Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Weekend Festival...Day 2

Why...you ask, would I go back to a festival that was absolutely horrifying?

Because I bought a 2 day ticket and my girl, Hong Kong P, had only bought a Saturday ticket.

Plus, being an older person, despite the risks of being trapped in the forest again, I thought I could somehow beat the system the second time around. Call it pride. Or stupidity. Depends on the outcome I suppose.

German K was admittedly hesitant to go again. After some discussion we decided we would leave the amount of festival time completely up to Hong Kong P. It was her day to shine this time, though we would give her all of the dirty details of the day before to temper her expectations.

After visiting some friends in the park, we met Hong Kong P at the train station for an admittedly smoother start to our festivus day 2 - we decided to buy into the shuttle system and skip the whole public transportation bit. The only thing it required of us was to take a city train to a different train station. No big deal, it's covered by our futuristic transit passes, so we got on the train and made our smooth way to our shuttle area.

On our way there, Hong Kong P realized that although she's printed our shuttle tickets she's somehow forgotten her actual festival ticket. Panic ensued. Through the strength of our collective technological powers, we were able to sync enough of her email folders to get the email with the PDF of her ticket from her inbox just long enough for her to forward it to my phone before her phone battery died. I got it on my phone and enlarged it so the barcode was big enough for the man at the entrance to scan it. Phew, disaster averted.

And that was the end our troubles for the day. :) The rest was pure normal festival hooliganry.

Still Trash City? Yeah, absolutely.

But at least this time it was a lot less crowded (I think people were scared away by the disorganization of the day before) and the crowd did seem a little older. It might also have been the bands playing, but I'll get to that a little bit later.

One of the cooler things about this festival were the vendors - Ray Ban-esque sunglasses in every neon color imaginable, and for super cheap (nothing in Finland is cheap, and these were like 5euros, so this was rather novel), neon plastic flower leis, cheap clothing, stainless steel jewelry (in the ridiculous ghetto way)...basically anything you could ever want to look like all of the Bobby Teenagers that were walking around.

Speaking more about these Bobby Teenagers. I'm not exactly sure what you would call their style. Generally speaking it's some variant of hipster, but not as cool, stylish, or nature-loving. In fact it's not nature-loving at all. It was the opposite. It was sloppy and cheap. Oh, a good example of this is like the clothing line of American Apparel...but its more tacky cousin. Hong Kong P said it should be called "distasteful."

I decided I would call them Neophytes and call it a day.

So Neophytes it is.

If you look up the Wikipedia definition of a neophyte, this is actually a fairly good description for people of this age group. I'll leave it at that.

Anyhoo, just imagine young people wearing cheap Ray Ban-esque sunglasses, tank tops, tight colored skinny jeans, any loose fitting tee in any neon color that exists, thin beat up sneakers of various kinds (this usually involved things that looked like (but weren't) Keds, Converse, and other flat sneaks), and flat caps. Boom, you've covered 85% of the population that went to this event. Maybe throw in some sheer tops with neon bras for good measure.

But again, I digress. I was here for the music, and had actually arrived within reasonable limits (generally speaking within an hour and a half instead of the four hours of yesterday), so the music is what we listened to.

First up? Random DJs on the Party Stage.

This was actually the loudest stage there...and the tiniest. It was like a little vinyl cave. Filled with "DJs" that literally couldn't have been older than say...17? Maybe? There was an entire entourage of them inside when we went (like literally five or so)...most of whom weren't contributing to the music at all. One was holding a light inside (shirtless), another seemed to be in there just to dance, another was fist pumping to get the crowd pumped up...well, you get the point.

It was pure ridiculosity. But it was fun at the same time. They played all of the normal hits and they didn't train wreck too badly inbetween songs (which is more than what most DJs in the Helsinki clubs can say...most don't even bother to blend one song into another as they transition).

Eventually we floated away to the main stage though, where the biggest headliner of Saturday was about to come on: a band called Hurts, from the UK.

Now, I'd never heard of Hurts before buying into this festival. Apparently they're huge in Finland but completely unheard of in the UK.

I was about to find out why:

They were absolutely ridiculous. Like completely ridiculous.

We're talking melodramatic, slicked-back-hair, skinny suit, skinny tie, black and white video, super emo ridiculous.

Let me describe.

Their show started off with a woman, hooded in a black mini dress with bare legs and high heels, carrying a black flag (it may also have been a different color but I couldn't tell because their video feed was black and white and I'm too short to actually see the stage most of the time). Lightning flashed and she sort of lamely danced around with said flag (pretty sure she was never actually in color guard). At some point in time the singer slowly strode into the spotlight, to extreme applause from the Finnish audience. He grabbed the mic stand dramatically, all of the lights flashed behind him, and he began his set.

Oh, it gets better.

During the sets (this happened again and again, much to my squeals of laughter), he would fish out long stem roses from the sleeves of his suit, kiss the flowers, then dramatically throw them into the audience.

This actually happened. I'm not kidding.

And the audience absolutely loved every minute of it. As the camera was panning over people, it stopped on this one girl in the front who was holding a sign that said, "Because of you my life has meaning." Yeah.

The funny thing was, the music was completely forgettable. By the third song the only thing I could think to myself was, "I've heard this song before...haven't I?"

But the Finnish audience was completely eating it up. A lot of times the singer would pause, point the mic towards the audience, and everyone would be singing along (very loudly and clearly, I might add). They were louder for them than they were for David Guetta. It was unreal.

Anyway, it was extremely entertaining to me and my girlfriends, either way. Horrible music and really ridiculous stage performances but entertaining nonetheless. I figure I'll watch the music videos at some point in time when I want to have a good chuckle. I was pretty much busting a gut during the concert.

We left maybe 3/4 of the way thru their set to see the person we were really waiting to see that night: Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia.

And he was magnificent.

We didn't get that close because apparently people had been lining up for some time before his set started so it was pretty crowded, plus he wasn't at the main stage (because Hurts was still pouring their guts out on the stage), so we stood a good distance away to hear the music and stay away from the very thick mob.

And good thing we did too, because as we watched the set go on, the party inside, while it looked like a lot of fun, got pretty insane. We saw a guy that was basically twice as tall as someone else - meaning that he must have been on the shoulders of someone who was on the shoulders of someone else. I can only imagine what that must have really been like in a mosh pit.

We didn't stay until the end, not wanting to get into a situation like yesterday, despite our shuttle tickets, and walked back to the entrance. From what I heard only 17,000 tickets were sold for Saturday, so less people to get stranded in the forest.

The shuttle was a lot smoother going back. I think we waited in line maybe 45 minutes before being dropped back in Helsinki. Then we called it a night.

Much better than the day before, though my ending opinion: not going back to Weekend Festival again. Pretty sure many people shared the same sentiment, though it's also probable that many Neophytes had the time of their lives and would pay good money to go again, so I imagine I'll see signs for it next year, despite all the bad publicity it has gotten in the news.

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