Hopefully, you’ve all been following along at home as I’ve recapped my adventures at the fourth annual Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh last weekend. 3 nights. 175 bands. 15 venues. Last year, I had a great time, and I had another fantastic weekend this year. However, it was not without a bump in the road.
Or on the head, as it were.
You can read all about how Thursday went for me here.
This is how Friday went.
Finally, you can read about my Saturday here.
As promised, I’m here to elaborate on “the incident”, in which I passed out at Hopscotch.
Last year, I made a mistake of trying too hard to see too many bands. I swore that I wouldn’t try that hard this year. Instead, I actually ended up trying even harder.
On Friday, I had a late and hearty lunch. During that lunch, I had a small glass of beer and a lot of water. I wasn’t even thinking about hydration, but it’s something that just happened by sheer, dumb luck.
I had a handful of beer throughout the night, but I stopped drinking early enough so that I was in perfect shape to drive back to my hotel. I did a lot of walking that night, and I was completely exhausted by the end of it. I stopped on the drive back to the hotel for some disgusting, but fulfilling fast food, and went to bed.
On Saturday, I got out of bed a little later than I was hoping to, and I got downtown a little later than I was hoping to. Before leaving the parking deck, I was careful to apply lots of sunscreen, and I ate an orange. Despite my late start, I didn’t miss anything that I felt like I needed to see. In fact, I arrived just as Torres was playing the first song of her day party set. I drank one beer during her set.
I don’t want to rewrite the entire Saturday recap. These the details that are germane to “the incident”: I ate an orange at about 12:30. I drank one beer at about 1:00 in the afternoon. I ate a hamburger and drank a soda at about 2:30 in the afternoon. I drank another beer at about 5:00 in the afternoon, and another at about 6:00. Those were the only things that I had to eat and drink all day. While it had been close to 90°F on Friday, it was only about 80°F on Saturday, but the sun was shining brightly and I was outside for most of the day. Another important detail is that I and my friend Bill were in the front row of the standing room show. You may know Bill as the guy who pinch-hit for me once last year by writing a post about Hunters & Collectors. Or as the fans of the band say, Hunnas.
During the Breeders set, I was feeling great.
During the Spiritualized set, which started at about 8:45, I was having a good time, but I was starting to feel tired. Achy. I thought I would fight it off and power through it until we could go to the Low set, where we would be sitting down. I started getting a tiny bit nauseous, but again I thought that I would power through it, get some water and sit down. I started to feel woozy, and I finally turned to my friend Bill and told him that I needed to go sit down for a bit. I was trying to judge the quickest way to get out of the crowd.
The next thing I knew, I had a bunch of hands on my face, and I was on my back. For a second, I thought that I was in my hotel bed, having a weird dream. Two or three girls surrounding me, all asking repeatedly “Are you alright? Are you alright?” At the precise moment, I wasn’t clever enough to say “I am now“. It took a few seconds for me to piece together what had happened. According to Bill, I was out for about 30 seconds.
After I got to my feet, Bill and an event security guy helped me to the side of the stage where I could sit.
I was a little bit dazed. This has never happened to me before. For some reason, the first thing I remember doing after I came to was making sure that I still had my earplugs in. Hearing protection doesn’t take a holiday.
My tee shirt was soaked. I had been sweating like a mare at a donkey convention.
I said that I just needed some water and probably some food. The security guy immediately gave me a bottle of water. Bill got me another. And another. And some horrible Chinese food with a Pepsi to wash it down. As soon as I took the first sip of the water, I felt better. A lot better. The Chinese food place, about 20 feet away from us, was fast, but horrible. Bill said that he just got whatever would be quick and that he didn’t care whether I liked it or not. At least I had enough wits about me to say that I also didn’t care whether I liked it or not. I knew that I needed to eat something. I even ate the broccoli.
The security guy and the Raleigh Police officers asked me if I needed medical assistance, which I declined. They asked me and my friend separately if there were drugs or alcohol involved, and the answer was that there were no drugs and that I hadn’t had any alcohol for hours.
Again, I declined medical assistance. Bill told me that I hit my head pretty hard. Hard enough that there was a loud thud. My head wasn’t throbbing, and there wasn’t a bump or anything. There still isn’t. I wasn’t woozy or dazed anymore, so I was sure that I was okay. Just embarrassed. I’m still convinced that the “thud” he heard was one of the many electronic devices that I was carrying in my pockets. Phone, camera, external power bank (about the size of a Samsung Galaxy S4) for recharging devices. Then again, my enormous head is made of concrete, so it could have also been that.
After the combination of water, starches, sugars and proteins were in my system, I was feeling much, much better. And it took almost no time. In the meanwhile, Bill texted our friends to let them know what happened. They came by to check on me, and probably to tease me a bit too.
The event security and the police checked on me a few more times. After asking me a few routine questions to make sure that I wasn’t concussed, and that it wasn’t alcohol-related, and after making sure that I was “okay”, they let us go back into the crowd.
I think something like 15 minutes passed from the moment I hit the ground to the moment we were back out there. Maybe more. Maybe less.
The show was winding down, and some of the people who had been in the area stopped by to check on me. It’s good to know that total strangers can be really good people.
I had been updating my Twitter feed all weekend long, so I naturally updated my feed with “apparently, I just fell the fuck out”, followed by some details about how I was okay. I got a lot of response from that, so it was also good to know that some of my real-life and even my Twitterverse friends were concerned.
Bill told me that there was about a two second gap between when I said that I needed to sit down and me falling like a sack of wet potatoes. He told me that he put his hand on my chest to make sure that I wasn’t dead, but didn’t know what else to do from a medical standpoint. Let’s be honest. Most people have no idea what to do in a situation like that. I was lucky that the event security guy was right there. I was lucky that there was a place to get me to safety just a couple of feet away. And I was lucky that Bill was there. I go to most things as a lone wolf, and it was really nice to have a friend instead of a stranger to shepherd me back to the playing field.
I guess what knocked me out was some combination of exhaustion, dehydration, lack of nourishment. Probably more than anything, the dehydration. I’m normally really smart about staying on top of that. I work in an environment where I’m on my feet all day and the ambient temperatures routinely exceed 100°F all day. I’m always careful to drink plenty of clear water to avoid falling out at work.
If I had taken a pause from the action to get that mac-and-cheese that I promised I was going to get, this probably wouldn’t have happened. If I had taken a pause from the action to buy a bottle of water, this probably wouldn’t have happened. If I had taken a pause from the action to go back to my car and eat another orange, this might not have happened. If I had heeded my body’s warning signals sooner, this wouldn’t have happened. In other words, had I not been an idiot, this wouldn’t have happened.
I hope that there’s been at least a tiny bit of entertainment value to this cautionary tale. While the story ends on a happy note, the harsh reality is that it might not have.
Stay hydrated, my friends.