by {{Bob Smiley}}, courtesy of {{Christian Musician}} Magazine


Festival season is upon us. Well, its actually almost over. With that in mind, Id like to share what festivals mean to me:

First, lets talk about hotels. In this industry, the bigger you are, the better the hotel is that the promoter puts you in. For example, the {{Newsboys}} stay in Hiltons, whereas I will be put in something called Bring Your Own Sheets Suites. I hear phrases like Welcome to Lo Costa! We are overbooked Mr. Smiley, so you will have to share a room with this nice family from Des Moines.

However, I am grateful because sometimes I dont even get a hotel. I am of course referring to last April when I performed at a festival called May Daythats right, May Day in April. This should have been a major red flag warning me that this event was going to be a little strange (see: totally whacked), but they did meet the strict requirements I have for accepting a show (see: they said, Oh all right, come perform if you want.)

May Day was supposed to draw about 2,000 people and start right at noon. I arrived at 12:05 PM and assumed that they hadnt started on time. As I walked toward the stage I saw a band sound checking their instruments while four stagehands worked on the front of the stage. Upon getting closer, I realized the band wasnt sound checking but actually playing, and the four stagehands were actually the crowd. By 9:00 PM, six more audience members had arrived. Before introducing me, the emcee held a spitting contest from the stage, causing the seven people not on stage spitting to back even further away from the stage. The winner spit about 30 feet; the fans were chanting, BECKYYYY! BECKYYYY!

The promoter picked this moment to tell me that there was no hotel reservation, but I could stay with a friend of his named Slappy. Slappy then walked over, as if on cue, and said, Dude, I hear you are crashing on my floor. Rock on man! My dorm room is so cool. We are going to party tonight like its 1999! When I informed him that it was 1999, he simply said, Cool, even better, man!

Some festivals are like that, but others are not that good. I performed at a festival in January. I dont want the insensitive promoter to feel bad about the horrible life-scarring way he treated me, so I will disguise the name of his festival in a way he wont be able to recognize it. It was called interW estF. He told me I would go on at 10 PM, right before the {{Supertones}}. When I arrived, however, I noticed I wasnt listed on the schedule anywhere. This is horrible when you think about the reaction of 3,000 kids who are expecting the Supertones and think you are just some guy taking up precious Tones time. However, the promoter assured me that he would introduce me in a way that would let everyone know I was scheduled to do stand up before the Supertones. He then proceeded to walk out on stage and say, Are yall ready for the Supertones? (sound of thunderous applause and screaming) Well, first weve got a guy who is going to warm you up. Please welcome {{Bob Smiley}}. (sound of a small cricket in the back of the room... booing.)

Hello everyone. I am Bob Smileys therapist, and Ive decided to move him on to another topic, because I personally do not feel he is ready to talk about the actual performance that night. Enjoy the rest of the article.

Strange things happen at festivals. First of all, I am shocked at some of the outfits I see. I realize its hot, but if people keep coming up to you and saying, That is a nice dress you almost have on, you are probably not decently dressed. My mom put it best: Some women have an hour glass figure, some of us have an hour and a half. We need to cover ourselves properly. Also, to the men: if you can part the hair down the middle of your back, PLEASE WEAR A SHIRT! I saw a guy last year that I thought was wearing a Speedo and a sweater. As he walked closer to me, I realized he didnt have a shirt on at all. Youll also see strange color hair, silly costumes, tons of makeup, and multicolored tattoosand Im just talking about {{Five Iron Frenzy}} here.

The strangest thing I saw happened three years ago at a festival out in an open field. I went to the row of port-o-potties and opened the first one. Inside were two junior high kids. . . kissing! I said, What are you guys doing in here? They said, This is the only private area we could find. I couldnt believe it! I dont even like to breathe when I am in those things much less open my mouth. Only at a festival.

Festivals are funnel cakes, fake tattoos, mosquito bites, sunburns, water guns, guitars and 208 pots of coffee (Of course, thats just for me. Im not sure if anyone else drinks coffee at these things). Its also a time to come together and praise God through singing and sharing testimonies. With all the chaos and strangeness, most festivals have not lost the true focus of the event: worshipping Jesus Christ. I encourage everyone to go to a festival next summer. Oh, and look for me. Ill be the comedian on the hard-to-get-to side stage at 9 AM, doing stand-up to a line of people who are waiting their turn to wrestle in gigantic sumo wrestling suits, while the next band sound-checks their guitars through the same speaker my mic is attached to.