I have to begin my story of the immersive experience of Aftershock 2015 with a small overview of our arrival and accommodations. I don’t wish to bore anyone with the menial details of the “hurry up and wait” of getting in. Nor did I wish to go into the particulars of setting up and breaking down. If you’ve been camping before, you know all that.
Let’s start by saying there was palpable apprehension amongst our crew as we got into the campsite. Between the search, finding out we would not be able to leave, the hitch with getting Camera Rebel into the campground, we were all pretty tight wound by 12:30pm Friday afternoon. In addition to this, I had never been to an event of this magnitude before, and my excitement and nerves had bundled into a perfect storm of ‘WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!”. In addition to this, Evilerk was a veteran of Aftershock, and he was uncertain as to how the new venue and the new camping upgrade would turn out.
That being said, the camping turned to be exactly what I had expected and wanted. A tent city of the glorious metal community packed like sardines in a can in a field. Tent poles and shade covers crossing the tight borders of campsites as everyone established themselves; no one minding the proverbial bumping of elbows as we invaded the personal space of one another in necessity. One might expect that packing so many “aggressive” metalheads into one place may spell out in disaster or rioting as our excitement to see the powerful music we all know and love boils over. This was not at all the case, however.
Out of every major public gathering I have been too (this being the largest by far) I have never experienced such a spirit of community. We had gathered here from all across the west side of the United States, some from even farther, many of us having never met any of the people around us before. Yet immediately it was as if were all family in a way. The first night there became a festival of loud music being played all around. Folks sharing spirits and food and good humour with all around. I have never felt so comfortable to be around so many complete strangers in my life, but mainly because we didn’t feel like strangers.
Of course, the Honest Brutality crew was graced with exceptional neighbors as well, and I must take a moment to thank them personally. From Crow, Porno Paul, and their friends and family. To the adorable couples that were adjacent to us. To the “real world” neighbors (you know who you are) of Evilerk who traveled with us. To Deathmetal Dave and his rambunctious gaggle of friends and family. You were all truly wonderful people to meet and share space with for those three days. I certainly hope I cross paths with all of you again in our future journeys.
All good things come to an end, sadly. We were faced with the terrifying prospect of leaving this packed field at some point. Yet, that was probably the most painless experience of it all. Unlike those who did not decide to camp and had to leave the final night of Aftershock in the mad rush that accompanies every major festival or event; us campers had the option to trickle out as we pleased. After a cup of coffee, and few bummed cigarettes, and dazed wandering as we packed from our experiences of the previous 48 hours, we were able to slowly drive out of the campground with almost no traffic and continue on our way home.
In conclusion, I am wildly impressed with how well Gibson Ranch and the Aftershock Organization handled this year’s event. The mind boggling logistics of it must have been daunting to say the least. It was not without it hitches, wrinkles, and hiccups of course. Those did little to nothing to take away from the truly wonderful experience the entire thing was. If available in the future, I will certainly be taking any camping upgrade and planning accordingly.
All that being said, I have plenty of more material about this truly massive and all encompassing experience that was Aftershock 2015. Stay tuned for more, Disciples of Brutality \m/