Kim Doyle Wille Photography | Buffalo Chip August 7, 2009 Buckcherry/Red/Hail Night
Visitors 202
Modified 12-Sep-09
Created 9-Sep-09
956 photos

August 7th from "my perspective":

Nature's call woke me early in the morning and on my way up to the bathrooms, I was acutely aware of the beautiful color of the morning and all the fog across the land, wrapping the hills, wishing I had my camera. When I came out and stood on the stairs, overlooking the concert venue and beyond, I knew I had to capture the morning. I did then returned for more, much needed, sleep until woken around 8 a.m. by Scott Bonacci, (poppa wop), Jon Stegall and his girlfriend, Alicia and Scott, all from Denver, arrived and immediately started making noise while setting up their tents/palace. The warm beautiful morning was NO indicator of what was to occur this day.

Our first guest of the day to "leave their mark" was Darwin Brink, the Buffalo Maintenance Director and also the man who built/crafted the HUGE, beautiful Buffalo Chip sign at the turnoff to the Campground. This man did a great job directing his crew and taking care of so much, I would learn before the day was done.

I took some photos of the sculptures, captured our buddy Shack from Porky's talking to our other friend Har-V, the artist/sculptor who crafted the large "Miss Chippie" sculpture and the stones beneath it in the plaza. It seems it was "locals day" at the booth as Jennifer Levine and her s/o came by to leave her spider mark which prompted Shack to leave his and a few others before I finally had to get up to the Media center to do the daily download of photos, where I captured one of the dj's also doing computer work.

When I got back to the booth, Mike Sanborn, Director of Marketing for the Buffalo Chip was leaving his mark as did another couple. Then I headed on a little tour of the plaza to capture images of people that worked in the only places I frequented during my time at the Buffalo Chip. I headed to the store first then off to Porky's to grab my daily meal. While waiting to take some photos of the Mark and the crew there, I turned to see that they were cleaning the floors of the bar above and the dirty water pouring down seemed like it never ended. I managed to get quite a few photos of the crew and my YUMMY plate of food. Thank you Mark!!!

I took some photos at Taco Bell and the bar then back to the booth to photograph one of the Porky's crew leaving his mark and several more people throughout the afternoon. Our friend Brian who should be the MVP of the Buffalo Chip staff, dropped by to say there was weird weather forecast and to proudly show me his fire dancers tatoo. He left and I occupied myself taking more photos of some neat people that came by. They were the last for a while as our friend Chad Stewart from the tatoo booth/bus next door came by to show me the hail that had just hit him. Right about then I thought I heard a siren sound waving in and out but nobody else heard it. We looked around and hail was starting to appear everywhere. Then somebody came on the sound system telling everyone to "run for cover, a major hail storm with 70 mph winds is about to hit us". With that, the skies opened.

The photos you see have many white blurs; the hail being spit at us at high speeds. I kept shooting despite the rain, winds and hail so many photos have blurs. I ended up getting hit in the head and wrist while heading into the tee-pee, where I ended up alone, huddled in a corner, scared to death of the shrapnel propelling toward me from the large hail stones hitting the tops/congruence of the wooden poles at the top and the incredibly deafening sounds and wind that seemed never ending. As you see, I took photos while in there and also shot photos of the scene outside the tee-pee, in the blacksmithing area of the booth. I feel lucky after hearing so many stories, including Vaughn, the blacksmith/artist of our booth, who you can see sitting in the trike at the beginning of the hail sequence. Vaughn and his wife Lori were taking a break and on a drive on/in the "Trike" when the hail started and hit Vaughn hard, in the head and several other places as he tried to get them back to the safety of the booth. He later got hit by a hail stone in the shoulder while trying to hold the tents down. Quite frankly, I was in shock after my experience in the tee-pee, so much so, I regrettably did not remove the leather garments off the bed to higher ground and they were badly damaged by all the water that poured in on them. There was actually a river of water flowing through the tee-pee, our booth and down the slope to the parking lot forming a huge puddle.

As I started coming out of my stupor, I took photos of the grounds, the hail, the damage, the people coming out of shelters and Buffalo Chip staff assessing damages. Pretty soon my friends Kim & Shawn Terry from Basalt, Colorado, drove up on their golf cart and started telling me about all the damage out in the campgrounds and that I "should see it", to which I replied, "well give me a ride!" Kim drove while I did "drive by shootings". It was windy and still spitting rain so the lens had drops on it, which I periodically was able to wipe off.

The damage was incredible as you all witnessed; I was just the only nut out there driving around taking photos of it all! We stopped by the trailer Kim & Shawn had rented and I took photos while they worked to cover all the broken vents, windows, etc. This was only my third journey outside of the concert venue and proved to be the final my tour at the Buffalo Chip. On our way back to the booth, I noticed a pile of hay and thinking back on the photos I had taken of all the water and mud in front of the vendors' booths and inside our own booth, I realized that we should grab hay and another truck of hay as well so we could lay it in the wet areas to provide safety for the concert attendees. It worked. :^)

After getting the hay, I went up to the bathrooms for my nightly round of pre-dark photos and found that the fiberglass roof had numerous holes from the hail in it. As I was taking sunset photos of the venue, I looked down to see hail stones still on the edge of the steps, over 2 hours later. What an incredible evening and memories for all those who survived and made it into the concert venue to partake in the great night of music.


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Kim Doyle Wille