Running of the Tarp

Beginning around lunch, the first designated waiters being lining up outside the Bluegrass festival. They’ll sit, and wait, outside the gates of the venue, for the following eight hours of performances, then another eight hours until the sun comes up and local kids with Radio Flyer coffee carts wheel through. Soon, Festival workers pass out number cards indicating one’s place in line to discourage last-minute line-jumpers.

Around 9am, everyone gets up, carrying folded chairs and plastic tarps rolled with military precision, and begins filing into the venue. Festival workers keep the pace down to an amble, checking numbered cards at the entrance, but from there it’s a free-for-all sprint to stake out a patch of grass as close to the stage as the sprinter can get. Tarps get whipped out across the lawn as tarp runners stake claims for their entourages, who are likely still sleeping.

Following at solid three hours of sleep, Allison and I pedaled into town around 5am on Saturday morning and relieved Heather of her post, where she’d posted up in line overnight. We watched the sun rise and waited, with morning breath, for the coffee shop to open. Ed came and took Allison’s spot and the two of us dashed in and staked out just about the exact same place our group had claimed the day before.

It was too hot and sunny by 10am to think about falling back asleep in our shadeless tent, so we went for a bike ride before returning to another afternoon with the Festivarians.