With fatigue starting to set in, my partner and I were exhausted after 7 hours on our feet. A little womp’d out, we slowly made our way to the employee break room. Three pieces of pizza and an energy drink later we were revitalized and ready to dive back in. After filling my backpack with bottles of water, we trekked back down into the pit to finish out our shift strong.
By this time the back wall was completely lined with festival goers and simply moving was a challenge. Luckily, everyone was delighted to have us there and accommodated us as we patrolled, making room and thanking us as we passed. With a limited amount of water to share, we rationed what we had by approaching people sitting alone not moving to the music. Sometimes all it took was a thumbs up sign to see that a person was hanging in there, with the look on some of their faces after getting handed a bottle of water being absolutely priceless.
After giving away our last bottle to a grateful couple, it was time for a some much-needed Group Therapy. Soothed by the sounds of Anujabeats, the crowd swayed to the music, cooling off and calming down from an eventful day. The Conscious Crew’s presence had an interesting potentiating effect on the rest of the crowd, resulting in an increased communal responsibility to care of each other. As glowing jellyfish danced through the pit, we couldn’t help but stand back and take it all in. Throughout the day we had received so many positive vibes from everyone we passed that we felt welcomed and appreciated. With the pressing of the button a smile crept across our faces, we were almost there.
Out of supplies, we made one final trip up the hill to the safety tent to refill my backpack with bottles of water. I remember thinking about how heavy the loads of water were as we slowly followed groups of party people gravitating towards the psychedelic visuals illuminating the main stage. With less than 30 minutes left until the last song, Megan and I weaved our way into the pack as deep as we could. Once firmly rooted dead center in the middle of everything, I turned around and started holding up bottles of water, passing them out to out stretched hands until I was dry.
Physically drained, we enjoyed the last few songs and danced out every ounce of energy we had left. As the music faded and the crowd dispersed, we remained vigilant and ready to help until only orange shirts remained. Pride from a job well done beamed from our faces as we snapped a group picture and trudged back up the hill. According to recent reports, there were at least 36% fewer emergency room visits from the Gorge over the weekend, and the cheers from the sea of attendees heading back to the GA parking lot was what really validated our efforts as we passed over the staff bridge into volunteer camping.
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