One of my good friends treats Pickathon like a vacation. She saves up for a ticket, camps out, takes the weekend off from work and social obligations. It's an attitude I try to cultivate as well, and it means trying to enjoy the entire festival experience, rather than just scurrying from one hot-ticket band to the next.
And so this year my favorite moments at Pickathon weren't when I was packed into the Woods stage watching Andrew Bird (too crowded by half; that many fucked-up people in the dark is beyond unnerving) or taking in a headlining set from Feist. I enjoyed myself the most sitting in a chair in the morning with coffee that was too hot for my dumb reusable cup, reading David Gilbert's great new book & Sons and half-listening to Shinyribs. And hearing Sharon Van Etton joke around with the crowd between her songs, and hanging out with my boyfriend and stuffing my face with fried chicken from Boke Bowl while Kurt Vile played a nighttime set.
And I really, really liked Dan Boeckner's bangs. (The Divine Fits were great, but those bangs... those bangs were hypnotizing..)
I also enjoyed Pickathon's tiny entrepreneurs, all the kids busking and drawing portraits for a dollar and spritzing me with water when I walked by, like tiny monkey-servants. (By which I mean, I enjoyed not giving them any money, because it's not *my* job to over-inflate the the self-esteem of the next generation. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go tell my cat how handsome he looks today.)
The festival is comfortable enough that it's possible to actually enjoy a full day there. Good food, shade, free water, plenty of places to sit and relax. After treating it like a mini-vacation from regular life, I feel legitimately recharged—something to think about next year when you're weighing whether it's worth shelling out for a ticket.