Give somebody just a smidgen of power, a little extra privileges, and a taste of superiority, and it’s amazing what effect it can have.
We live in a world where practically everybody is a dime a dozen. We are not special. We probably never will be. So to have that one day in the sun where you do feel important is a feeling like no other.
That’s why we glamorize birthdays. For one day a year, our existence carries a little bit of extra significance. People might try to downplay their day of birth each year, but the truth of the matter is, we all love the extra attention. And conversely, the day after our birthday is a major bummer. I’d imagine the same goes for our own wedding day, but on a much, much larger scale.
I got to experience a small taste of superiority this weekend in Delaware, when I traveled to our nation’s first ever state for the second annual Firefly Music Festival. For those who are unfamiliar with the event, it has quickly become one of the largest music festivals on the east coast, drawing tens of thousands of people — who otherwise in a million years would never go to Delaware — for a weekend a music and debauchery.
Of course, a music festival lacks credibility if it can’t lure any premier artists, and that wasn’t a problem this weekend as Firefly comprised some of the world’s biggest groups in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, and some up-and-coming-indie-rock-turned-mainstream bands like Foster the People and Vampire Weekend. Click here to view the entire lineup.
But I’ve been to festivals before. In 2011, my entourage and I hit up Memphis to attend the Beale Street Festival, and last year, we took our talents to Newport, Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Fest. Both festivals were fantastic experiences in their own unique way.
What was different about this festival, however, was that we had VIP access.
It turns out that it took me three years to realize that there are some perks that come with working at a newspaper — even one that only covers a small section of communities in a non-major city. To put it short, we do not cover any type of events that even resemble music festivals.
But that didn’t stop me from sending a curt, forthright email inquiry to a few music festivals, explaining that I am a newspaper reporter, and would love the opportunity to gain media credentials for their respective festival. I didn’t lie — I just conveniently left out that out-of-state festivals are out of the bounds of our coverage area. They didn’t need to know that.
But the only thing that matters is that it worked.
And yes, I blocked out my last name and newspaper in case a hot girl who reads my blog wanted to hunt me down and meet me.
Anyway, the perks were few, but significant to say the least. For one, I was able to use the media entrance into the festival, bypassing the several-minute line of “common folk” entering via the general access entrance. Secondly, and easily the most notable perk, was my ability to gain access into the VIP section of the festival. By doing so, I was able to stray away from the 50,000 other festival-goers and view the stage from close proximity without any blocked sightlines. And due to hysterically lax security, I was able to bring all of my friends into the section as well so we could all enjoy it together.
And the VIP section was as luxurious as it sounds. It’s like the happy meadow at the end of the river that everyone envisions, where only good things happen. Aside from a plethora of open space, there was ping pong tables, a buffet, clean bathrooms and a shortcut from stage to stage. The girls were beautiful, the drinks were aplenty, and all was right with the world.
But arguably the best of the perks was the feeling of superiority. Of entitlement. I wasn’t actually covering the event, so the majority of the time I did not need to actually wear my media badge. But having it around my neck made me feel important. It distanced me from all of the other individuals who were at the festival. It gave me status.
The problem, however, is that I’ve now had my taste of VIP status, and life will never be the same again. Never again can I attend a festival and reside among the peasants with no access to special privileges. Never again can I watch a concert behind a mile-long cascade of other people, unable to even glimpse the stage. I’ve had my grasp of power, and by golly I want it back.
I can hope that my media access to Firefly can act as a stepping stone for other such events, and that maybe this will not be the last time.
But if it was, then it was a hell of a ride.
Tell, them Ellie Goulding.