The 2009 DC 101 Chili Cook-Off was three parts exhilarating, two parts excitement, and all extreme. It was the first rock concert I had ever attended, which at 25 was really embarrassing, but I played clarinet as a kid and there are no good clarinet solos in Limp Bizkit songs. What I enjoyed the most of this event was the atmosphere, the people, and the bands.
This was the first version of the DC 101 Chili Cook-Off held at RFK Stadium. The nostalgia factor was amped to 11 as my best friend and I exited the Metro and walked toward the hallowed field. My expectation was that the bands would play on the field, legions of fans would sing along to their hit singles, and concessions would be available as they normally would during a Redskins game. My expectations were defied and defeated we walked through turn-styles and into the RFK parking lot, where tens thousands of music lovers squished like sardines towards the stage. There were a couple hundred people doing a chili cook-off, but it was a concert. I was there for the music and to learn the culture.
Concertgoers are some of the most amazing people you can have the fortune of hanging around. Whether it’s the casual follower or the die-hard fan, putting these people together is like putting dynamite and a party in a blender. There may be some casualties, but most people will have a great time and a lot of people will have great memories. My fondest memory occurred near the end of the show. During the final act, I looked at my friend and wondered if we were going to make it anywhere close to the stage. The gods of alternative rock smiled upon us as we were forcibly pushed by a wave of people who took us on a journey to get to the feet of Dexter Holland. The gods of alternative rock are loving, but not without trial.
I was very fortunate to have, at this one concert, four of my favorite bands performing in one centralized space. Again, the closest thing I had ever done to rocking out was turning pots and pans into drums. My friend and I got there just in time to see the tail end of Papa Roach, who was kindly returning lost women’s clothing. We then witnessed the electricity of Puddle of Mudd, a band that really played to the crowd as we steadily got more dehydrated. Third Eye Blind came on stage, performed “Semi-Charmed Life” and moved on to then-new ballads of love. After a brief bout of crowd-killing rain, we saw the raw talent of Offspring, who can put on an amazing show (and had a most brilliant intermission).
The 2009 DC 101 Chili Cook-Off made up for years of missing out on the earbud-popping HFStival. The DC 101 Chili Cook-Off is beyond amazing. Go there for the music, stay for the food. And the music.