I thought I was ready for Common Ground. But as I read the FAQ section on their site I was promptly skunked.
I came across this very reasonable question: “Am I allowed to bring a backpack or purse into the festival?” The very unreasonable answer was no. Only “bags made of clear plastic, clear vinyl or clear PVC,” were allowed. Besides Common Ground, the only place these bags exist for purchase are Hot Topic and BDSM shops, neither of which I have any desire to visit.
I wasn’t about to risk dying in the wilderness of Adado Riverfront Park just because I didn’t bring a back with a raincoat, sunscreen, and a Clif Bar in it, so I made the decision to smuggle a backpack into Common Ground.
With the help of my press pass, it was a lot less exciting than I thought it would be. I showed them my backpack, flashed my wristband and walked in.
But boy am I glad I brought my backpack. As it turns out, having a backpack at Common Ground is a lot more useful than you would expect. Here are the top 6 activities I (mostly) truthfully used my backpack for at Common Ground.
1. Bring a friend
If you’re alone at Common Ground because your friends “don’t know any of Live’s songs and have never heard of them,” you’re in luck. Simply bolt out of Common Ground, snag your friend, put them in you backpack and bring them in for free. They can’t complain now. Also, your friends are lying. They know Live, because at least one song on “Throwing Copper” is perpetually playing on more than 30 different alternative rock radio stations around the country as you’re reading this.
2. Barf in it
When Lacey Sturm, the only female artist who played at Common Ground on Saturday, is inadvertently accompanied by a plane flying a Déjà Vu strip club banner high in the sky during her set, you might feel a little queasy and you might need a handy barf bag. A backpack really does the job. Also, you can puke in it again when Here Come the Mummies blasts you with a healthy dose of funk because they’re that sick.
3. Keeping Your $9 Gyro Leftovers
You’re going to get hungry, you’re going to smell that sweet lamb meat twirling in the breeze and you’re going to pay nine dollars for a gyro made by a John Belushi look-alike. When you scarf down three quarters of mutton and cucumber sauce you’ll immediately realize if you eat anymore you’ll have to go home. Wrap it up in its convenient tinfoil carrying case and save it in your backpack until you just can’t stand the smell anymore.
4. Sleeping bag
Everybody has to sleep and so do you! Crawl in your backpack, now pronounced “sleeping bag,” and grab some quick Zs in between sets or during songs that the band tells you to dance to. Besides, you can dance in your dreams.
5. Lose It
A fun way to miss The Legal Immigrants’ killer set is to lose your backpack and everything in it. If you’re bored and if you brought your social security card, birth certificate and passport in your backpack, try leaving it somewhere and then walking away. Or, better yet, give it to a stranger. Trying to track it down until a security guard asks you to leave at 1 a.m. will make this year’s Common Ground unforgettable.
6. Fill It Full of Merchandise
Drug rugs, medical marijuana promotional swag, six to eight Shinedown shirts, a flag that says “FREAK” on it in Slayer font, discount sandals, another gyro, sacred geometry earth crystals, free samples of Mountain Dew Spiked Lemonade. All of this and more is available at Common Ground. How are you going to take it home if you don’t have a backpack?