Parking and Access
Parking is always a challenge at festivals like this. A mass exodus results in a mass bottleneck of tired frustration. While the festival grounds had a large parking lot for the community college, it’s not quite enough for all guests. The parking lot passes sell out well before the actual festival tickets sell out.
But there was a lot of other options in the quaint town of Greenfield. Satellite parking existed for free where shuttle buses transported people to and from the festival grounds. With chairs, kids, and bags, this is never a fun option, but it gets the job done. This year I discovered the best parking option; 3rd Party Parking.
I entered the Greenfield area on Saturday expecting to park in the satellite parking area. There were amateur signs pointing me down a residential maze of roads and barns. I pulled into a lot that looked like someone’s big front yard. The kid at the entrance asked for $10, which was at first a surprise as the satellite parking was free. It then became clear that this wasn’t parking provided by the festival. These were people living very close to the festival that saw a quick opportunity to make a few thousand dollars by sitting outside on a nice summer’s weekend.
The lot was in walking distance of the festival. No shuttle bus was required. But another advantage wasn’t made clear to me until we left after Old Crow Medicine Show on Sunday.
We stayed until the very end, and took a leisurely approach to getting back to our car. We walked by hundreds of cars stuck in the parking lot that weren’t moving any time soon. But our car was parked outside of the parking lot, which could be accessed only by foot as this entrance was blocked by a metal gate.
One change to the festival this year was the bag check. It seemed innocent enough, but the Green River Festival always had a long line to get in and this would certainly only slow the process of getting in. While I didn’t need to secure a spot for my blanket/chair, I did get in line at 11AM (doors at 12) to avoid waiting outside while the festival started. I’d rather sit and relax in line, and then in the festival, than have the unnecessary stress of traffic (both the car and human variety).
An unexpected form of entertainment came in watching people in line try and use the port-a-potties. There were about 40 potties lined up next to the line, but just outside of the barrier to enter the festival. Only staff and VIPs could enter at this time. At least 2 volunteers were stationed there to re-point people from the obvious bathroom option, to the much less convenient option. Their time could have been better used by creatively re-arranging the temporary fences to put the potties outside of the festival grounds until the doors officially opened.
I get that there may be legal reasons against my witty complaint, but it was entertaining to watch people’s reaction to the news. It’s a festival where Old Crow Medicine Show would sing pro-union songs, and Michael Franti would sing about peace for everyone. But for the hour prior to the festival opening, 99% of the potties were reserved for 1% of the festival attendees. It’s reaching, but it made me laugh (to myself).
The Green River Boxed Set (this is a multiple-page post) Introduction The Bands of Saturday The Bands of Sunday Hula-Hoopers, Hot Air Balloons, and Dancers Parking and Access