Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: Worlds Collide (Forecastle 2018 Day Three)

Worlds Collide: The Allure And Reality of Party Cove.
In Saturday's Forecastle 2018 Daily Review we said Forecastle has just about hit the breaking point with technical failures, laxed security, understaffed emergency medical services, and extreme heat.  Without the drop in temperature Sunday at Forecastle 2018 would have surely ended in pure chaos.

It seems our Saturday Review, It's The End Of The World, grabbed the attention of the wider world; skyrocketing to be the 3rd most read article in our 12 year history in under 24 hours. Mostly due to our critical review of the technical aspects of the festival, and namely Party Cove; the section of the park reserved for the younger audience with Ferris Wheels, EDM DJs, Low lighting, and absolutely no Emergency Services.   With so many eyes on Forecastle, and a mountain of news media coverage, we seemed to be the only media source to call attention to the lawlessness of the newly expanded Party Cove. The Courier Journal ran two stories on Saturday about Party Cove, neither of which mentioned the lack of supervision that the rest of the festival received.

We mostly tried to draw attention to the lack of services provided to thousands of kids, but most people expressed disgust in the abhorrent behavior of the Party Cove crowd. Which we agree was shocking at times; Myself and our photographer Marife Bautista where tracked down and bullied by 2 kids who demanded we erase photographs we had taken of them trying to hide their unconscious friend from emergency services.  Marife, who has covered Forecastle for years, even expressed doubts of wanting to return due to the changing nature of Forecastle. And I truly understand, at times I considered the same, but mostly in Saturday's review I wanted to point out the logistical errors by the event organizers that led to these problems. Sure there was some bad apples in Party Cove, perhaps a lot of bad apples, but as former teenagers ourselves we are well aware of how kids are going to act with absolutely no supervision.
Glittertitz Crowd At Party Cove
In Friday's Forecastle Review, It's A Brave New World, I mentioned that I thought the management's decision to expand Party Cove and to move the more family friendly WFPK Port Stage as far as possible from it was probably a good idea. With changing demands, and the Coachella Kids outnumbering the older crowds, it only made sense to adapt. But after many fest goers gawked at the dress and attitudes of the Party Cove crowd, the idea of 2 separate events is starting to make more sense.

Wether this is at all a remote possibility or not  one thing is clear;  Marooning thousands of teens (and also preteens) in the far eastern edge of the park without security, supervision, or even a First Aid station needs to end. One festival goers even remarked that the attitude of the Emergency Services team was akin to a ski resort medical team: slide them down the slope and out the gate as quickly as possible and let it be someone else's problem.

Blood Soaked Shoe Print
Blood Trail across a Walking Bridge
At one point on Sunday I noticed a fresh blood trail at the exit of the park and followed it towards the river, across a walking bridge, up to the VIP tent where a security guard told me something happened in VIP and a visitor had burst an artery and an EMT walked the visitor out of the park; The blood was not cleaned up and remained for the entirety of the day.

Team 37: Marife Bautista & John King
I truly understand the idea as a media outlet to ignore these issues and only focus on the positive aspects of the fest (Our Comrades at Never Nervous even stated this in their Saturday Review), but at the risk of not being invited back, I feel it is necessary to speak up about these issues, especially when it puts our friends and family at risk. 37FLOOD is proud to hold the distinction of being the longest running independent news outlet to continually cover Forecastle, and we look forward to it every year, even though we have never been granted full access like Never Nervous, The Courier Journal, and the other media outlets get. But there are far greater issues here than just not being invited back; and without speaking up and demanding change we risk that our beloved local festival could turn into something unrecognizable, something that no longer represents the values we hold ourselves to.   
Courtney Barnett
Punch Brothers. Photo: Marife Bautista 
But there were other issues at Forecastle 2018 than just deprived indifference; the split festival layout plan also came with musical changes as well. While the eastern edge of the park was reserved for the EDM/MDMA kids, the western edge held mostly AAA/Adult Contemporary acts like Courtney Barnett and The Punch Brothers, and the Mast Stage also mirrored the AAA format during daylight hours with acts like Jason Isbell and Trampled By Turtles leaving only the festival closers, like Arcade Fire, as the real draw.
Jason Isbell
Trampled By Turtles. Photo: Marife Bautista

Arcade Fire. Photo: Marife Bautista
For me having the headliners as tried-and-true acts like Modest Mouse and and Arcade Fire, both of which had their heyday a decade ago, is a mixed feeling. I'd love to see newer acts that also bring a large drawl (like in years past with Run The Jewels) but I also recognize that these older bands have a better shot at appealing to the largest audience.

Arcade Fire Finale
But for me, the most creative aspects of Sunday at Forecastle was the addition of local favorites like Maiden Radio, Teddy Abrams & Matt Myers, White Reaper, and DJ Samosa.
Maiden Radio. Photo: Marife Bautista
Teddy Abrams & Friends. Photo: Marife Bautista
All that said, I have been attending Forecastle since the very first one, and have seen it change immensely; and change I am not opposed to. But since we know Forecastle is willing to change, we just need to speak up so they know what changes its patrons want most.

And that was Sunday at Forecastle 2018!

Arcade Fire

Fire in the Rafters

Punch Brothers in the Crowd

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