Summer is certainly festival time throughout Indiana. We have had festivals celebrating blueberries, bing cherries, Ozians, popcorn, pierogies, and historical events. Many churches hold fundraiser festivals during the summer months. People come for the rides, the food, the art fairs and, basically, just to have fun.
I was sitting with a group of bizarre and funny friends one evening as they were discussing festivals they had attended over the years. As the evening wore on, they started coming up with ideas for new festival themes that hadn't been tried yet.
My favorite was "Depressed Fest." This festival would be for people who truly don't want to have a good time. This would open the door to marketing to an entire untapped percentage of the population who, as a general rule, don't attend existing festivals.
The logo would be a giant "UNsmiley" round yellow face. These frowney face buttons would replace wrist bands at the entrance. Instead of bright colors everywhere, basic black bunting and large mechanical ravens crying out "Nevermore" would be hung on lamp posts.
As far as musical entertainment, there's a slew of very sad and depressing country music songs that could be performed by grim entertainers. They wouldn't expect a lot of applause, but be satisfied just to hear their audience sigh audibly. For the more energetic, one could grab a partner and sway to the music at the "Poe's Dance of the Red Death" bandstand.
Instead of fun treats like funnel cakes, one could buy a cup of "Oliver's gruel" with the stipulation that you never ask "for more." For the truly hungry, one could buy a generous "Sylvia Plath Plate" which would naturally be served under a bell jar.
As far as rides go, there would still be a need for a carousel at Depressed Fest, if only to remind riders that symbolically their lives are just going round in circles and getting nowhere fast. Or there could be those little festival cars that just sway back and forth. Imagine an expressionless barker grumbling softly, "Come one, come all. Fifty cents to ride the ever popular 'mood swings'."
There could be audience participation games, such as "Guess the Side Effects." Contestants would select a popular anti-depressant and guess which side effects go along with it. If you've ever really listened to those TV drug commercials, you'll notice that 90 percent of the commercial is given over to all the side effects that can occur if you take their happy pills. The list is enough to depress anyone.
Instead of having a lively gypsy fortuneteller, one could sit alone at a tiny booth with a somber personal therapist who would listen to your problems.
Depressed Fest would be a quiet event. There wouldn't be a lot of raucous laughter. Attendees would have a tendency to be introspective and keep to themselves.
I doubt Depressed Fest would become a popular annual event. For, as I imagine it, the banner across the exit would simply read "What's the point?"