Last month, the wine-stomping, onion-growing metropolis of Walla Walla, Washington, saw its population nearly double for a weekend when a music festival called Gentlemen of the Road came through town. It was all my friends and I could talk about, and one night, a friend asked, “What would be the opposite of a Gentlemen of the Road tour? A Wild Women of the Ditch tour?”
Other questions soon arose. Have I ever seen this many people in the same place before? Do I really have to pay five dollars to go downtown? Why are wine slushies so popular with this crowd? When will the Whitman College athletic fields recover from being the site of a 30,000-person concert? Why are there so many people from Florida here? How do you dance to the Foo Fighters when you’re carrying a camera and three lenses in a tote bag and recognize only two of their songs? What do you say to a stranger who insists on persistently guessing how old you are? Again, how do you dance when there are people crammed tightly against you from every side and all you can manage to do is bend your knees and bob up and down? How come the words “Walla Walla” sound so much cooler when Marcus Mumford says them? No, seriously, how do you dance?