Sundance Base Camp
by katie eldridge
It’s gotten to the point where I look forward to camping out overnight for Sundance tickets. Yes, there are a few dozen of us whackos who show up some 12 hours in advance to get first pick of the flicks. Some folks are paid by others to do this deed, and some people are truly into seeing the screenings. I do it for the money, the movies and the madness.
Walking into the Gateway Center last weekend, I knew I’d see the usual suspects:
Tim and Karen Collins dressed in their hunting fatigues, “the list master” and his 16-year-old son, Destiny the die-hard festival fanatic, and at least five drunk guys in their 30’s pretending they could throw down without throwing up.
No, this was not an REI closeout sale or a push to the summit of Everest. Instead, this was a group of Sundance veterans who were prepared for the worst. That translates to propane heaters, 4-season tents, army cots and Camelbacks filled with who-knows-what.
There was a strong crew of overnighters who knew the routine. Ticket buyers sign a list as they arrive, memorize their order number, and then hunker down for a long night. Blessed by the heat of the Gateway Center and the booze of Renee’s—this time around was a smooth operation. The fifty-or-so folks who were in for the long haul were only kicked outside for four hours. This is nothing compared to the grueling outdoor experience of years past.
By 6 a.m. the masses were huddled inside the foyer once again. Some with hangovers, others still drinking Olympia beer. Those who arrived in the early morning hours shot us looks of disbelief when they found out how long we had been waiting. They can think we’re nuts, and perhaps we are. As we left with our orange Sundance tickets and cash in hand, there were smiles and laughs. We had just survived another crazy night and have already admitted we’ll be back again next year.