Author: Williams, Dave

Culture Clash

Last year I crossed over and here I am a year later to tell you what it is like after you do. You might think that I am going to tell tales of glory and wonder but actually it is not all that different than before I crossed. Sure there are a few more perks on this side but the music is glorious on both sides and you do see many dear old friends on this side with more crossing all the time.

Wait.....I hope you weren't thinking about the "real crossing". I am only talking about crossing the water ditch, the water ditch in the Nevada County Fairgrounds that separates the tent camping area from the RV area (aka the heavy metal area). Linda and I made the transition last year. In doing so we left behind many friends and fond memories of the seven or so years we camped in our Eurovan in the tent area. I told much of this story last year so Ill spare you the retelling at this point.

But now with last years experience and a full year of more RV exploits, I will share the naked truth about the differences of the two distinct camping cultures as they pertain to FDF at Grass Valley and in general. When I'm through you'll understand why there are strict rules against intermingling in place.

As a fairly recent convert, I realize that there are some valuable points to each culture and in the spirit of journalistic fairness I will point these out as we go though each of them.

Before getting into the differences between both sides of the water ditch at Grass Valley, Id like to share an observation regarding a common discussion topic in the different camping cultures. In the RV area you often hear folks talking about things like how big their rigs are such as, mine is 30 or 35 or bigger, while in the tent camping area you have well tents.

Getting into the differences at FDF, The first major one is showers. In the tent camping culture, you hear a version of this conversation between campers multiple times each day. " How long are the lines and is there any hot water?" Variations on this theme include the experienced (tent) campers sharing their tricks and passing on the legends on how to beat the back ups and how to shower with hot water such as showering between the second and third sets of main stage acts of the afternoon program or waiting for the accordion workshop to draw a huge crowd or just shower at 3:00 AM. The most troubling variation of this is the camper who brags that they won't shower for the whole week. As for the RV campers, shower when you want with plenty of hot water from your new high pressure shower head and when your done grab a fresh cup from the coffee maker on the counter. Im giving this one to RV campers.

Trees versus awnings- in the tent area there are numerous trees providing shade and nature to the camping experience. At night the glow of lanterns adds light to the many jams. In the heavy metal parking lot we have awnings for shade and a major source of light (other than street lights) are strings of lights attached to the awnings. These light strings are frequently strings of chili peppers, miniature cacti or some other weird shape lights like little musical instruments or worse banjos. Point - tent camping.

Rambunctious and disruptive campers can be a problem that affects everyone's ability to enjoy the camping and festival atmosphere. In my experience this has been a particularly significant problem in some of the age demographics. My own unscientific survey indicates that the mean age of campers in the RV campground is about 10 to 15 years older than the tenters. So you probably can see where I am going with this. In order for everyone in both camping areas to have a great experience, the geezers (including me) in the RV area have to learn to control themselves better and find a way to tone down their incessant partying. That way the youngsters in the tent area can get some sleep.

Don't worry, I'm through with this point thing. I'll spare you the rest of my list like gravel versus dust or just air conditioning in general. The real upside to the RV area is that you can get a hot dog or hot link on Friday and Saturday but is it truly an advantage, as the borders are open and any camper can get one.

The truth is I miss the tent camping but do I miss it enough to leave (borrowing a phrase here) "the tin teepee" home ............not a chance.

Anyway, I can't wait to get there we'll be arriving on Tuesday afternoon. I know, I know, we're lightweights. The tequila table will be set up in space 36 at Tuesday dinnertime (and were not talking jet fuel here but some very good anejo). So stop by, say hello, have a sip and maybe play a tune or two.

I am working Vern's on Wednesday and Thursday night. I know I owe a couple of beers and I am looking forward to paying up.

See you at the fairgrounds.

Posted:  6/6/2013

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