When we were looking for a place to live, we chose to buy a home in a beautiful peaceful valley. Every day after work, we crest the hill and the valley opens before us. Sometimes, it’s like a quilt, particularly in the winter and in high summer when there’s a bit of condensation in the air. Sometimes, we’re looking at a painting in a gallery. A painting that we get to live inside of.
We moved to this valley knowing that once a year, the town ten kilometres away from us has a big music festival known as the “July Hillbilly Fuckfest”. I’m pretty sure that’s the official name of it. Because that’s what MrGod2U said it was, and most of what he says is true. Except for the lies.
I don’t begrudge folks for wanting to go see live music. It’s not my cup of tea, but I understand that a lot of people enjoy the experience. I don’t care for most of the music they play at the H-BFF. I have only been to it twice, and that was before I ever lived in the valley. The ridiculous increase in traffic is managed well, for the most part, and while it can be a pain in the arse to get home past hundreds of caravans lined up all up and down the highway, it’s not too bad.
The increase in traffic is good for local business, of course, and that’s good. More money, more jobs and all that. That’s all lovely and good for the community. But once a year, what’s happened is that I leave the valley I live in. Sometimes, I go two provinces away.
It’s not the music (which, on clear nights, I can sometimes hear in my bedroom). It’s not the thousands of people crammed into a mosquito-filled mudhole. It’s not even the traffic.
It’s the drunks. It’s people who’ve been sitting in the sun all day, drinking, acting like the morons they are. A few years ago, the cleanup team for the H-BFF site had to call HAZMAT because there was so much human waste left at the campsites. People emptied their camp toilets ON THE GROUND. Some people just left their camp toilets behind.
Every year, there are caravans, vehicles, tents, chesterfields, bicycles, and all kinds of other crap (literally and figuratively) left behind in the valley. Who DOES that? Who thinks it’s okay to just leave their rubbish behind for the people who live here to deal with? Would it be okay if I came to your house, had a poo on your deck, and then left a bunch of used clothes and busted lawnchairs strewn around your yard? Would that be okay?
Of COURSE it wouldn’t be okay. It would be incredibly rude of me to do that. So don’t bloody do it in our valley.
Look, I don’t want to be the fun police here. Go to your music festival. Listen to your twangy guitars and plodding beat. Have fun. But for the love of Christ, BE NICE. Don’t fight. Don’t drink so much that you puke all over. Who does that after the age of sixteen? Who does that *more than once*? WHAT IS SO MUCH FUN ABOUT BEING SO DRUNK YOU CAN’T SEE OR STAND OR REMEMBER THE SEX YOU HAD WITH EVERYONE FROM TENT BLOCK ‘C’?
Hey, come to this beautiful valley and get so hammered you can’t remember which tent is yours, whether you started the day wearing clothes, or whether you’ve used the toilet. Sign me the hell up.
This wasn’t appealing to me when I was in my 20s, regardless of the type of music they played. It’s not appealing to me now, and in fact, it just makes me angry. The organisers for this event pay for bathroom facilities that, sure, might be ‘gross’. But you know what else is gross? Stepping in someone else’s vomit (the jury is still out, but I believe stepping in cooled-off vomit is worse than stepping in fresh vomit). Having to clean up used condoms (thank CHRIST some of y’all are using those, but it’s really not that difficult to just, you know, package them up and dispose of them properly), menstrual products (also used), toilet tissue, and effluvia is pretty disgusting. And you know where that shite ends up? In our groundwater. In Last Mountain Lake. In the Qu’Appelle river. Your chesterfields and caravans and tents end up in OUR landfill.
I know you don’t care. But whenever someone finds out where I live and then says, “Oh, wow! You’re so close to the H-BFF! That must be awesome!”, I have to take a deep breath. Sometimes, I smile and say, “it has benefits and drawbacks”. Sometimes, I just rant for three days.
The RCMP quintuples its presence in our little town during this weekend, and they do a hell of a job directing traffic and making sure that the worst of the drunks are contained in these little brown drunk tanks. But it shouldn’t have to be like that. I mean, I’m not advocating prohibition here. Have a couple of beer. Eat some meat on a stick. Screw each other to the dulcet tones of Ricky Dicky and Miz Lurleen. Sunburn yourself crispy and swim in the murky waters of a three-ton grain truck that your cousin’s friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s uncle loaned you. Just…
…just clean up after yourself, okay? That’s not so much to ask. It’s probably something your parents taught you when you were wee, and just because you’re three sheets to the wind doesn’t mean you should immediately forget things like “don’t leave that used tampon in the mud” or “it’s not sanitary to crap where people walk” or “TAKE YOUR CHESTERFIELD HOME WITH YOU AND PUT IT IN YOUR OWN RUBBISH BIN IF YOU DON’T WANT IT BECAUSE IT’S COVERED IN COUSIN MARVIN’S SPOOGE”. These are not difficult concepts.
Maybe just pretend there are 10,000 extra people in your neighbourhood, and how you would prefer they act around your parents, your dogs, your kids, your lawn, your local shopkeeper, whatever. I know that you’re going to say that MOST of the people who go to H-BFF are (neither Hillbillies nor Rednecks, nor are they) acting like complete morons. But hey, let’s try a little scaled-back example here. You have a backyard BBQ. Your sister shows up, and you know she likes to drink. She ties one on, just like you knew she would. You’re praying that this time, she doesn’t get ornery and try to light the cat on fire again. And she doesn’t. But she does end up dropping her shorts in the alley and taking a whizz on the neighbour’s driveway. And she gets loud, and rude. And she makes an arse of herself. She might even try to drive herself home at the end of the night.
In the end, your sister goes home, goes on with her life, and you are left apologising to your neighbours for the empty cans in their yard, and the embarrassment of having to explain that she was really drunk, or else she never would have peed on their driveway, and you’re really sorry that they have to see her brassiere dangling from the tree between your yards, but you haven’t a pole long enough to get it down. And about that smell coming from the back fence…you’ll get out there and hose it down as soon as you can. Now imagine this happens EVERY YEAR at your annual family backyard BBQ. MOST of your guests are fine. But the one that isn’t kind of makes up for all of the ones who are.
It’s not that I hate your drunken sister. I hate that she’s making a mess of my back yard.
And that is why I loathe the Hillbilly Fuckfest.