Thursday, October 15, 2015

New rock festival in Quartzsite may not be what you think

Cruising up Interstate 10, a mile west of Quartzsite, we were a bit startled to see a billboard advertising a "Rock Fiesta" slated to come to Quartzsite in March. Now anyone who's been in Quartzsite during the winter season knows that Quartzsite is "all about rocks." From the fantastic "Rock, Mineral, and Gem Show" put on by the QIA, to the any one or more of dozens of rock vendors, if you want rocks, you'll find them in Quartzsite. So, we figured, a new rock selling venue.

Perfectly wrong. 

Come March 18 and 19, this Rock Fiesta is nothing about "a naturally occurring solid aggregate of one or more minerals or mineraloids," and everything to do with, "a genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later." Ready or not, electric guitars a plenty are headed to this so-called quiet little corner of Arizona.

In an event aimed particularly at folks who enjoy Latino-accented Rock music, the existing Desert Gardens Showgrounds, (which is already getting populated with vendors of "naturally occuring solid aggregates of one or more minerals") will give way to this two (or three) day extravaganza that will bring in groups going by names like "Caifanes," "Maldita Vecindad," "Molotov," "PXNDA," "Kinky," and others. Kinky? As an RVer I'm familiar with that word – it happens every time I have to pull out my long water hose and spend a half-hour cussing the thing out when the water won't flow through it.

One of the local papers is praising (puffing?) the event like some tout flu injections every fall. Says Blythe's Palo Verde Times of the fiesta, it is "intended as an annual event providing global promotion for Quartzsite, tax revenue, revenue for contractors and local businesses and providing hope to this small town with the same financial concerns as any American small town. Rock Fiesta is the next jewel in Quartzsite's tourism crown." Sounds like a phrase pulled straight out of a media release.

Who knows. Maybe all the features of this big show will bring in people with bucks. After all, what with saloons, a dance tent, "the world's largest inflatable double water slide," and a "human car wash" (boy, does that ever present some scary mental images), maybe the vast crowd that's to be contained by a 11,000 foot perimeter fence will bring plenty of loot to drop in on the local economy. Whether or not that 11,000 feet of fence will also contain high levels of rock decibels is another thing to wonder about – guess we're just glad we live a couple of miles away. Hang on – is that really far enough?

We posed the question of crowd control and "guest" management to one of the few local Quartzsite police officers. He said that the local police agency will definitely be needing help from other agencies. Meantime, festival organizers say they'll have their own security team, as well as first aid crews, and fire responders.

With tickets on sale now for as low as $99 for the entire weekend, Quartzsite may never be the same.


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