Test Of Time – Tourtagebuch #3
In der letzten Woche haben uns Test Of Time ausführlich an Ihren Erlebnissen am Tag des Pre-Fluff Fest leilhaben lassen. Nun gibt es einen weiteren ereignisreichen Tag, der nach jeder Menge Spaß im Pool, leckerem veganen Essen, reichlich Smalltalk, viel guter Musik und einem tollen Auftritt der Band selbst, unter freien Himmel in Belgien ein zufriedenes und friedliches Ende fand.
Day 2 – Czech Republic – Fluff Fest – 25.07.2014
Prior to leaving Joe’s place, we needed to swing by a copy store in order to print out some papers for Serbia and scan our passports for Ieper Fest. Just before leaving, someone had the brilliant idea to print out some photos that Eva had gotten of Handsome; one of him playing drums with his band and the other of us all proposing to him at the end of the evening before. We decided this was important and made 20 b/w copies of each. On the drumming pictures, I wrote “Have You Seen This Handsome Man?”. These were to be plastered around Fluff Fest, and I have now been told they even made it home with a few people after the fest. Seeing Adrian’s face when he saw them was pretty priceless, and I have to assume that this somewhat helped the turn out for the Minority of One set on Saturday.
Fluff Fest is about an hour and a half outside of Prague. Early into every tour I have done, there is always the unspoken dynamic of finding one’s place in the van. This includes figuring out where a bag will stay, any food, etc. It is very ritualistic. The weather was ideal; warm and sunny, for a pool we had been hearing about that is within walking distance of the Fluff grounds. For days, we had been hearing about this pool. I think it even began before we left for Europe by American friends that had played Fluff before. It was to the point of legend by the time we got there. We were to close out the entire day, which I was very nervous about, so we had time to kill when we arrived.
We met up with the guys from Focused Minds and we all left for the pool together. Our German friend Mascha was hanging out with the Focused Minds guys, so she came too. It was a short walk through a small neighborhood and down a street that had essentially turned into a parade of punk and hardcore kids going each way. When we got to the pool, Tour Boss (Katrin) jokingly tried to sneak in under the admission window. She had a smirk on her face and was looking at us while she did it, so it was clearly in fun, but the woman working this window was not amused. She nearly screaming in my face over the whole thing, so we tried to pay as quickly as possible and get out of her way. The pool is man-made, but the size of a fairly large pond and toward the back has a small island with a tiny tree on it. There are two slides that are in the shallower end of the pool, and, for some reason, have been built to dump patrons out into a section of the pool where the floor feels like glass shards have been adhered to it. Numerous injuries were sustained in this spot. In the deeper end, there is a small dock that extends a few feet out into the water for people to jump off of. As soon as we got in, we commandeered the dock. With the GoPro in hand, we started doing all sorts of ridiculous flips and different things into the water. Joe decided it would be a great idea to jump into the water with his glasses on. While emerging from his first jump, he lost the glasses. The water was murky after a few feet and about 12′ deep in that area, so it was tough to find them, but somehow, Joe managed to get them back.
It was a great bonding experience for us to all enjoy the pool with the Focused Minds guys. Traveling to another continent to meet people from the middle of our country really creates a cool bond for us. They are some of the kindest and most genuine people and we all got along immediately. Luckily, it was not the only day we were to spend with them.
After a few hours, we headed back to the Fluff grounds to set up our merch. We were in between Mean Season and Beyond Pink. I stayed with the merch most of the day while the other dudes stood on top of the van and got to watch the bands on the main stage from there. I spent some time speaking with different members of Beyond Pink, which I was very impressed by, both musically and as people. The drummer wrote a zine that TB (Tour Boss: This is what I will refer to Katrin as for the bulk of the writing) bought and we took turns reading. They are very insightful and interesting people. They are from Sweden, I believe. Their table had a line for the bulk of the morning and after watching them play, I understand why. The Mean Season guys seemed less enjoyable. They were very upset their merch hadn’t come in on time and they kept asking us to move down, though they had only a LP and two shirts at the time, which were already laid out and had plenty of space. I tried to talk to one of the members a bit, but he only wanted to discuss money with me, and I couldn’t care less to have that be what I spent my day talking about, so it was a short chat.
The food at Fluff was amazing; all vegan and very well prepared. One thing I really respect about Robert is that even though he is not vegan or vegetarian, he is very open to and never complains to eating vegan food all the time since it is easier for the rest of us. My vantage point was not ideal for watching bands; I could only see a small section of the main stage because the front of house sound tent was ahead of me, and I was inside a tent myself, so there was no way I could see into the tent stage. I got to listen to all the bands that played the main stage, and there were some really cool bands and a lot of good things said on stage. I always appreciate a band with good banter and things to say between their songs when it is unscripted.
Our set was in the tent stage, about an hour after the main stage bands had finished. I was feeling very nervous because I was thinking everyone would be so over music by that point and wanting to go back to their camp sites by that time. Before we played, I was pacing behind our stage and trying to do my breathing exercises to get ready. Prior to all the shows I sang, I was getting so nervous that I just couldn’t talk to anyone and needed to get myself together as much mentally as physically. When we took the stage, I looked out into a full room. I was blown away. The entire tent and as far as I could see outside were just heads with smiles. Our plan for the set was to start with two Minor Threat songs, play our set, and finish with another two. From the moment Mike rang out the first note, there were stage dives and kids singing along. I assumed this would happen only through the covers, but it continued through our entire set. It was such a great feeling. Right in the beginning, someone spilled a beer onto the stage. Robert stepped into it and slid off the stage. Somehow, he managed to keep playing through the fall and stayed on his feet. I didn’t see this happen, and I jumped right into the beer and also took a fall. My feet went right out from under me and I slammed down on my back, smashing my hands between the mic and my back. I thought I had maybe broken my fingers, but luckily, I was wrong. At the end of the set, we played the final two Minor Threat songs, and everyone was calling out for more. I offered to play another Minor Threat cover that we hadn’t played, but I feel like the ones we didn’t play from the first EP are songs that people don’t seem to know all the words to, so instead, I offered that we play the four we had already played over again. We played “Filler”, “I Don’t Wanna Hear It”, “Straight Edge” and “Minor Threat” again and kids went insane. We also had a stage-dive contest where Robert was the judge and the winner got a LP. It was really an incredible time.
After the show, we knew we had an overnight drive ahead of us, so we couldn’t hang around Fluff for too long. We had to collect Eva, who was out gallivanting with friends, and we started making our drive. We stopped on the side of the road somewhere, maybe in Belgium, and decided this was to be our sleeping spot. It was off of the freeway and on a rocky shoulder. I immediately took my sleeping bag, put it down on the rocky ground, and decided I was going to sleep outside. I always find this goes better than trying to sleep in a van, provided it doesn’t rain. Mike ended up sleeping in the back of the van on top of all the gear, while the rest of the group divided up the floor and bench space. Bed time!