Friday morning, I woke up to a storm of activity on all my social feeds discussing the nightmare that was Fyre Festival. Reading through the updates I was astounded as to how the festival promoters could oversell and under deliver in such grand fashion. While it remains to be seen if Fyre was a complete scam or a sad case of rookie promoters getting in way over their heads, it seemed to be a nightmare for attendees. While packing my car for Boogaloo Art Car and Music Festival, I was thoroughly entertained by the memes and jokes that began to flood in, but little did I know I was in for a test of my own.
I arrived at Oak Canyon park and immediately things got off to a rough start. Suddenly the visions of bread and cheese meals and disaster relief tents swirled through my head as an unorganized scramble played out in front of me. Soon after we got settled into our tent, disaster struck when gale force winds blasted the park throughout Friday night and into Saturday morning causing serious damage across the entire festival grounds. Vendor booths were leveled, tents and canopies destroyed, dome structures damaged and a large tree was knocked down in the middle of it all. By Saturday morning it looked like a disaster area, and all I could think about was the Fyre Festival fiasco.
As Crystal and I strolled to find breakfast it was clear people were hardly affected. We noticed glowing smiles on faces, warm interactions and friendly hugs all around us. We stopped to talk to an artist who worked on a piece all day Friday, only to see it torn to shreds by the wind; they weren't the least bit upset. People were picking up, helping each other out, and moving forward with minds set on having a good time. The people of Boogaloo weren’t going to let a little disaster hold them back! Even though most people didn’t sleep much if at all during the night due to the high winds, we didn’t encounter bad vibes or grouchiness as the cleanup ensued.
We walked past a pile of damaged canopy frames being turned into an art piece. We attended a sound healing that went on despite bass spilling over from an art car and still had a great experience. A food vendor stayed open after hours, even though most menu items were no longer available, offering to make people whatever he had while he sang and danced the entire time. The large tree that had fallen was cut up and turned into stools for people to sit on, while damaged art pieces were reused and painted over. Within a few hours, the signs of damage were minimal because at Boogaloo everyone is a part of the festival. No one was waiting for staff to repair things or send help as that would be precious party time wasted. As we watched Dirty Radio play an amazing set on the live stage Saturday night, it was clear that no one was going to let anything get in the way of a good time.
With this being my first Boogaloo, I didn’t understand why the festival lineup ended so early. I attended Dirty Bird Campout at this same location a few months back and the lineup went through sunrise. Could this really end at 11 pm on Saturday night? I soon found out that the festival was just beginning as we wandering through the campgrounds and saw no shortage of after-hours activity, with each campsite party having its own unique atmosphere and vibe.
We stopped at the Blackbird camp, which had three gutted buses set up in a way that made you feel like you were inside an open-air club. A few feet farther down, a giant pirate ship docked with skylights that seemed to reach the stars. One camp set up underneath a large shade tree, hanging disco balls and small mirrors from the branches. In between the camps, there were art cars with DJs, art exhibits, and friendly people everywhere. There wasn’t one time that we felt unwelcome when we stumbled on another camp party and we seemed to always be greeted with infectious smiles.
Many festival reviews will talk about the people making the event special, but in this case, the people of Boogaloo just plain make the event. The music played the backdrop to a friendly gathering of eclectic people and families, where small children ran through the crowd and seemed to fit in perfectly as if they were just as festival-seasoned as the rest of us. Artists created the festival decor on the fly and many vendors ditched their booths to party with the crowd. Boogaloo felt more like a bunch of friends coming together to have a great weekend than it did your average music festival.