Notable economist and Youngstown State University professor Albert "Juice" Sumell once stated "there is a supply and demand for everything in this world, even people. The supply of you is one. The demand for you could be less than one, if you're a loser." That possible insult was wrapped in a conventional truth, that there isn't anything tangible or intangible, that doesn't have a supply and demand. I think we all understand this idea, but sometimes the supply and demand of something is related to its limited availability, say oil, and other times it can be manufactured, for example baseball cards. My story today revolves around the latter, manufactured supply and demand.
For the 4th time in 5 years, I attended the Newport Folk Festival this summer. We were rookies the first time we attended the festival back in 2008, not fully understanding the fantastic culture that is very unique to the Newport Folk Festival. We enjoyed ourselves so much, that we bought posters to commemorate our experience. The poster that year was nothing special, very college dorm room, but to us it represented an epic memory. Just seeing that poster hanging in my house brings back memories of watching She & Him perform on the Harbor Stage while it poured outside. And that year, not only was a tradition of annually going to festival born (we skipped one year due to pregnancy) but so was born the tradition to start a collection of posters to adorn the walls of my house.The following years, the posters were fantastic, and you could tell that they were evolving more into limited edition art (much like the New Orleans Jazz Festival posters) and less like the one we purchased in 2008. That coupled with the increasing demand of posters, made them hot commodities at each of the last few festivals. And to be honest, I was okay with that. As long as I got one.
This year, I did not. I was so excited for this year's poster, because it was not only tradition at this point but it was by far the coolest one I had ever seen. So, despite corralling 6 people, including my 3 year old son and my 3 year old niece, I was still able to get to the festival at 11:15 on Saturday, only an hour after the gates opened. I walked through the entrance, smiling ear to ear (because its the happiest place on earth) and poster tube in hand only to see an enormous line at the merchandise tent and only to hear my son telling me had to go to the bathroom. And by the time I put my stuff down, headed to the porta-potty's, and made my way back to the line, like Keyser Soze, they were gone.
I'm sure this all sounds like sour grapes, and maybe it is, but I am just having a very hard time (still, almost 3 weeks later!!) dealing with the fact that only 250 people of a record 10,000 were able to get posters for this event. That means, even the first person to get to the festival on Sunday had zero chance of grabbing one. At this point I've tried everything, from contacting the artist/company to reaching the 8+ thousand people that follow newportfolkfest and newportnow on twitter. Hell, I even tried contacting Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Clearly, I am losing my mind. But, the quest is over and I've given up.
My blog partner Keith (who luckily got a poster, the bastard) and I recently exchanged stories about losing wallets and having them turn up years later, with the moral being sometimes what you're looking for eludes you until you aren't looking for it. But after the last week of searching, I think the moral is that it's easier to find a lost wallet than a poster for the Newport Folk Festival.