Surviving Roots, part 1:

Spintalk Roots 1

A story about wet shoes, poor dietary choices, sleep deprivation, dehydration, ancient camping equipment, and persevering against all possible odds.

FOREWORD We asked one of our Street Team Members to recount his experience at Return To Roots Gathering July 28- 31. Satirical, funny, fluffy, light, personal, and honest, here is Micheal's story. - Kelsey, President

(Medford, NJ) Being a first timer to Roots, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had come from the tame, Midwestern music festival scene of grass roots ideology, lively folk music, and eccentric hippies. Since moving out to the coast, though, I’d found everything to be bigger and a lot more fast paced: the traffic is fast (except when it’s rush hour), the people are faster, (“excuse miss can you tell me the—and there she goes…”), the potholes are bigger (you could plant a garden in them), and you can only buy a single beer or a pack of thirty or more (seriously what’s up with that?).

this juxtaposition of sunshine and hailstorms would set the dynamic for the rest of the weekend.

I was pleasantly surprised then, when I pulled into Indian Acres Tree Farm, nestled in a quaint little section of the provincial New Jersey countryside. I was greeted by a friendly staff who helped me register, showed me where to park, and pointed me in the general direction of camp. It all became considerably less quaint when I discovered the twenty-plus minute walk through mud, standing water, and quicksand-like sludge that threatened to pull me in and swallow me whole, all before I ever even made it to my campsite. In many ways, this juxtaposition of sunshine and hailstorms would set the dynamic for the rest of the weekend.

“If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.”

I think it’s important to pause at this point and discuss a very fundamental tenant of the universe: Murphy’s Law. Stated simply Murphy’s Law tells us that, “If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.” I first came to this understanding in early childhood when I watched a slice of peanut butter toast rocket through the air, spinning end over end and eventually, and quite miraculously, landing on the floor butter side up. It was then that I understood that this was one of so many happy endings that would never transpire again. Sadly, Return to Roots did not share the same happy fate as that the mythical toast of childhood legend. 

“the day the music died.”

Before our story of savage survival and braving the elements continues, I have to backtrack and explain the circumstances leading up to Roots. About a week before the event, the City of Medford, for reasons unknown, passed a noise ordinance banning the use of amplified music. For a music festival, this is much similar to being asked to run a marathon on skis without any legs. This was, as Don McClean once put it, "the day the music died."


Michael Krueger | @cheaptrickz | Philadelphia, PA

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