Here’s Mud In Your Eye – Or On Your Feet in This Case

Here’s Mud In Your Eye – Or On Your Feet in This Case

“Here’s mud in your eye”– a cliché noting a toasting of beverages and with biblical connotations “Your name is Mudd – a metaphor of disgracing yourself and hence your name,” allegedly after Dr. Mudd who set John Wilkes’ Booth broken leg after the assassination of Lincoln.

Now you can add “Here’s mud on your feet.”  And between your toes and other body places the general public does not want to know about.

Of course you can only talk about recent mud on your feet if you attended Austin’s ACL Festival and were not in one of the recent South Pacific tsunamis. The ACL Festival is a large music festival with ACL referring to Austin City Limits and not an festival of people with knee injuries.

It is ironic that I live in the self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World. The last live concert I attended was The Grateful Dead in Mountain View, California in some year.  Deadheads recognize the significance of the Mountain View venue and are saying a dreamy, nostalgic, “Wow. Dude. Cool.” The same Deadheads also know if you can remember when you saw The Grateful Dead, you probably weren’t really there.

However, I do know that it has been many years since I have attended a live, outdoor concert.  It is not about the music.  I just do not want to share the experience with the unwashed masses. I do not care if the couple dancing in front of me is my attorney and his wife and the couple chilling out in back is my doctor and her husband.  Human packed concerts, sitting on a blanket on hard ground, drinking ten dollar beers eyeing far away tin cans for collecting bodily wastes scare me.

So I take little interest in the ACL Festival held in Austin other than what is in the media about it. Aside from the 130+ bands, representing almost every genre of music, the 65,000+ attendees/per day, (that would be the unwashed and unknown masses) and of course the millions of dollars it brings to the city of Austin, it is Mother Nature who provides the most excitement to the Festival.

September usually brings a break in temperatures for Austin.  Historically the humidity levels decrease and the temperature highs average a relatively pleasant 88 degrees. Since the first ACL Fest eight years ago the temperature average high has been 97 with a cool 90 degrees in 2006. Low Humidity only refers to a band about to take a stage so conditions are hot and sticky temperatures.

The ACL Fest of 2005 not only brought a temperature of 108 degrees, it brought the reenactment of the Dust Bowl as the grounds turned to dust as the winds picked up. Participants were seen, at least the ones you could see in the wall cloud of dust, singing along to their favorite tunes from behind the bandanas covering their mouths.

ACL worked with the City of Austin to install a massive irrigation system for the grounds in Zilker Park to eliminate dust concerns during the Festival. But Festival organizers did not want to move the Festival to October due to conflicts with hotel room availability on UT football weekends, increased chance of rain, and the reduced chance of booking bands on summer tour.

However, in 2009 organizers did move the Festival to the first week in October. And it rained. And rained and rained. Granted, given the drought Central Texas is experiencing, no one was really complaining about the rain.  But the three days of gentle, but near constant rain turned the grounds of the ACL Fest into a mud pit.  And not just any old mud pit, but an environmentally designed mud pit.

At first glance slip, sliding in the mud and having a good time looks fun. Granted, I would have to be 40 years younger and drunk, but it did bring a wistful smile. But shortly after photographs of mud covered concert goers appeared in stories across the state, it was announced that the mud covering the grounds of Zilker Park is Dillo Dirt – Austin’s trademarked COMPOST!!! It is made up of “All yard trimmings collected curbside across the city, as well as some of our treated sewage sludge, are combined and composted to create Dillo Dirt.” The people said the grounds literally smelled like being in a muddy cow pasture.  A great big pasture.

So  “Here’s to mud on your feet.” And between your toes and other places the general public does not want to know about.  But don’t worry according to the city there are no health dangers. The Dillo Dirt website says “Dillo DirtTM easily meets all Texas and EPA requirements for “unrestricted” use, which even includes vegetable gardens.” So do not be concerned that the mud you wallowed in was composted with treated sewage.  I am sure that rash on your arms and legs and those other places will go away soon.

When is next year’s festival? The second weekend in October.  Bring your waders and mud boots. Tickets are on sale now.

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