As a 7-year vegetarian, the thought of attending Ribfest Chicago never crossed my mind. After working the XRT tent at the festival twice this weekend, I must say that Ribfest has plenty to offer, regardless of one’s dietary habits. (Although I did receive a few glares and remarks of disbelief while walking through the crowds carrying a slice of pizza at Ribfest.)
The XRT tent brought in a variety of festival-goers. The unmissable green and blue tent donning XRT’s logo inevitably attracted the loyal listeners who would unfailingly tell us that they had been listening to the station since before we were born – perhaps for even longer than the number of years of all of the interns’ ages combined. From the few festivals I have worked at this summer, I can already tell that XRT listeners are genuine, and they will go out of their way to talk about the station and to tell us how much it means to them. One woman told us that she had just recently moved back to Chicago after being away for years, and the one thing she truly missed was XRT. She was happy to discover that after all these years, she could still tune into the station and hear the same DJs and the high quality of music that XRT lays claim to. The tent had visitors of all ages and music tastes. At one point, a very sleepy puppy named Mia was too exhausted to walk even a step further, so she situated herself conveniently in front of the XRT tent and fell asleep.
This gave us a chance to talk to Mia’s owner, one of many opportunities to get to know XRT’s fans during the festival. Most seemed excited about the giveaways – the ultimate package to Lollapalooza and a viewing of the Air and Water Show from John Hancock observatory. I can easily picture many of the Ribfest attendees in a setting such as Lollapalooza – people did, after all, come to enjoy both food and music.
Guests gathered towards the stage on Sunday night to listen to a set by Heartless Bastards, who closed out the festival. The other interns and I were still at the XRT tent when “Parted Ways” marked the beginning of their set. This is a song that I heard for the first time (no surprise) on XRT. The harmony of good food and good music is a specialty of Chicago, in my opinion, and after this weekend, I can see why XRT is represented at Ribfest.
Story by: Neha Nair / WXRT Summer Intern