“I wasn’t going to come, but then my friend was like, you gotta live.” No truer words have ever been spoken by my dear friend Danielle. You’re damn right you gotta live. And so every summer we go to a music festival, where we sleep on floors, eat from trucks, sing at the top of our lungs and dance so hard we nearly pass out, sometimes we do. But most importantly, we live…like degenerates, mind you, but man is it ever fun.
And by the end of it all, we are exhausted. Reality looms in the distance after escaping it for days. I must return to the land of shirts that cover my belly button and toilets that flush. My back hurts, my voice sounds like Lindsay Lohan in the morning, and I have PTSD from porta potties. All I want is to be horizontal in my bed, but instead I have to spend 11 hours on a bus with no bathroom. Everything hurts. I regret nothing…
We arrived in Montreal just as the sun was going down, it took us seven hours on a double decker Mega Bus to get there, but it felt like we had been travelling for months. Our giant backpacks dug into our sweaty shoulders as we navigated through the metro. I separated from the rest of the crew to meet our airbnb host because we may or may not have lied to her about the number of people staying in her apartment. In hindsight this probably wasn’t the safest idea. Dolores and I spent the whole time awkwardly standing in her kitchen, lost in translation, probably wondering if the other person was going to murder them. It didn’t help that Dolores didn’t speak English and my French vocabulary is limited to curse words, the alphabet, and numbers. I’m basically a french Sesame Street character who swears. Un, deux, trois, tabernac. At one point I spoke English with a French accent, hoping something would land, it did not. Merde.
After several long, confusing minutes, Dolores decided to leave her home in my hands… PARTYYYYY!!
A few minutes later, I had a warm styrofoam container of Vietnamese takeout in my hands, delivered personally by my compadres and roommates for the weekend. We talked and laughed between bites of Pho and spring rolls on the candlelit patio, it was cute as fuck. It was exactly what I had been waiting for. Good friends, good food, good music. What more could I possibly want (Okay fine, I really wanted Anthony Kiedis to scream he loves me too in the microphone after he slays Scar Tissue and then we get married and have cute little fucked up children) “Can you believe he’s 53?!” my friend said. Wait…what? Merde.
Our little airbnb was quite the step up from the tents we laid our tired bodies in for four days last summer. There was even a shower…well there were showers at WayHome too, but they were in trucks with hundreds of other people and in our shower-truck there was a single turd on the floor next to an empty hummus container. A TURD. WHO RAISED YOU?! Whenever things get rough, I think about that
person savage who dropped a deuce in a shower-truck and I remind myself, things could be worse.
The long day of travelling had finally came to an end as Danielle and I squished into a tiny twin bed. We joked that we looked like a married couple in a fight, both of us with our backs turned to each other on opposite sides of the bed. We left for our European adventure exactly one year ago that night and this little bed brought back memories of sleeping in hostel bunk beds and on airport floors.
The six of us woke the next morning to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and burning hair. Caffeine, crop tops and curling irons are all it takes to transform from looking like some sort of mountain witch to little festival fairies floating to the metro station. “Ladies in sparkles, this is your stop!” And off we went into the park we would call home for the next three days…SECURITY CHECK, never mind.
If there’s one thing my generation is really good at, next to posting fake laughing photos and shortening words, it’s sneaking in alcohol and…stuff. We failed at this the first day because we’re obviously more mature now. But after seeing a guy pull out a mickey of rum from his perfectly made sandwich, take a shot, then eat the sandwich I realized that a true genius walked among us. Not all heroes wear capes, my friends. A small crowd gathered around and cheered as he held up the sandwich and the mickey like they were Olympic medals. Sandwich boy beamed with pride, this was what he had been training for, this was his moment. #wearethefuture
But day one wasn’t about the future, no no, day one was all about the past. I certainly don’t mind revisiting the past, especially when it’s narrated by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their songs were the soundtrack to my adolescence, songs that hold the best memories and helped me through the worst – listening to Under The Bridge under my bed, staring at my crush’s face in the year book with a flashlight, wondering if I’m going to die a virgin. You know, the usual teen angst stuff. Songs that I never imagined I would sing along to live.
Although I didn’t sing along at first, when they opened with Can’t Stop I couldn’t stop screaming and jumping up and down like a crazy person. I eventually chilled the fuck out, my screams settled into Scar Tissue and I melted. There’s something magical about seeing your favourite musicians and I can think of no better word to describe seeing The Peppers. Magical.
The next morning we got up a little later and a little stiffer, but brunch awaited and nothing gets in between girls and brunch. Nothing. Not even lines that go down the entire block. Don’t be fooled, inside my tiny exterior beats the heart of a sumo wrestler when it comes to brunch. We stuffed our faces till our bellies bulged and our eyes drooped then one by one we slowly tapped out. Defeated but not broken, we had given it our all. The six of us walked out with our chins held high…then sat down on a curb and drank. Touché brunch, touché.
Day two was as full as our tummies, we bounced from artist to artist in the sweltering heat. Drinking, dancing, and sweating…a lot. I had the bright idea of wearing floral bellbottoms this day, they didn’t last long, but we sure did. Nothing was going to stop us from going HAM at HAIM – our three favourite, musically gifted, badass sisters. I first heard HAIM at Osheaga two summers ago; in the middle of their perfect set this beautiful monarch butterfly floated in front of us and I fricken lost it. From that moment on, I have never stopped loving or listening to HAIM or crying when I see a monarch butterfly. So many feels. What I wouldn’t give to be the fourth HAIM sister, but unfortunately, I have as much musical talent as Donald Trump’s asshole…although he is really good at talking out of it.
Speaking of racists, we had the absolute pleasure of encountering not one but two racist cab drivers. It was 4 in the morning and we were coming back from La Banquise, Montreal’s 24 hour poutine Mecca. I couldn’t believe my eyes at this place, 4 am and there’s a line down the block…and that’s just to get in, there’s another line inside to get a table. They are serious about poutine in Montreal and it was seriously the best poutine I’ve ever had.
So we get into this cab, still riding our poutine high, make it past one set of lights, when our cab driver proceeds to say the most racist things I have ever heard. To make matters worse, he looked like a creepy version of Santa Claus, but instead of asking, “what do you want for Christmas?” He goes, “Look, I’m not a racist but…” then acts like a complete fucking racist. We told psycho Santa to go fuck himself and promptly left the cab…only to get into another cab with another racist driver. Except this driver didn’t reveal his racism until the end…subtle racism, the worst kind. The most perfect poutine couldn’t get rid of the awful taste their hatred left in my mouth. Racism is alive and well in Canada, and for anyone who begs to differ, sit your ass down, preferably in one of those cabs and drive off a cliff. Bye.
And before I knew it, the last day of the festival had come. We maaade it. I couldn’t tell you a single artist who performed on the last day, not because I was blackout…well…but because I’m not cool enough. I envy those who are familiar with the indie music scene while I stand there trying to mouth the words, offending every hipster within a 2 km radius. Ask me to rap though and I’m your girl. I’ve spent many a night on rapgenius.com memorizing lyrics, so in the event of a spontaneous rap battle, I will succeed. Except I replace every N word with the word “Neighbour.” I’m basically Kendrick Lamar…if Kendrick Lamar wore yoga pants with flip flops. Think Phil Dunphy in a trap house and you have me rapping. If you don’t know, now you know, neighbour.
Unfortunately, there were no spontaneous rap battles, but every night after the last set ended, the subway would transform into Broadway. The entire metro station lit up with people harmonizing. One brave/drunk soul would start a song, then it would slowly build, until the halls echoed with hundreds of voices. It was perfect. A Tony award worthy performance in my humble opinion. I looked forward to those subway jams every night and now every train ride seems a little too quiet. We didn’t have to be musicians to be heard, we were just sweaty strangers singing together. I think the Chili Peppers said it best,
music, the great communicator.