What is Best Friends Day? Tyler Spindle, a 23-year-old Richmonder might have summed it up best.
“I just ate a hot dog, washed it down with a beer, and now I’m gonna go swimming…. I haven’t waited an hour.”
A crowd of over 3400 people swarmed to Hadad’s Lake this past Saturday for Best Friends Day 9, a local event that stretched over four days. Celebrating music, the sun, and life. Filled with loud music and events, its also a chance to reconnect with old friends.
The four day event started with a concert Thursday night at the Bike Lot, a secret spot in the south side of Richmond. Friday night, the Canal Club played host to another rousing night of music and fun. Municipal Waste and Propaghandi, legends in their own right, were joined by Andrew WK of “Party Hard” fame. WK spoke with WRIR news after his electric performance.
“On a night like this, you bow down in gratitude to the folks that made it happen”
W.K.’s unique solo performance, just him with a keyboard, shirt covered in what had to be blood, was only topped by the bizarre stream of consciousness he entered during our interview. Local magazine Born Ugly’s titled WK the “Mayor of Party” but he stayed humble.
“The party that I generated was already being generated by all the groups participating in Best Friends Day 9. This was the 9th time they held the event, and it started yesterday, so there was already a lot of momentum, a lot of inertia, a lot of unstoppable force that I got to benefit from.”
And the momentum from Friday carried over nicely into Saturday. With a clear blue sky, 3 pools, and a man made lake, Hadad’s was awash with Best Friends. This was the first year the event had 2 stages, creating a steady stream of music through out the day.
Brittney Couch, a student at VCU, had heard about Best Friends day, but this year was her first pilgrimage to the event. In the spirit of the event, her friend Mary Jenkins came down from Fredericksburg to join her in the festivities. They were happy to be there to say the least.
“Its what everyone said it would be! We’re stupid jerks, we’re dumb, for missing it all those other years! – I can’t believe this is my first one!”
“I’ve heard about it for the past 2 years, people were always like “You going!” and I would say “no… I can’t go…. For some reason.” But now that I’m finally here, its everything I hoped it would be… and more.”
Some folks just floated in the water, others jumped on the mid-pool trampoline, or flung one another off of the giant blob-like floatie. Some preferred the high intensity of the rope swing, but everyone seemed to let their cares slip away for one sunny afternoon in August.
Randy Blythe, Lead singer for the Richmond Based band Lamb of God was in attendance. This was his 5th Best Friends day. When I recognized Blythe, he was taking pictures of the event to send to his mom because he was having trouble explaining the scene. He tried to explain it to me the best he could.
“Yea know its got a really good vibe, you don’t see fights you don’t see people bumming out. More than likely if someone comes up to you and says “HEY!” there gonna be like “you wanna beer?” or something cool like that. So yea know, its just a real cool vibe and it’s a good chance for people to come and see what Richmond’s all about, how we do it.”
Snack Snackerson was particularly excited about the music at the festivities. He respected the organizers for looking both locally and nationally for musical acts.
“I feel like it’s a really good mix of local bands which is really good to the Richmond Music scene and big national acts like Andrew WK and Propaghandi.”
NO BS Brass Band was a high light of the day. After a high energy set, the band attempted to lead, as Ward Tafft, one of the event’s organizers and owner of Chop Suey Books, put it:
“The North American ‘Worlds Longest conga Line’”
The band made their way through Hadad’s, instruments in hand, with hundreds of folks dancing in tow.
This was the 3rd year NO BS played Best Friends Day; they said it was the high energy event creates their favorite crowd.
“Freak upon Freak upon freak, upon freak. Its like 10th generation of Freaks all fuck’n going crazy… its wild man, everyone comes out and they’re ready to hang and have a good time. Worries are left behind. Swimming, music, its all good…. It’s one of the most giving audiences you can play for.”
Best Friends day has come and gone, but memories of music and hangovers will last in the minds of thousands. And soon rumblings of what’s in store for Best Friend’s Day 10 will get Richmonders psyched up to do it all over again next August.