Before Byronfest 2016 had even begun, my friend Nina said a Greek food booth’s proprietor had brought a tin can of olive oil from Greece as a gift for one of the festival’s organizers. Nina said, “It’s 11:30, and weird things are already happening.” 8 July.
Surveying the food-booth line-up, my wife said, “everything about this says gastric distress to me.” 8 July.
Nina said she normally doesn’t respond to a certain angry friend, but she had responded the night before. “I got mean back — it was the WHISKEY! [she whisper-shouted, and then paused] and maybe the Rumple Minze, too.” She’d puked Saturday morning. “And THEN you ate crab cakes?” from a festival food booth, I asked. She said, “I felt like a DREAM after I threw up.” Also, her dad had tasted the crab cakes and he’s fine, she added, quoting him: “‘Well, it’s not the worst one I ever had.'”
Someone with the band Amperage asked the few fans sitting in the noontime sunlight Saturday, “has anybody every heard of a band called AC/DC?” which question was not answered, so the band guy said,“we’re gonna play it anyway, even though they suck, apparently,” and he laughed. 9 July.
Drew Baldridge said these things from stage during his set: “This is so much FUN, y’all!” and “I have a brand-new album, y’all — SO exciting!” A few minutes later, his band played a bit of “All About That Bass.” Later, when Drew sang “Friends in Low Places,” I realized that I remember hearing that song at high school dances back before Drewwas even born. I felt old.
Is anybody in the crowd from Byron, asked a singer with the band “Whoa Nellie” at about 4 p.m. Saturday. Then, “can you walk home from here? Then head over to that beer tent, please,” he said. 9 July.
Nina said of the crowd hearing Dwoo Bawdwidge, “this is good people-watching. Lotta crop tops.”
One of the people working the festival to earn community service hours said, of the beverages on the reefer truck, “the beer I’d give away. The Pepsi I’d guard with my life.” 9 July.
Saturday afternoon, I heard over the walkie-talkies used by festival organizers that there was a child who’d lost his mom. The mom’s name was Anna, and the child’s name was Gabriel, we heard. “Does Gabriel know his last name?” asked one organizer. Gabriel did, and we were told his full name, and a few minutes later, we were told that there was a mother and child reunion. “Yay!” walkie-talkie’d someone at headquarters. 9 July.
“You sound familiar,” I said after first hearing my wife’s voice as the voice of headquarters over the walkie-talkies. “I’d better,” my wife said. Saturday 9 July.
Later, when I went to headquarters, someone there said I take notes on everything. No, “just when people say stuff,” I said. Then my friend Becca said I should write that down.
“Stop giving my kids goldfish!” one festival-goer said she told, or felt like telling, one of the carnival booth workers. 9 July.
“Could I have an officer [go] across the street from McDonald’s to talk to a lady about a situation?” asked someone on the walkie-talkie. My wife said she heard people in headquarters debating what “situation” could mean. A naked 70-year-old might qualify as a situation, someone said. 9 July.
When my friend Becca, whose husband is a sheriff’s deputy, was offered an alcohol beverage, she declined by saying, “I don’t want my own husband pulling me over. It’s such an awkward thing.” Saturday night.
“I don’t criticize the help, unless it’s you,” said one festival committee member to another, who’d just teased the volunteers. 9 July.
“We’re going to Disneyland in four days. We’re NOT going to Byronfest,” said Caitlyn Two Waitress about her son wanting to ride on carnival rides. 10 July.
A singer with the band Soap Stone explained his band’s name this way: “‘Soap’ like you lather with, and ‘stone’ like you might chuck at people.” 10 July.
After learning how much beer was consumed by the servers themselves at the Lions Club beer tent, the beer distributor’s representative said, “How were you volunteering?” 10 July.