Ted Senario wakes to the unfamiliar sounds of music, chants, laughter … and too many voices for his tiny campsite on the shores of Lake Minnewanna. He’d been in unfamiliar territory before – his whole life now is unfamiliar, now that his career, his marriage and his bank account have all fallen into ruin. Ted thought that he had found escape in the woods, in his tent, by the lake, in an escape to self-discovery. But his escape is being ruined by a tribe of – what are they? hippies? freaks? – a tribe of something surrounding his tent.
He crawls from his tent, part terrified, part mystified, staring at this band of – what are they? gypsies? the lost children? – this band of free spirits, some dancing, some talking, some staring up into the night sky. The music isn’t so unfamiliar after all, he’s heard this before, where was it, when was it. Oh, I know – that’s Jerry Garcia, that’s Mickey Hart, that’s …
THAT’s who they are – Deadheads! His once-solitary campsite has been overrun by Deadheads! …
Ted knows something about the Grateful Dead – not his favorite music, but something he’s crossed from time to time. But this fan following – that a counter-cultural phenomenon he knows little about. He’s about to learn much, much more.
Ted meets Pete, who introduces him to Vincent, Jinx, Mignon, … and Cricket. They each share their personal opinion about their Deadhead tribe, each from a different perspective. They come from all parts of America but they all share a dedication to the music and the lifestyle of the Grateful Dead.
Some of them reflect on the early days of hippies and Haight Ashbury and peace, love, sex, and rock ‘n’ roll. Some go back further, to the beatniks of the 50’s, to Jack Kerouac. Ted takes it all in, drawing the line from beatniks to hippies to … to this campsite in the Michigan woods.
Ted heads back to his campsite – or tries to. But Cricket won’t hear of it. She knows that Ted is a writer, and she wants to read his writings. And Cricket is not someone you can say ‘No’ to….
Jeff is telling Ted about what it takes to make money traveling around the country following the Band. It takes equipment, problems and a lot of energy to create products other fans want … and can afford. One nearby deadhead clan is not just selling “Devil Sticks” – they’ve got a full operation, from manufacturing to marketing, all out of a 60’s style VW popup van. And if you want to sell Devil Sticks, you have to master Devil Sticks, you’ve got to put on a juggling show for the crowd.
The crowd fills the parking lot, creating their own metropolis. It’s a psychedelic rock festival outside the concert – people and music, but atmosphere and energy too. Jeff has their attention riveted on his Devil Sticks, spinning and slashing through the air – he’s a performer as well as a salesman.
Ted is riveted too, but not just on Jeff’s Devil Sticks. Ted is thinking about Jeff’s warning to “look for a Miracle.” Jeff’s been telling Ted all day – something special always happens when the Deadheads gather. Look for a Miracle, Jeff said, point to the sky, close your eyes, concentrate … look for a Miracle. Look for a Miracle…