It was a serene and sunny Saturday at Waterfront Park, where droves of friendly, free-spirited folks swayed in unison to the hypnotic sounds of folk tunes. But what started as an afternoon of peace, love and understanding at the annual Mighty Kindness Hootenanny ended in chaos, hate and anarchy when one person’s angry outburst sparked a chain reaction of vitriol among the crowd.
The madness began when a member of the Troubadours of Divine Bliss — a musical duo of typically super-chill hippie chicks — broke a string on her acoustic guitar while performing. Rather than go with the flow as usual, the performer totally lost it, smashing her beat-up Martin and screaming, “I am so over this shit! I’m tired of being nice and upbeat. I’m pissed!”
The long-overdue burst of anger was contagious, as her fellow Troubadour proceeded to stomp on her accordion while proclaiming, “I can’t stand this stupid instrument! What am I, an 80-year-old Polish man?”
And from there, the once mellow crowd collectively went ape-shit: Several attendees torched their hemp-bound journals. Girls in patchwork skirts and halter-tops launched hula-hoops like boomerangs. One guy beat an innocent bystander with his devil sticks. Barefoot entrepreneurs at a nearby incense booth managed to weaponize patchouli oil, which they flung in the faces of passersby.
“Dude, it was all kind of surreal,” says Autumn Joplin, breaking down into tears as she recalls one particularly horrifying encounter. The longtime vegan says she was making her way to safety when one of the local food purveyors began chucking pieces of organic chicken, one of which hit her in the face. “It was so upsetting that I couldn’t help but fly into a rage myself. I’m ashamed to admit I beat the crap out of some girl selling grass-fed burgers, just because.”
Dozens of attendees were injured in the melee. Matt Francis was among the wounded.
“The only reason I went to this stupid festival was to impress my new girlfriend; she’s all into the environment and peace and helping people,” says Francis, who sustained a black eye due to a hacky-sack-turned-projectile. “I thought these people were supposed to be peaceful. I admit I’m pretty cranky and cynical most of the time, but I’m apparently a lot less fucked up than these assholes.”
In the wake of the violence, the Troubadours of Divine Bliss issued a joint statement: “We are truly sorry for the uncharacteristic negativity we unleashed during last weekend’s Hootenanny. Things got a little heavy, and for that, we are sorry. Next weekend, let’s all gather at Waterfront Park for a group hug to help us heal.”
Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad admits security was lax the last time this group congregated. “We won’t let the name of the event fool us again — ‘Mighty Kindness’ my ass. This time, we’ve got the riot gear ready.”
*This story is part of LEO’s Fake Issue.