Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Next Counterculture Music Fest

Wisdom Quarterly
Beavis and Butthead couch rocking (

Los Angeles is an amazing place to be, especially if you're from the Midwest. Standing facing north on this cloudy/foggy Earth Day weekend, there is a choice to be made. To the left, towards the Pacific sea, an enormous hippie fest is going on (Topanga) in the lush hills above Malibu.

To the right, towards the desert wastes, a much larger heavy metal haven is convening (The Big Four) on the flattened lawn of the Empire Polo Club field, the site of last week's Coachella festival.

Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, and some hokey opening act will whip the crowds into a slamming (moshing) frenzy, united by Hang Ten horns, and self-destructive drug abuse.

Big 4 Festival (OCweekly's Heard Mentality)

Maybe we're alone, but as American Buddhists we like both. Why? Both are counterculture. Both go against the stream, one in a angry way, another in a sustainable way. Yet both seem to say: The world is wrong. Religion is wrong. Consumer capitalism is wrong. Modern hippies are no hipper to these truths than death rockers -- if they stay sober and think it through.

Acoustic folk and tribal rhythms will pacify the pods of peaceniks discussing dolphin adventures and butterfly metaphors, united by Peace Sign pokers, and healing drug abuse.

The coast is closer than the desert and far less expensive, although with traffic being what it is in the City of Angels, it might take the same time behind the wheel to get to either from ground zero, the Bonaventure skyscraper of Los Angeles.

There's more chance that outdoor Buddhist meditation is going on in honor of the Mother Goddess, the divine feminine (Kwan Yin, Tara, God's wife Asherah, Inana, Diana, Mother Mariam, Esther or Easter's namesake). So west we go, laughing along the way to here NPR advertising a death metal fest and making no mention of the annual Earth consciousness-raising that is Topanga.

Stagecoach 2011: Pop, rock, then country -- Empire Polo Club