At the Field Day Music Festival, yoga and camping gave way to corporate banners and $5 hot dogs.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
The kids weren't supposed to have to fight so hard for their music. The rain they could handle. The standing for hours on end - they'd done it before. But there they huddled, a sea of poncho-muffled shadows extending far across the stadium's flooring, met by the gaze of corporate banners, fully-armed officers, and fellow fans in the upper decks.
Thousands of fans kept pouring into Giants Stadium, forking over $15 in the parking lot, surrendering umbrellas at the frisk-'em-first point of entry, and waiting in endless lines for $5 hot dogs.
And they kept standing, as morning turned into afternoon and afternoon into a gloomy dusk. They laughed with Beth Orton, shivered and danced with Underworld, jumped and howled with Blur and the Beastie Boys. A Field Day Music Festival banner depicting sun, grass, and colorful tents hung over the massive stage, and the irony was lost on no one.
What was supposed to be a weekend to redefine the music festival - replacing Coca-Cola banners with fan art and teen idols with musicians who actually write their own music - collapsed into 12 hours of "put up with it or leave" at the New Jersey stadium. Gone were the morning yoga classes, affordable local food and drink, arts and crafts exhibits, and camping. Suffolk County officials in Long Island cited an insufficient police force for the 35,000 fans expected to descend on an abandoned airfield in the town of Riverhead.
What happened to the celebration of art and nature, to the notion that exposure to new music could carry a show? Why had Field Day, with events and a lineup that had the world talking, dwindled to an audience of 20-somethings just kicking around until Radiohead came out to play?