Hula Hoops, Hippie Skirts, Hash & Hairy Armpits
Driving down the long winding road of Big Cypress Indian Reservation I wondered if I was ever going to get to Langerado. Then I saw it - one lone Birkenstock sandal in the middle of the road, indicating I was well on my way. Being that it was quite a long drive to the event seemed tiresome enough, however I should have took the hint the worst was yet to come when I saw several rasta hippies hitching rides and the slew of warning signs that read "Please Move Broken Vehicles to the Side of the Road" on the rocky gravel street that seemed like an eternity to travel down (at a grueling 3 miles per hour which was took at least an hour to drive).
This, my friends, was just the beginning of many memorable events that were to occur at Langerado.
So you may ask: After having a monsoon flood and winds that practically blow your tent away, going several days without a shower, experiencing weather shifts from 90 degree heat to 50 degree freezing ass cold and significant tire and alignment damage from the hazardous 2 mile gravel crawl to Big Cypress Indian Reservation - was it worth it? Absofuckinglutely.
There were so many things to see and do at Langerado; that once you got past all of the hassle of getting there, it felt as if you were entering the Emerald City - just a little hippified is all.
Entering the grounds of Langerado you are welcomed with teepee like pillars of vivid color and one giant rainbow Ferris Wheel.
Psychedelic backdrops mastered by resident artist LeBo, creatively imitated a modern feel of the 1970's rock invasion period. Langarado was successful in unifying the best music, the most intriguing art and radiated a green peace vibe throughout the event. No matter what ones creative outlet was, one could find just about anything they needed at Langerado to make the experience a pleasant one.
From tie-dye dye tanks to glow in the dark hula hoops, body paint to bubbles - it didn't matter; anybody could enjoy themselves at this event.
Showcased in booths were exceptional art by Eva Ruiz, Jerry Garcia, Blotter Art and many others. A variety of eccentric clothes and jewelry of course took their place in the event and Langerado itself had many interesting attractions such as Green-A-Rado; an eco village atmosphere offering yoga classes, workshops and AFV (Alternative Fuel Vehicle) displays.
Kid-A-Rado, a kids festival within a festival, was also offered to Langerado moms & dads with kid tents of arts/crafts projects, stories, games, special demonstrations and a Kid-A-Rado house band.
What was also most exceptional about Langerado was the official artwork of Langerado by Cuban-American artist LeBo. Artist David "LeBo" Le Batard is known for his vibrant and whimsical paintings of musical metaphors and colorful characters inspired by the world of musical culture. LeBo rocked out along side the musicians with live art performances during the live musical performances of the Beastie Boys, Thievery Corporation, the Disco Biscuits, Citizen Cope, Les Claypool, among many others.
But lets face it - most of us came for the music, right? Well, what blew me away, it being my first time at Langerado, was how incredibly entertaining all of the musical acts were. Everybody at Langerado BRUNG IT with such fervor that one would think it was THE major event of the decade.
Being a 4 day event in the Everglades on an Indian Reservation; Langerado had 5 stages, almost 90 bands and so much energy you'd think it was a power plant.
The days began with the more chill bands setting the vibe for the event - such as The Wailers, 311 and so forth.
Beach balls bounced back and forth, and the smell of hash was in the air as the Wailers played their set and introduced Matisyahu as a guest singer.
Bubbles flowed in the dusk while the beautiful melody of "Amber" played from 311, then the energy picked up as the crowd jumped up and down in unison to "Down".
G-Love and Special Sauce grooved the The Sunset Stage as the Roots put on a surprising performance of Bob Dylan's "Masters of War".
The Beastie Boys mastered mixes, played old school Beastie punk and caused a major mosh pit ending the show with "Sabotage" while heckling the ravers with their glowsticks.
Thievery Corporation enchanted the crowd with their rasta-electro and Indian Princess costumes, a group of Raver Dance troop girls in fluorescent wigs and sequined tight shorts distracted Matisyahu fans on the grounds by performing choreographed dance routines with glow in the dark hula hoops to "Lord Raise Me Up" while a mysterious ballerina in a red tutu does pirouettes in the center of the girls performance.
Ghostland Observatory, located in the Chickee hut in the back of Langerado has an astonishing huge crowd migrating to see the electrifying performance. Being in competition with Matisyahu (playing at the Sunset Stage in the same time slot) Ghostland Observatory mesmerized audiences with powerful vocals and massive green rays that shot out from the stage, beyond the crowd and onto the trees.
REM put on an astounding performance, admitting it's their first time at Langerado. Wearing a white suit, with yellow X's made from electric tape on his nipples, Michael Stipe takes a moment out to identify with the audience by saying "In 2008, I am sick to death of being told by politicians what I should be afraid of and what I should fear". Stipe then plays his latest song "Houston" echoing "I'm Martin Sheen, I'm Steve McQueen, I'm Jimmy Dean" and then busts in with "Losing my Religion".
Finalizing the show is hard to do. There were so many great performances, so many attractions it's hard to review them all. If you were tired from stage hopping for live shows, you could chill out on the Ferris Wheel, or sit on a grassy knoll - if you wanted to dance you could go to the tent that had Real Radio and dance to electronica all night with a bunch of other rave happy kids, if you were hungry you could scarf down a burrito, burger or fish sandwich from one of the many food vendors. Too tired to do anything? Go to your tent and take a nap. It's that easy. A home away from home - a little break from the real world.
So what you got soaked from the major rainstorm? So what your tent blew away? So what, you stink because there's no running water? So what you have to repair a tire from the treacherous gravel road? Life goes on. You got to hear great music, see fantastic performances, meet cool people, drink lots of beer and take home some memorabilia. You got to vacate your real life and melt away in the land of Langerado. So slap on a spare tire, take a shower, quit your bitchen and plan for next years Langerado.
And if you missed Langerado this year, take my advice; plan in advance. Get some AAA, bring your galoshes, buy a sturdy tent and bring some hand sanitizer. I promise, you'll have a good time.
- Mia Carlin