I’m sure if I were to propel backwards in time to September 10th, 2005 or just slightly earlier I could better understand why I shelled out thirty-five bones to go to something called Wakefest 2005, which could very well have been called Wakefest 1 instead, or perhaps even just “Wakefest”, as I think this was the only one.
First off, Wakefest happened in Wakefield (hence half the name), a splendid little music/arts village in western Quebec. But for all its splendidness Wakefield was also an inconvenient thirty-minute drive from my house, so we’ll call that point even.
If I was prone to lying-as-self-promotion I could easily just declare my support for the…let me check…oh yes, the Quail House as my reason for attending but alas, until I glanced at the ticket stub this morning I had no idea that Wakefest 2005 was a benefit for anything. Perhaps a time machine could jar my memory but let’s just say the charitable cause probably wasn’t what caused me to go to Wakefest.
Very conspicuously this ticket came with free drinks and food, including a pig roast and a lamb roast. This might on the face of it be the slam dunk I am looking for but a closer look proves otherwise. First, that thirty-minute drive home might have kneecapped the amount of beer I’d be drinking – indeed, the small print on the centre shred of this ticket instructs that drinking and driving was not an option – though I might have been riding with someone else but I don’t think I was.
Now, about that pig roast. Pig is my favourite animal. To eat, that is; bat’s are my favourite living animals. When I look at a pig all I can say is yum; my apologies if that grosses you out but truth is paramount. And while I have a tiny trauma tucked away in my memory banks linked to watching a pig being slaughtered at a relative’s farm in New Brunswick when I was a little kid, I had been invited to a traditional wedding in Thailand more than a decade earlier where the main course was a pig roast and I enjoyed it greatly (though it was too dark to really see the pig in much detail*). This was, however, a different story.
The pig and the lamb were being slow-roasted all day at the sunny picnic, so the disturbing sight and sickly-sweet aroma was a constant fixture on the day (frankly, when I think back to Wakefest it is these two burning sacrifices that my memory stares at). I’m not a fan of lamb at the best of times and watching one roast on a spit all day wasn’t going to help matters much, and when the pig was finally ready I think I had the smallest bite before turning towards the macaroni salad for sustenance.
And so it must have been the bands that drew me out! Andrew Vincent and What the Thunder Said certainly ring some bells – I suspect these would be Come Together Music Festival-types of bands – but there was also my good friend Bradm’s new-ish band Inglewood Jack. They were a fun band, though I’ll admit I didn’t generally walk away humming any of their tunes, but a good band. Was my old friend Pat playing sax with them too? Yeah, I think so, and they had a dj in the group as well.
But while I love my late friend Bradm and now that he’s gone would gleefully pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to see him play a gig just one more time, there’s no way that 2005-me was paying $35 for an Inglewood Jack set a half-hour drive out of town.
The easy answer is that it was a little bit of this column and a little bit of that, maybe the bands were worth $8 to me, the drinks maybe $15 or so, plus the food…But that answer seems a little too convenient.
I think the real reason I paid so much for that day in the sun so many years ago was in pursuit of a time-travelling social experiment** designed to test whether or not anyone would read this far into this narrative, devoid as it is. And if it is possible to “win” a social experiment then you, good reader, have won this one. I suggest you reward yourself with a cookie or a Guinness. Why not both?
*Just as I was finishing my ham steak at that wedding I turned around and came face-to-face with the pig’s head. We were on a dark beach lit only by torches and I hadn’t noticed that it was on the table next to where I had been standing. It was a very shocking, very jarring sight to be sure, and I couldn’t help but to immediately think of Lord of the Flies.
**In case you’re not familiar with the term, a “social experiment” is when you act like a total a**hole in order to goad a response from unsuspecting people and you record the results on video, which you edit and post on the internet in search of “likes”. It’s all the rage.