Dark Lord Day 2016 Review

preparing for DLD is in it’s own right both a challenge and a necessity, we have the luxury of weather forecasts (which for DLD have not been the best) but there’s still deciding on what to bring, how much will fit, did I bring enough, did I bring too much, will my backpack fit into a milk crate, will they snag my mead or cider… the wonderment is endless. Leading up to DLD I had started to assemble the backpacks and I realized they needed a personal touch, I mean nothing is more futile than telling someone “look for the guy in the brown backpack” so something more unique was in order… alas Baby Frankenstein on mine and Hanky (the Christmas Poo) on Shelleye’s. It was a novelty to be sure, when we uploaded the pics to the DLD Facebook page they were greeted with a warm reception. Standing in line has ALWAYS been a blast, super friendly peeps, super great pours and so on, this year seamed to be a bit reserved, Always looking for the tables and tents and curbs just blasted with dead soldiers, this year was dare I say, tamed???? Another interesting sidenote (to 2016) was seeing the clean-up crew going at it with the curbside bottles, WHA! those are badges of honor, why are we picking them up… my thought is when the Indiana lawmakers (Gov. Mike Pence) passed the so-called “Dark Lord Day ” law legally allowing bottle sharing, I suspect the agreement was to not leave a trail of “bottle destruction” on any company’s property that was NOT three Floyds.

I’m not going to criticize the bag search, most people wrote it off as a joke, but this falls under the category of “be careful what you wish for” you do NOT want this to become more thorough and therefore slowing down the entrance line even more. We got in, nothing was yanked, I’m good. Shelleye and I noticed the “Main Stage” was now under a tent, that seemed to make sense with the rain, but wasn’t expecting it… as we negotiated heading into the big tent or hoofing it past Dark Matter to the other tent (I’ll refer to these as gravel vs paved tents) we decided to go Paved! We were walking, in the rain, slightly cold, slightly wet and were greeted by a gentleman who approached us with two ceramic Dark Matter Mugs, I can see the espresso steaming from the mug, offering us to take and drink them, WOW! we’re feeling pretty VIP at this moment, He introduces himself as Rob and states he recognized the Franky and the Hanky on our backpacks from the DLD Facebook page and wants us to join his party… This is Unreal, I asked if he had a table, and he replied yes, we followed, met his posse’ and partied with Rob and his pal Alex the entire night. When our Group was due to line up, they said they would watch our bags, when we went to the bathroom, they watched our bags, in fact the only time we put them back on was to go home. We never felt worried, nervous or concerned. Call it being in the right place at the right time or whatever, but these guys made Shelleye and I feel very special, it will be a highlight of ALL of our DLD memories.

The voucher system WILL be part of all future DLD’s and will become more user friendly once we ALL get what’s going on, did you know you can use a voucher for the Hot Sauce?? most people didn’t, so if you came home with wet, torn, scrunched-up vouchers in your pocket, just think, THOSE could have been a bottle of DLD Hot Sauce instead… Some people didn’t even know what they were when bag-check handed them out, but moving forward (and hopefully less soaking) these mini-passports will be welcomed. ALL lines moved faster this year, Entrance to the fest went faster than I remembered, Food lines moved decently and I was REALLY surprised how quick the Dark Lord (plus variant) line moved into and through the brewery building.

Every person at the event is getting 4 bottles of standard DL and everyone is guaranteed a Variant, I know there was some grumbling about this and about the initial cost, but this REALLY is the way to go, I predict this WILL be the modus operandi for every future Dark Lord event. Every 5 pack came in a tyvek tote, and for the 1st time I didn’t see a SINGLE bottle come crashing to the ground in a $25.00 dollar display of glass and brown sugar water… it seemed everyone’s bottles were safe, even in the rain. Some variants were disregarded and considered lesser, I get that, but I also know those were a year old already from 2015. I believe (now that those are gone) next years variants will be fewer (13 was too many) and the margin of what’s considered GREAT and what’s considered a Turd will be shored up and the quality will be more spread out.

Dark Lord Day has its following, and these peeps will come rain or shine, at any cost and from Hundreds of miles to be part of this show, it’s a commune of fans that take over the local restaurants, the local Hotels and the Town of Munster. All friendly, all with common interests and sharing what they have, it could be what they brought or what they bought, they will ALL pour you some in your eager cup., with NO bias or opinion, whether it be plastic or glass.

Some other notes of 2016: the comic book, neat, they wanted something a little more for it being the 20th Year and this was a nice collectible. The paved tent had a DJ set going on, I don’t remember that from past years, Less guest taps than I remember, but MORE Dark Lord and it’s variants were on tap. The usual goody stuff: Glassware, Coffee, Merch, even DLD socks were spotted by Shelleye. On the downside, I question the live music, I LITERALLY questioned it in another forum, here’s what I asked:

What’s your Main Draw at DLD?

1: guest taps

2: planting yer ass at a table and sharing

3: bands

4: scoring the 4 pack

5: oddballs; hot sauce, coffee, glassware

6: social, drinking, people watching, friend

7: other

I had over 30 responses and NOT a single vote that was cast was for number “3” The Bands, maybe this is something that will be looked at in the future??? I know these bands need to get paid, but when you walk by the stage (in the past when it was outside) and you saw 35 dudes standing there, I just wonder if instead of paying 5 bands, what if a major headliner was brought in? It being the 20th anniversary that chance would have already happened I believe.

All in All, we had a Blast, this was the Beta Test for what I believe will be ALL future FFF events, a few bugs here and there, (read about a bit of stealing) but from what I witnessed, this ran very well! I have said it before and I’ll say it again: “Beer Drinkers are the Friendliest People” and we validated that very notion this weekend, Thank you FFF and Indiana for welcoming us!