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Kings, Braces, and Beer

Walking through the front gates, day two, there’s a pink-cheeked girl with an Asian parasol, talking on a cell phone, attempting to locate her friend. She has braces. She can’t be much older than Flea’s daughter. A gray-haired guy wearing things that look plucked from Tommy Bahama’s specifically for this weekend is standing next to a young dude-ish fellow wearing an orange T-shirt, a parody of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups logo, that reads: Jesus, Sweet Savior, King of Kings.

Later, during Kings of Leon, three more dudes stroll by shirtless, wearing hats they’ve fashioned from the “Please Recycle” bins placed throughout the grounds. While the band works its way through “My Party,” a gaunt man in bat-shaped glasses and gold shorts vibrates to the stuttering bass line, making a counterclaim that this party might be his. Kings of Leon look good on giant screens. They play a festival well and the people out here look gratified in the daylight. Three backpacks nearby each have a single patch stitched into them. One says “Nike,” another has the tribal Red Hot Chili Peppers design, the last a Grateful Dead skull and lightning bolt icon. All three owners of these travel bags are dancing a bit differently than the other, but all to the same song.

As Caleb Followill sings “Ooh, she saw my party” over and over and over again, the crescendo ripples a bit through the thickening masses, a sort of collective revelation that this is indeed a party. As if on cue, at song’s end, someone nearby turns to his friend and says, “Let’s go get some beer.” GREGG LAGAMBINA