 after complaints from the neighbors around the fair grounds, the county threatened to close the fair down and seize the land if alcohol consumption and marijuana use were allowed to continue (apparently nakedness was never an issue). Fair organizers had no choice but to hire security folks to police the fair, confiscate all contraband, and eject those who violate the new "no fun allowed" policy. Now this is not to say that people don't still partake (naked drum circles abound) but as far as dope smoking and drinking are concerned the freaks are just much more discreet about where and when they do it (And just to be clear, I don't condone drug taking and deviant behavior... I'm only trying to make a point).

And finally, here IS that point. I have a feeling that by June of next year the legend of the Ukulele World Congress will rise to epic levels. There could easily be twice as many people as last year. And I worry that in five years (maybe sooner), it will grow to the point where "we" will wear out our welcome with the kind folks of Brown County and have to institute new "no fun allowed" rules. Can you imagine parking lot attendants, vendors, frat-boy security guards, and roped off beer gardens? I hope this never happens....but sometimes popular events take on a life of their own, and one thing is for sure, whether we want it to or not, this one is growing.

10 comments:

RussBuss said...

http://media.portland.indymedia.org/images/2003/07/268091.jpg

back rack ftw!

Adelle the Great said...

So that's where all the hippies went! They said just to wait here & they'd be right back...

Damnit! I've been ditched!

UKISOCIETY said...

i'm glad you told me what it was. Otherwise, I would have thought it was either a Ren-Fest or they were making a Men Without Hats video.

UKISOCIETY said...

I should also point out that the UWC IS in Indiana. We don't allow them left-coast shinanigins around these parts.

deach said...

The UWC probably has one more good year before it is over run with idiots more idiotic than us. T__T

Grumpy Coyote said...

I'm not worried about it. It's not a general audience thing. Fundamentaly it's capped at a small percentage of a small musical sub-culture. It's not going to be thousands any year soon.

That said - we have a good contingency strategy with the cabin. If the weather or the crowd turn to the suck-side, we have a cabin full of freinds to hand out with and chill.

DeG said...

I hope I get an invite to the cool kids party, whenever UWC is over run. I'll bring beer.

Boozelele said...

You're always welcome Deeegy. But I'm pretty sure we are not the cool kids anymore. We are the hate filled-bitchy-holier-than-thou-asshole kids.

DeG said...

I knew there was something I liked about you guys :-)

howlinhobbit said...

I've attended the OCF (aka "Hippy Petting Zoo") about a half-dozen or so times. I can assure you that they're not hiring frat boys for security, it's all volunteer. In fact, in the early-to-mid 90's (when I was there the most) my then girlfriend was on security and I was in charge my my son. Good times.

I went a couple years ago and had a good time. The real partying goes on after they shoo out the tourists (aka amateurs).

On another subject: Boozelele - having witnessed firsthand your, Russ Buss's and Grumpy's kindness, generosity and generally good spirited selves a few months back I can assure you that you're still the cool kids. Thanks!

Lastly: How come I've missed this blog all this time? Bad Hobbit! Subscribing now.

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