The Fraternity of The Scene
- By Alan VanToai
- Published on May 23, 2011
Every Sunday, we’ll feature an article by a columnist on the Headstash staff who will give you a personal take on themes within our scene, including anything from jam bands to electronica acts and environmentalism to drug reform.
The Fraternity of The Scene
There’s a lot to love about the jam band community.
The music. The adventures. The blotter. With all of this though, one thing that trumps them all is the people, in something I like to call, “the fraternity of the scene.”
Now, I know, the term “fraternity” has its stigmas attached to it. Judgment aside, I’m not using the term in the beer pong playing “bro” sense. Nothing against those guys, but I opted out of the Greek thing in college, and chose another fraternity.
By now you already know what I’m talking about. It’s the common thread that we share that ties us together. This community attracts such passionate people, and is so polarizing – you either love it or you hate it – that there are few “casual” fans around. Since the scene is such an important part of all of our lives, we automatically share an intimate bond.
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Think about when you see fellow freaks from our fantasy world in the streets, classrooms and offices of “real” society. If they’re rocking an old All Good T-shirt, a tattered Rothbury 2008 wristband or a Grassroots California hat, there’s an instant connection.
It’s one of the things we love the most about the fraternity. There are many components to this connection that we all share.
There’s the style. The scene has swagger. From earthy and organic to bold and urban, our people party with unique flair as diverse as the festival lineups we rave about all summer. But whether someone prefers hemp and dreadlocks or flat brims and wraps, it’s undeniable people are proud to represent the lifestyle.
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There’s the language. We’ve breathed new life into silly terms like “wook” and “String Cheese.” We’ve hijacked the meaning of town names (Rothbury) and landmarks (Wakarusa). And when that wasn’t enough, we made shit up. Bonnawhat? What is an Orch? We don’t even need to talk about the hushed whispers saturating the air during late nights on “Shakedown Street.” We get it. We love it.
There’s the squabbling. Like any good brotherhood, we bicker. Put moe. and STS9 fans in the same room and you’re bound to hear some impassioned trash talking. Ever watch the Phish and Disco Biscuits message boards go at it on PT? There are pissing contests, but unlike some more serious rivalries, there’s always an underlying respect, despite maybe a lack of appreciation, for each others’ musical tastes.
There’s the economy. We have our own little alternative barter system on tour and in festival grounds. It’s underground, untaxed and self-policed. Year after year, new entrepreneurs are born in the parking lots of jam band and livetronica shows. And if you want to run away into the festival fantasy and have a skill, goods or grilled cheese to trade, you can pay your way to the next stop, no problem.
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Lastly, there’s the network. If you travel to 48 states (and Mexico in January) to party with like-minded people, you’re going to make friends in a lot of places. You’re rehashing old friendships, connecting with friends of friends and meeting fascinating characters every step of the way. Some of these people you may never see outside of the fantasy context, but the love is there, and there are pictures to prove it – even if they’re too fun for Facebook.
It’s our passion for the fraternity that inspired Headstash. This is a labor of love, a project to tie it all together the best we can. It’s a real thing that unites us. And while we might not always think about it, we know it’s there.