I was invited to attend Lolla this year as a "staff" member/volunteer (to earn a ticket/be a better friend/enjoy the company of your vendor friends) at Rock 'n Roll Noodle Company located in the Farmer's Market food court. Let me start off by giving you an insider perspective (from an outsider) on the food vendor situation. Putting together quality food to feed the masses is NOT AN EASY TASK. My friends who are the makers of yummy Thai sesame noodles, Thai red chicken and veggie curry dishes, and sweet sticky rice with mango, blueberries and coconut sauce really had their work cut out for them over the Lolla weekend. Serving up food as the crowd lined up was not too bad on Friday since it was technically a "work day" for most and less of a crowd and thankfully, my inaugural day at the food prep station. There is a learning curve that I needed time to master. There is an assembly line that makes the magic happen with a staff member at the helm taking food orders and payment and ordering the food back, someone else at the garnish/prep station, another at the rice station, and more staff preparing the hot chicken or veggie curry. In between lines of customers it was necessary to restock the prep station and rice trays. I learned a lot of new lingo like "Chicken all day"and "Chickens walking" to indicate that a lot of chicken curry bowls were being ordered and to keep them coming. This all brought me back to high school days, working at the local McDonald's "on the line" and feeling a sense of camaraderie. Of course I loved McDonald's at that time and now was happy to be eating sweet sticky rice with mango and not a Big Mac during a much needed break.
The folks next to us in the food tent from the River Valley Market Grill were also having a blast wearing their "Got Shrooms" t-shirts (which could explain the good time they were having). A well oiled machine of mostly fungi's (get it?) selling veggie burgers and other mushroom based food (foccacia, soup) to our right and a creperie vendor to out left crafting fruit and nutella crepes all day. You really could not go wrong in any direction. I did get the sense that a lot of people never ventured to the Farmers Market area for food but stuck with ribs and pizza, standard staples at the main food area at the fest. I would bet that many did not realize what other culinary treats they were missing. Need for better marketing? A crepe or sticky rice bowl on a string that would lead people to the Farmers Market?
The concert goers were mostly in their 20s and 30s (or looked like they were). I was not in my age element as much as I like to think that I am still "young and hip". The millenials were all very nice to me nonetheless and let me take pictures of them. Of course it rained in the early afternoon, as would be expected at a Lolla event, calling for rain ponchos to venture out of backpacks. Those festivarians without the necessary gear were soon dressed in mud. This girl made mud look "in style"with her festival couture. She was wearing mud encased flip flops in case you were wondering. These became the new "it" shoes of the day.
Taking a break from serving food during the day to see a show requires desire, a slightly less than perfect work ethic (after all you have to leave a line of customers at some point to go catch your favorite band), and coverage for your role on the line. I managed to catch two songs from Jessie Ware and later on the Killers and Lana Del Rey. Both performed at the end of the day closing the show and requiring a bit of decision making on my part. I decided that I could not choose so I opted to run from one end of the festival to the other to catch some of both shows.
On a side note, I met Kelsey C. on the train heading downtown to Lolla. She painted her own nails! Talent was everywhere.