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The things they carried with them, left behind

On Sunday morning, thousands of Sonshiners weary from three sleep-deprived nights packed up and headed home. Most took with them more than they came with. What were once bare white t-shirts were now covered in autographs, cell phones and Facebook...

On Sunday morning, thousands of Sonshiners weary from three sleep-deprived nights packed up and headed home.

Most took with them more than they came with.

What were once bare white t-shirts were now covered in autographs, cell phones and Facebook profiles had a few new contacts, and some, perhaps, took away a few bruises from the mosh pits.

Aaron Jones brought back a guitar covered in autographs.

On Saturday he was waiting in line to get it signed by members of the band Hearts of Saints. At that point, there was little space to add on any more.

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"I'm trying to get as many as I can," said Jones, who was at his first Sonshine Festival.

Natalie Pitts wore back a Converse shoe covered in autographs from members of Wednesday night's headlining act Switchfoot. She also brought back a good story about her conversation with one of the band members.

"We talked about Converse," she said. "It was pretty cool."

Rachel Toren of Bird Island brought away something a bit more intangible: some new friends. On Saturday, she squeezed in on an old couch in Tent City with Luke Goepfert of Howard and brothers Zach and Matt Horman of Cloquet.

Their familiar banter as they sat scrunched together was like that of old friends, but they had just met the day before.

One of those new friends, Goepfert, was happy about one thing that he won't be taking back this year.

He pointed to a mark below his left eye where he had gotten 14 stitches - a battle scar from the mosh pits of the 2008 festival. "For me, it went a lot better this year," he said.

"But you didn't even go to the mosh pit this year," quipped Zach Horman.

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By the looks of things on Sunday morning, there was also plenty left behind.

Jenny Parrish and Mandy Brandt, both coordinators for TreeHouse, a program for at-risk youth in the Twin Cities, were picking up bits of trash left behind by the thousands of visitors and the accompanying high winds throughout the week.

Later on, Arturo Becerra and a few others were scanning the grounds with metal detectors, hoping to find lost coins, rings, or other valuables.

Beside the a group of overflowing dumpsters were piles of old second hand couches, deflated air mattresses, and a broken box spring mattress with a sign that read "free."

Most of those, said festival co-founder Bob Poe, "will get crushed in the trucks and hauled out of here."

Poe said cleanup from the festival usually only takes about two days. He said they were on track to get the grounds back to their original state by tomorrow.

Overall, Poe said this year's festival had been a success. The only negative in his view was the weather.

"But then, a lot of people said it didn't bother them," he said.

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It certainly didn't bother head of security Jeff Quiggle, who said cooler weather generally makes for less rowdy behavior at the festival.

"We've had bigger crowds, but a lot fewer incidents," he said.

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