20130705-05 Another great festival year came and went, and consistent with every prior year, it just keeps getting better and better. As usual, Nathan and I committed the entire week leading up to the festival to helping prepare for the flood of thousands of people. Our main projects were mostly lighting-focused, and included adding illumination to Dragon Run. Work commenced on Sunday before the festival, as we accomplished a variety of tasks. Weather was a problem all week for the lighting guys, as you might expect. We made some very cool looking lanterns for the entrance of Dragon Run that melted in Thursday’s rain, and we had to quickly assemble the tapestry fixture to hang in its place. It looked decent, but it will be an area of focus for us next year. Rain and humidity also ruined our plaster layer on the Dragon sculpture, so time and finances permitting, Nate and I will have to overhaul it for next year. We brought our own work truck up for the pre-week, so we didn’t have to use any golf carts until festival time, which was a great relief. I bought the red Chevy (affectionately named Roxanne), and she was a real savior all week. I kept her so we can use her next year.

The best part of Heron is getting to see everyone every year, and we had a blast skipping between our campsite and all of the others after the work days were over. We’ve developed quite a family up there, and each year, the whole event seems more like a family reunion than a music festival for us.

The big art project this year was a shadow wall. Using photoluminescent paint and a digitally controlled strobe-light, we created an interactive exhibit where users could stand in front of a wall and have their shadow ‘imprinted’ in the paint for a several minutes. This was my first time playing with micro-controllers, so it was a great learning experience. Our Shadow Wall seemed to be a huge success. We installed a digital counter on the system and counted almost 1000 uses throughout the festival. Next year, we will need to repaint the glow surface (you can tell from the looks of it that we had to paint this year in less-than-ideal conditions), but as long as it remains a semi-permanent fixture on the property, we will install our strobe system for people to play with each year! 20130705-07 By the end of the festival, we were ready to relax a bit and unwind. Though we had quite a compressed schedule that weekend – we actually had to drive home for Skip’s wedding during the day on Saturday. This made for a taxing day, but it was truly one of the most-perfect days of my life. Within a single day, I was able to spend quality time with my best friends, my family, and my Heron homies.

We finished the festival off proper with a good jam session. It started with my keys and some friends outside my camper, but by 6am, we were playing “Tequila Sunrise’ on the Cafe stage while literally passing a bottle of tequila around at sunrise. Now that, my friends, is unforgettable.

20130708-12 What an experience! It’s better every year, because we make new friend, strengthen old friendships, and have new adventures. It’s a big part of my life, and I’m happy to get to share it! mayday13-3