Sail Away - Are You Passionate?
"Never put the hose down, never get old"
Introduction. Donít Be Denied
If you are a newbie considering a jaunt to this yearís epicenter of Rustdom, the 2008 12th annual edition of the International Rust Fest (IRF) and the 22nd annual Bridge School Benefit Concerts (BSB), consider no more and take the plunge. This will be my nineth trip to Northern California from my home in Niagara Falls, New York, U.S.A. In some respects I may be seen as a seasoned Rustie (although I would preserve that term for those who partake in the honeyslide part of life) but I remember what its like to travel to a far off place for the first time to meet folks that I barely know from the internet. So, For What Its Worth, I offer the following advice:
Chapter 1. Ordinary People and Lotta Love
Rusties and Zumans
Rusted Internet folks are no scarier than the next door neighbor. This is a loaded statement to be sure, because it takes all types but I assure you that Rusties and Zumans won't bite and will treat you right. And we do all have one thing in common, love (and sometimes obsession) for the music of Neil Young and his Friends and Relatives. Just folks just getting together for the fun of it. If you are still skeptical, take a look at the photos from previous Rustfests on the IRF web page IRF , there is much rejoicing. Its a no lose proposition. You canít go wrong. There is much love to be found.
Chapter 2. Expecting to Fly
If you need to fly, you can choose to arrive and depart from San Francisco International (SFO), San Jose (SJC) or Oakland (OAK). Each is within an relatively short driving distance to the Saratoga Springs Resort campground. About an hour or less. So shop all the airlines for prices to each of these airports. Check all the airlines for the best deals.
**Note about Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia and other restricted tickets: You will not be able to change your itinerary once youíve booked your flight. But if you miss your return flight like I did one year because of traffic, they will put you on stand-by for the next available flight.
Chapter 3. Sedan Delivery
Bay Area Transportation
Cars and CAlifornia are almost synonymous. If you canít or donít want to afford to rent a vehicle, just get yourself to the Bay Area, someone will retrieve you to the IRF and affiliated festivities. Plenty of folks are sans personal transportation and no one gets left behind. Thereís a spot on the IRF pages linked through HyperRust where you can post your shuttle needs in advance. Bay Area transportation should really be among the least of your concerns.
Chapter 4. California Sunset - Like A Hurricane - Be The Rain
Camping at Saratoga Springs Camping Resort
For my first IRF in 1998 I lugged my personal camping gear in my backpack. This is a viable option for those who like that sort of thing. Between the warmth of the fire and the warmth of Rustie fellowship, you'll be just fine. If youíre a tenderfoot, or like me, past that point in your life that you do the camping out thing just for the fun of it, you might want to consider the RV option or perhaps a hotel.
Chapter 5. If [Sleep]ing on the Ground is Wrong.
Recreational Vehicles (RV)
Its the best of no worlds but a vast improvement over sleeping on the ground and overpaying for a cozy hotel room. This is the RV option. The IRF page links to three RV rental agencies, El Monte, Cruise America,and California Campers, Over the last few years I've rented a 31 foot RV with slideout with 2 or 3 other Rusties. Four grown men is pretty cozy, but we're good friends, we give each other space and it works out great.
One huge advantage with the RV is the tailgating before the shows. We load up the RV with as many Rusties can fit, find a good spot in the parking lot and put on a feast for everyone. A well nourished Rustie is a happy rustie as my MUM used to say! Perhaps you can join us!
As far as driving the thing goes, if you have any experience driving fire trucks, it will be no problem. But even if you donít have any equivalent experience, donít fret. Any competent driver will be able to master the beast in a short while. If you’ve ever driven a rented moving van, you have all the ability you need. Take it from one who has trained dozens of novice fire fighters to handle much heavier and larger fire vehicles, YOU can do it if you just give yourself a chance (Disclaimer: I make no warranties, express or implied, that YOU will do it only that you can do it)
Another thing about driving. Traffic in the Bay Area can be brutal. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going as you contend with the freeway traffic.
Chapter 6. Bad Fog of Loneliness
Those winding Skyline roads can be challenging once the fog rolls in off the ocean. But its the most interesting route from Saratoga Springs to Old Princeton Landing for the Rustie acoustic jam.
Chapter 7. Touch the Night - Prisoners of Rock and Roll
Rustie Jam - Old Princeton Landing
Iím not going to spoil the surprise for this one. Its a trip (as in groovy experience ) to get your first exposure to this Rustie mecca. Sort of like avoiding the setlists before you see a tour, donít seek out too much info on OPL...youíll know what I mean once you get there. Rustie OPL Acoustic Jam
Chapter 8. Rockiní in the Free World
International Rust Fest
What can I say. Peace. Love. Rock-n-Roll. Neil. The cypress woods. Campfires. Honeyslides. Your favorite libations (BYB btw). Many fine Rusted musicians play an early acoustic sets on a superb stage by , followed by a screaming electric jam and followed again by around the campfire singalongs into the wee hours of the morning. Pure heaven on earth. Again, check out the IRF photo pages.
Chapter 9. Dance, Dance, Dance
Bridge School Benefit Concert
The concerts themselves are special. The Bridge School students and their families are invited onstage for all of the performances. Their palpable joy is contagious and spreads to the performers and the audience. All the acts play their music more or less acoustic. Imagine acoustic Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Billy Idol, Tom Petty and a host of others and you must be intrigued. They often knock their die hard fans in attendance over for a loop. And of course thereís Neil. In 1998 we heard the debuts of Looking Forward and Distant Camera as well as the dusting off of Expecting to Fly and Ambulance Blues. In 2000 a triple bill of Neil (solo to open the show, with Friends and Relatives and of course CS&N) more than made up for the absence of new material. Who knows whatís in store for this year, but there won't be too many Rusties who will be disappointed in the musical offerings.
Chapter 10. For the Turnstiles - Mr. Disappointment
BSB Tickets - TicketMaster
BSB tickets are very popular in the Bay Area, but if you get yourself to Shoreline youíll get into the show! How? What if its sold out? you say? Read on. Scoring them via TicketMaster is one possibility, but you have to be ready as soon as they go on sale if you want to sit in a seat. Seats will sell out in a manner of minutes of going on sale. Then only lawn seating will be available until sold out. The lesson that I've learned is to not turn down a 200 level seat.
Your best bet may be the Rustrow lottery that Sheila "Lookout Mama" coordinates.
One thing is for sure though, you can ALWAYS get a lawn seat. If not from the box office then from folks who have extras out front, and often at a substantial discount. There are often being given away for free as show time approaches. The exception to this was when Phish played in 1998. Phish Phans scooped up most of the "miracles."
Chapter 11. After the Gold Rush or Mellow My Mind
The After Show Special
Following each nightsí BSB show, the camping Rusties usually huddle around the warmth and hospitality of the cam fire. Those who are musically inclined, and even some of us who wish we were, partake in some of the sweeter things in life and sing, hum and strum until the last eyelid bites the dust.
Well. I hope this helps someone to make a positive decision to join us this year. Good luck and Iíll see you in California! if you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.