Paul Siegell

*Requiem for a Festival*

all I can say, as I begin typing this with one
hand, the one with blue plastic bracelet still
adorning its wrist, still declaring: “0011579”

looser now then when first affixed, over a
month ago (people ask if I’ve been hospitalized recently);
linking me to cherished jam & subgenerational tremendousness,

linking me to logo: that dandelion puff with plumed seeds floating
off: peace/goodbye: landing someplace elsewhere in the Out There,
till yer left with only the stem & a bootleg memory it even existed—

a firework departed—

the soft gossamer orb that when a child you were taught “Make a wish”
and then to blow—the dandelion that comes to mind when I order on
the Internet: “Fields with asterisks (*) are required.”

“Yeah, Oh YEAAH,” our Dr. Bisconaut now sings>

but ah, buoyant thoughts—atmospheric—flighty, tho BATTERY FULL:
fire up the four winds! relight the next-level moments for which we’re all
downloading MP3s & regrouping for the other bands’ music-to-anticipate
tour dates—to dance with another beat’s drummer—

alas, “I could use a little more cowbell.”

in the time it takes to hug an old college roommate, or wish her happy
birthday, or tell him you’re sorry about his family’s loss, or how’s work
going? or how’s the wife? or even to remember you haven’t spoken to
Goose in weeks, or just to call them all on Sunday from Atlanta while
they’re getting drunk in Philadelphia—those grand professional fans!

when the orange guitar & 5-string bass you 100% respect
heal like a languid doctor; when a song becomes a friend—

in the time it takes to change your chords, that dandelion
in the summer lawn, that Ferris wheel on the concert field—even
the lit, lifted lighters and boom-blooming fireworks before the encore—
each one of us an asterisk, required & starry-eyed, boogieing, in attendance
as if individual blades of grass, packed-in & actually becoming the lawn itself—

but ah, the “Hog,” our white 15-passenger van with tinted-windows & two benches
removed, comf’terbly carrying a crew of seven, with three other cars in our 26-hour
cArAvAn—Philly to Northern Kingdom—but bless you Wildebeest, bless you
for being naïve enough to believe that old “Vermonster” at that grimy gas station
selling back-road directions, bypassing I-91 for five fantastic dollars—

ah indeed, traffic weather mud, “DON’T JERSEY VERMONT”—yikes,
our bad—as if a Third World country, felt like you needed your shots
to safely walk the site: galoshes as All Access Pass! as Key to Coventry!
the holy jam platform, the “cat & mouse” improvisation-style, and
the wide range of heady attention spans witnessing every flubbed lyric,
missed note and breathtaking breakthrough alike, set after set after set.

with sobriety, or talented ale,
with entertainment lemonade, chocolates galore,
nugs with gumption & all the pills provided,
tents like ancient turtle shells / versicolored igloos / candy dots glistening dew,
mud like sewer in Star Wars: Han & Luke yelling, “3P0! 3P0!”
with that stupendous tube of parking lot vendors on Shakedown,
and all the elegant escapism—

and all the grand entrances a-those forced to turn around on I-91 b/c the rains
had baffled the Farmer’s Almanac—our mire of a festival could handle no more—
but who didn’t surrender: no, instead parked along the highway, packed their backs
and intrepidly hiked 5, 10, 15 august American miles, b/c THEY HAD TO GET IN
(do it, Bones/do it, Jeff) to see what they couldn’t know would happen, like
the most gargantuan Glowstick War EVER during “Down With Disease”:

the overwhelming graduation ceremony of 65,000+ Jedi Knights, all interactive
and wildly flinging their light sabers into the bittersweet evening of desperate
             celebration, of gratitude & impending vacancy:
alas, the anticipated lyrical culmination of “and now I’m on my way...”

with the reality that COVENTRY means: “a state of ostracism or exile...to exclude
             from society”—
with Page putting his voice to “Velvet Sea” and all we waded in were his tears—
and Trey, the night before during the hog-in-the-mud end of “Guyute,” never
             really did sing, “I hope this happens once again”—
but there was still “Ghost,” ripping thru with intense orange glowsticks boldly
             arching toward center stage like sparks from teeth of spinning saw,
             continuing the separation—
and who could forget Trey showing how much he didn’t need his YEM-tramps
             anymore? man, what a buzzkill.

                         there was one entrance into Coventry, one gate, and before it:
                         the absurdity of circumstance: all the carpools of the subgeneration
                         bottlenecked into one lane, one lane of party & patience—
                         it was like white light shooting through a huge prism:

the mystical fix: the miracle of PHiSH: the band in which I placed my faith:
“How do they know when to stop?” I asked. “How will this change our lives?”

all I can say is, during first set-break on final day, 08.15.04, when it was, yeah,

about time for me to ditch you all—my friends my friends—and weave on thru

the crowd, to score a solo setting incredibly closer to the stage: to get a better,

selfish view a-the details, the up-close intensity: when another wisp a-that damn

COVENTRY dandelion-logo was expected to leave—but in fact wasn’t even

thinking about it—Toga looked at me, much like I am at this silly wristband,

and asked: “What are you still doing here? I figured you’d be gone by now.”

                                                                                                             —September 21, 2004

Paul Siegell wrote this piece in his last Atlanta bedroom, the lime and plum colored one with no windows. He now lives in his first Philadelphia apartment with lead in the paint and a big bright sliding door that leads to a second-story deck and the overhanging leaves of a tree. Paul wrote this bio in his fluorescent-lit cubicle in the corner of the promotions department at a newspaper. And somewhere in all this illumination, Jambands-dot-com named Paul's ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL June Fan Site of the Month.

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