Fans enjoying Lights Resolve Saturday afternoon at DeLuna Fest. / Kira Lynn Ramos/GoPensacola.com
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The front-row spot is a hard-earned prize that only a select few acquire at each festival.
The most die-hard fans of a band (usually the headliner that puts on the day's last show) get through the festival's gate early and immediately run to the barrier that separates crowd and stage. They stay there for hours, often sending their patient friends to get them food and drinks.
The closer you are to the stage, the better the feeling. The show is that much more intimate, that much more exciting and visually stimulating. Seeing a show that can project over 40,000 people while you are just a few feet away verges on sensory overload.
At DeLuna Fest, a person able to dole out $850 for a VIP pass can walk in front of that fan in the front row a few minutes before a set begins, effectively reducing their hard-earned front-row spot to one that is several rows deep.
It's not a bad view from behind the VIP area, mind you, but it isn't the front row.
That just seems unfair.
OK, OK, this may be a very idealistic way of looking at concerts. This weekend, I am the festivalgoer who tries to catch as many sets as possible, moving from stage to stage. I don't try very hard to get close (in fact, I watched Foo Fighters, Band of Horses and Joan Jett from way far back, and they all still sounded great).
I want to see the stage, and I do, but I can rarely make out the whites of a performer's eyes.
I have waited, though. In 2006, I camped out for hours at the front of the stage at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago in 2006 in order to catch Mission of Burma's set. These are memories I will never, ever forget. My hard work paid off, and I walked away with a copy of the band's setlist.
There was no VIP area at that festival. The only thing standing between me and the band was about five feet between the barricade and the stage, put there so photographers can do their work.
Late Friday night, I met several people while waiting in line for the trolley to take them back to Pensacola. They said they arrived at the DeLuna Stage early and stayed there to get a good spot for Pearl Jam.
One said they caught Mike McCready's pick, but another told me the tambourines that Eddie Vedder threw into the crowd during the last few songs were mostly landing in the VIP area.
Those tambourines should have ended up in the hands of those who waited all day to see Pearl Jam. They were robbed, and it's truly a shame.
Die-hard fans get to the show early and snag a prime spot for their favorite band, wait for hours, while others stroll up to the VIP area with no time to spare.
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