That’s what it was called. I attended the Saturday event of the 2010 U.P. Fair a name reminiscent of the Woodstock event of the 70’s, except people smelled better and kept their shirts on, at least that was the case when I was there in the early hours of 6:00pm. Well actually around 7pm, I spent time outside and tried every isaw stand in sight, and that totaled around 9 sticks, but oh the night was still, young. And the inside of the fairgrounds were still a bit spacey, not a lot of music fans cheering on their favorite bands, no JJ’s…yet, though I did spot a few wandering around. One thing I noticed since my freshman year was the overabundance of two booths: food and henna tattoos. Sure there’s the occasional rides and attractions (ferris wheel, octopus, rock-wall climbing), but you can’t say you’ve been out for a night in the fair without being stuffed or tattooed, at least for some people it is. For me it wasn’t. I was determined to eat as much as I could on a limited budget so I decided to try some of the more unique stalls (speaking of stalls, it seems that I have terrible luck with them; why is it whenever I go around a certain stall for the first time, nobody’s buying anything, but when I get around to buying something from the said stall there’s suddenly a wall of people blocking me?).
Going back to food, I mean I’ve been to Rodics, and I know what a siomai tastes like, but “fried ice cream“? That’s a first for me. I was half expecting something hot and faintly tasting like minola cooking oil but I got something cold and just tasted like regular ice cream. Except rolled in wafers with a spatula over some stove that I suspect was kept freezing with liquid nitrogen, boy the meaning of fried has become so flexible these days. The process was rather simple; I got two scoops of milk powder with water and some flavoring, blended together, poured over that stove like a crepe and like I said before scooped up in to wafers by a pair of spatulas and served in a cup. I asked for strawberry. I got what tasted like chunky vanilla. That was so not worth 35 pesos. By a quarter to 8, I was by the stage watching the opening acts, some of them said they’d go directly to UPLB for the fair happening there, and I thought that was cool and rather tiring at the same time, and I kind’a felt sorry that the crowd was a bit weak with these acts, and some of the bands were really good, especially the homegrown ones. Applause was scarce. They weren’t into these guys, they were waiting for sandwich, itchyworms, pedicab and 6 cycle mind. Or they were just continually distracted by the commercials for Frenzy Condoms showing on the big screens.
I was only able to stay until 9, and that was when the people were starting to crowd in. bands I took notice of were Escape the Cousteau their guitars were easy on the ears, that Datu’s tribe whose lead singer had a distinct teenage Axl-Rose voice about him, and had a good set of songs praising the reubenesque women of society(binibining sexy), Not Applicable was a band that had a really rough nigh-unintelligible aussie accent, Top Junk was a performance of sheer character and wild Gwen Stefani-esque shrieks and vocals, Blue Boy Bites Back was a band that had a cool crooning yet distinctly indie flavor and Tanya Markova… the closest local approximation to the fictional death metal band Detroit Metal City of manga fame that I will likely ever see. Clownish facepaint, leotards, homosexual overtones, and blender-meets-anything that-isn’t-food vocals they were utterly wild…. Those are pretty much the acts that I feel really colored my night. Despite not getting into the fair spirit, and not wanting to be crowded too much, I saw on my way out droves of people coming in to have a good time. Sure the big names were about to take center stage, but really it’s the bands that fly below the mainstream radar that feel ever so fresh and full of ideas and crazy gimmicks that made the night, yeah they didn’t get the just applause they deserve, but they performed to their fullest anyway, to be on stage with professional audio equipment, smoke machines, the works... I’d say that’s at least 60% of what every band ever wants. I don’t listen to music much, in fact the music I listen to is a far cry from what I heard last Saturday, but it made my stay worthwhile. And made me forget about that lackluster ice cream I had.
There was a booth for both the Boto-Patrollers and the Kabataan Partylist looking for new recruits. I was stationed as a volunteer guy at the Kabataan table, and yes we got a few kids to join in, but the message of Youthstock: Rock, Role, Rights was completely overshadowed by Rock. It seems on a Saturday night the last thing on a kid’s mind is politics.