Rocklahoma: A Retrospective

It’s been a full week since Rocklahoma, and I’m still in recovery mode. It’s not because I’m getting too old to rock (it’s not!). It’s because, despite being the biggest party of the year, Rocklahoma is a lot of work.
And a big party it was, indeed! Preliminary numbers suggest over 70,000 people attended the 10th anniversary this year, and I can certainly attest that it felt like that many. People were everywhere.
People were everywhere, and from everywhere. Oklahomans made up the largest chunk of attendees, but I saw tags from at least ten other states and heard tell of others that came from as far away as Australia! Best of all, everyone I spoke to that stayed in or passed through Claremore had nothing but great things to say about our town.
juliejonesI sported my moreClaremore tank top at Rocklahoma, bringing all of you with me in spirit and showing my Claremore pride. I felt ridiculously overdressed. Every year is a spectacle, but this year felt extra crazy. I don’t know if it’s because it was the 10th anniversary, or if it was because the weather last year was so horrible and this year so perfect. Either way, the costumes came out.
I saw everything from a murderous-looking clown, to dudes in ballerina tutus, to a guy in a full business suit. The suit had dozens of flaming skulls on it, but a suit nevertheless. There was a trio dressed as Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire cat. There were zombies galore. And then there was the fellow I dubbed “Leather Banana Hammock.” I rather wanted to bleach my eyeballs, so I won’t elaborate. Your imagination can fill in those blanks. You’re welcome.
rock1That much public interaction is exhausting. There’s the spectacle to see, and the spectacle to be. We are in a bit of a fishbowl at our camp site; people stream by and cheer us on while we play Giant Jenga. Or they amble past, sniffing the air in jealousy at the delicious smell of smoked ribs. They ask where our friends got their zombie flamingos (Amazon, by the way). And they want beads. SO many beads!
Did you know there’s a guy that goes every year, and you can pay to throw eggs at him? The Egg Man. Two eggs for $5. I don’t know what it’s like to have an egg whipped at me, but I do know what eggs cost at the store and Egg Man has an impressive profit margin. He also had a pretty red belly when I last saw him.
I have to do a lot of mental preparation for Rocklahoma. I’m a bit of an ambivert, which is just a fancy way of saying I’m an introvert who enjoys people. I spend the week before psyching myself up for it, making lists of all sorts, grocery and supply shopping, and gathering what we will need. Then there’s the chore of finding child care and getting the kids dropped off. Then there’s packing up the car and the patience required to actually get into the dang venue on Friday, with every other rock fan in the tri-state area. Finally we arrive and only have the unpacking and settling in to do. Usually by then, I need a frosty adult beverage.
Like I said, it’s a lot of work.
But this year felt like the easiest time ever. I think it’s because the kids are getting older, and we’re experienced attendees now. We were really on our game this year, ready ahead of time, not nearly as rushed, much more able to relax. As a result, we had so much more fun! I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the 70,000 other rockers had a great time, too. Leather Banana Hammock was certainly comfortable and having fun.
Well done, Rocklahoma! I could talk for days about the fantastic time we had and the crazy things we saw and did. I managed to get a crowd surfer dropped on my head and one of the third-stage band guys showed up at our camp trying to bum booze. And I would be supremely disappointed if it had been any less intense. Until next year, rock on friends!

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  1. Its all about the party! I have volunteered thru the Pryor Chamber for about 10 years and even in the Corporate tent where I “work” folks are all about the fun..Only 321 more days!!

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