The news of this year’s Love Fest, or Lovevolution as it is now called, being canceled did not come as a huge surprise or a real disappointment to me.  Had I attended it would have been my fourth year in a row and in all honesty I was ready for a break.  It isn’t that I don’t think it’s an awesome event, because it really is.  But the magnitude it reached last year left me feeling a little, I don’t know, just over the whole thing.

Four years ago it felt new and definitely not as crowded.  Last year things seemed to really change.  For one, the city and organizers decided it had to be a paid event.  Which makes sense, the clean up is massive, extra police, extra infrastructure to the Civic Center Plaza; it’s a huge operation and the fact that it was free for as long as it was is pretty impressive.  But once they began to charge for it, they could no longer use the name Love Fest, which is reserved for a free event which I believe started in Germany  (On a side not, last years Love Fest in Germany ended in tragedy when around ten people were trampled to death in a mad rush through an exit tunnel).

So with the name change and the fact that you had to pay I think some of the magic began to be lost.  You couldn’t bring in outside booze, there was a fence perimeter which made it feel all the more crowded and in my opinion the overall mood seemed different.  I don’t know, maybe I’m just getting older, but there seemed to be an overwhelming presence of really messed up teeny-bopper-raver kids who I can personally do with out; especially when there numbers are in the thousands to possibly tens of thousands.  Every where I looked there was some fifteen year old girl asleep (by noon in some cases) with her skirt hiked up and her equally fucked up friends making a half assed attempt to guard her as some really predatory looking mother fuckers meandered about.  I’m not passing judgment, I know what it’s like to be too drunk or high, but it got a little ridiculous.

The main act of the evening, The Mutaytor, a live band who rose from the dust of Burning Man and consistently put on a great show, their front man made a comment along the lines of, “man, I’ve never seen so many fucked up little girls, and they all seem to be wearing this damn little head band around there foreheads.  Take it easy out there kids.”  I thought that was great.  And that is exactly what they were, a bunch of kids.  But shit, if I was sixteen, you’d better believe I’d be there too, so I’ll just simply leave that rant right there.  Kids will be kids.

It was just too crowded, and from what I have read that is why it is not going to happen this year.  Organizers were expecting even more people to show up and felt that the Civic Center just couldn’t handle that many people, particularly when it is all gated in.

And while the intention of the event is love, it is hard to throw that size of a party down town and not get a fair share of ill-intentioned people.  There are people selling bad ecstasy, which after the fiasco at the Cow Palace rave, has obviously become a hot issue.  And in general it is hard to remember when you are having such a good time that not everyone is your friend.  I fell victim to someone not spreading the love and had my back pack stolen two years ago.  I set it down, turned around for a minute and it was gone.  My decision to not go this year came before I even learned of it being cancelled and it was a culmination of a lot of factors.  One major factor was the line up for Hardly Strictly Blue Grass looking so good.  I decided I would much rather see good live music for a day in the park than be herded into ridiculously long bathroom lines and over crowded dance areas all with in a chain link fence.  I’ll wait for more organized Burning Man events to get my rave on, ones that enforces 21 and over preferably.

I hope they work out the kinks and get it back together for next year.  It is a great event with a lot of color and positivity hovering around and people have a lot of fun there.  I hope for next year they find a new location that can handle that amount of people and let the Lovevolution continue to evolve.

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