Bilbo, I'm starting to feel like a dinosaur at shows (and I'm not even that old!) because so many people are either there for the drugs, or on their phones or yapping the whole show. The scene is supposed to be all about the music, brotherhood, people of all types coming together to share a magical moment where this music can bring us all together and at the same time allow us all our own head trip during the show, isn't it? Sadly, there are a growing number of folks who seem to be at shows because they think it's:
A. A cool place to get fucked up and nobody will care
B. A cool place to beg for money and free tickets and free anything else
C. A place to come and spend the show texting or talking
I don't understand why any of the above bother to clog up a show venue. Group A can stay home and get fukked up in the privacy and safety of their own homes. Group B should get a job and stop sponging and begging when they're all able bodied folks. And Group C, don't know why they waste their money if they're going to spend all night texting or talking. Sort of negates the whole experience of a show, which you sort of need to surrender to if you're going to get anything out of it.
Anyway, yeah, the entire block to the left of the Fairgrounds entrance looked like a war zone Sat. night. We walked down that way and if you had never seen that sort of scene before I can imagine it would have been scary to some folks. I don't get the being dirty, fukked up, begging for shit crew. Stay home man. Don't mess up the scene for everyone who's there for the music. As a 30-year member of this community, I have to say I was really embarrassed by how this particular group of people behaved in Monterey. In fact, Sunday morning on our way out of town, we drove past the Fairground entrance because I wanted to see what was going on there and although the staff had cleaned the street and you'd never know the crap that was there the night before, there were still vagabonds loitering around the parking lot of some store at the end of the street, and a couple of really shitty broken down looking buses were parked where they shouldn't be. If you're bussing it, park somewhere discreet or shell out a few bucks for a camper lot. It's disrespectful to the folks living in that area to park wherever you want and/or just hang out in front of businesses looking like you haven't bathed in a month, asking for handouts. These people aren't Deadheads, they're lazy deadbeat scammers...my opinion of course, but I do not consider anyone who disrespects the area the Band is playing in, or who spend the entire show running their yap or texting to be a true head. They're just posers and they're giving those who are there for the music - and the Band - a bad name. That's not cool.
What do we do about it? I'm not sure. The band has for many years asked folks not to come to a show if they don't have a ticket. For a place like Monterey it's difficult to manage that because there's no actual lot per se. But I do think maybe they ought to consider various approaches to keeping people from scamming. A few ideas:
1. Have someone front the Front of House staff give out tickets - deli style numbers - to people as they line up, both in the handicap and regular lines, so the scammers (I'm looking at you, Bay Area scammer crew, you know who you are) cannot jump the lines or "invite" 30 of their friends to cut the lines while the rest of us wait on line patiently.
2. To cut down on the vagabond elements, maybe they need to have everyone who pulls up to the lot show their tickets - no ticket, no parking. If you wanna vend or hang in the lot that's totally cool, but if you don't have a ticket you're already disrespecting the band's wishes so maybe that's one way to begin cutting down on people showing up in hoards without tickets or money or way to support their basic needs. I know these ideas might sound a bit harsh but a small and growing group of people are really starting to put a damper on some of these venues and that's not okay.