Following the festival circuit across North America can be an exciting adventure, at least the first few times that you do it. Your friends back home are jealous that you have seen the four corners of the country and everything in the middle – you spend hours showing them your trip pictures and home movies – trying desperately to separate one highway from another and what state park you saw a specific national monument, luckily you have your notes.
For those of us who have traveled thousands of miles, spent time in big and small communities, lived in hotels and motels for months on end and can write a book on fast food and clean restrooms in North America, the life style of constantly being on the move can be extremely trying on relations with family and friends and can be detrimental to our personal well being.
We have all made friends on the road, our traveling family. People that we continually meet at different venues, we know their first names; recognize their cars, trucks, and RVs. We can spend hours of time catching up; how we spent our winter, where we have been, the price of gas, problems encountered, where we are headed, and our venue plans.
Who are these people that we call friends? There is Jeff and Wendy from Maryland; they have the Silver Winnebago, with a heart on the back bumper. There is Madeline and Cynthia they’re sisters from Illinois, they tow a 12 foot royal blue concession trailer, encased in festival decals, behind their Dodge RAM 4X4 and lets not forget Big Jim from Tennessee, the ham hock barbeque king. There is the Florida Everglades, two brothers, and two sisters who dance and sing and of course there is Baldy selling his state flags – we are all jealous of Baldy, he can off load his table and set-up his flags in less than 10 minutes and pack-up in five.
The people that we meet year in and year out are acknowledged when met and quickly forgotten as we see the back end of their vehicles leave the festival grounds.
Life on the road can be very lonely. One motel looks like another, TV reception leaves much to be desired, and every highway exit has a McDonalds, KFC, and Taco Bell. After a long hard day, we take to the local taverns and bars, nodding our heads at familiar faces, drink more than we should, have a dinner that is based on potato skins with cheese and a few dishes of peanuts or trail road snacks. We try to remember birthdays and anniversaries that should be acknowledged with phone calls back home, but when we reach our motel room, we realize that it is to late to call.
We forget what day it is, whether our current venue is over on Saturday or Sunday and are continually plotting our route for the next drive down an interstate highway.
So why do we put up with this lifestyle – it’s not for the money! We may only be in these cities and towns for a few days, and in many cases, we can’t remember one for another, but it’s not in all cases. We all have special memories that will never be forgotten. We know many people from all over North America and yes, in most cases, they are not truly friends, but there are exceptions, there are those people that you meet that you do stay in touch with year around – people that you consider special and have enhanced your life.
Following the festival circuit is not for everyone, but my hat goes off to those who spend months on the road to provide me with some fun, entertainment, and good food when they decide to come to my community.
Robert Berman is a business consultant specializing in business development in the mobile catering and food concession industries. http://www.mobilecateringbusiness.com