BY KIM STOKES

We all have had bad nights. The ‘Converse, Let’s Take It Outside’ party, or Convers Gig, was just one of those nights.

I went to the Converse Gig wanting the days of glow sticks, fuzzy pom-pom headbands and concert excitement we all had back in the day. Instead I, and some fellow disappointed glow stick fans, got a strange experience on a field, under an overpass and in the sand.

The field was airless, my boots crushed crumpled cans and my face and hair were caked with dust. An area towards the back which smelled like dead cats, to my great horror, turned out to be the only place I could go to powder my nose. And to add insult to injury, the crowd was still in high school, bum-puffing badly lit cigarettes and sipping their Coke Lights, giggling at how grown up they all felt.

I have never been one for festivals or outside gigs, and probably never will be. Girls like me enjoy the small comforts of an inside venue: flushing toilets, a roof over our head, bouncers and actually having a floor. I don’t know why I was expecting this to be different from all the other roofless festivals and gigs I have been too in the past, but it probably had something to do with the line-up. So I assumed I could ignore the whole ‘roofless’ and ‘bouncer-less’ thing and just enjoy the bands. And it seemed many other inside-gig girls were caught in the same snare.

I had been nursing an ice cold drink to fight of the mugginess of the venue for over an hour when the first band stepped on stage. It was Beatenburg, a big favourite of mine. I had heard them many times before, in more intimate settings such as crowded disk-jockey bars or pool halls. Beatenburg have an easy sound to them, melodious and thick; they can perforate a crowd with soothing lullabies.

I was sorely mistaken to think that this bunch of 16-year olds would appreciate Beatenburg. The band was drowned out by bored looking faces who wanted something with more beat and a whole lot less burg.

‘I don’t think I like this band, I mean, they have a silly name’ was the last thing I heard before I bolted out of the ingrown crowd.

To put it bluntly, I felt like a music appreciating granny at this gig. I was not alone. A horde of us were evacuating the band area. After standing cross-armed and moody eyed for a while, we had had enough of the entire spectacle.

It wasn’t that the bands’ music was bad, it was the entire failure of the venue that made the night such a sorry disappointment. Being in the middle of the city the area was awash with car hooters, night calls and that damp mugginess synonymous with smog.

With no trusty bouncer to give me that kick of superiority for being over 18, I felt lost. And I do not know what was worse, having the experience smeared by these young things or feeling like an ouma because of them.

To make everything more frustrating, and even more disappointing: the whole venue was crammed with every ironic, vintage and hipster-infested decoration imaginable. This entire attempt by the event organisers at being ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ left me feeling like the Grinch who had stolen hipstermass. All that was left was to scurry off cursing every fairy light and ironically lit lamp in passing.

It was a bad night. I just wanted to feel uplifted, and gratefully dirty, at the end of a great and beautiful event. Like the way we used to feel after a big concert, chanting the lyrics of a favorite song, running arm-looped and heavy laden with strange band memorabilia. I obviously did not get that this time. Instead most of us left the venue disenchanted zombies. Maybe I should learn my damn lesson and just stay away from interesting looking gigs without roofs.

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