Let me tell you a few things that are regular occurrences in music festivals:
1) Loud music is typically blaring somewhere.
2) Strangers give each other high gives as they cross paths.
3) They speak with one another about why they decided to come to this place.
5) Everyone is happy.
Now let me tell what doesn’t happen during the course of a person’s average day:
1) All of the above.
OK, so the world probably wouldn’t be quite a functional place if everyone was drunk or high and loud music emitted from every corner, but those two are simply side effects of the environment that comes with music festivals.
The other side effects, listed above, are ones to cherish. Group camaraderie. People genuinely being interested in one another’s lives. Happiness.
At music festivals, you get all of that in spades.
I’m not saying that we should all quit our jobs, or drop out of school, move into a man-made Utopia and become a hippy. But I think it’s important for people to step out of their daily routines every now and then and go somewhere where it’s acceptable to just be wild.
Being wild doesn’t necessarily mean tripping on hallucinogens and going ballistic, but it’s being able to scream your approval of your favorite bands, dance in a sea of thousands of people, and rock a t-shirt and shorts with goofy sunglasses while sipping on a cold beer in the middle of the day. That, my friends, is wild.
It’s liberating to be able to fully express yourself in public without being judged, and music festivals give you that very platform. I experienced it myself this past weekend in Boston for the city’s 3rd Boston Calling music festival. Featured in the event were various rock groups, a mix of current popular bands and old favorites, including Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie, the Decemberists, Bastille, the Neighbourhood, the Head and the Heart, Brand New and others.
It was a grand old time.
I can only speak for myself, of course, but I think what resonates with me most when I leave a festival is how little I really pay attention to the people around me. And I don’t mean looking at people on the street and negatively stereotyping them (which we all do), but actually accepting them as a fellow person, with their own life, their own story. And wanting to know about it.
We know our family. We know our high school and college friends, as well as our co-workers. But what about other people we see every day? There’s so many people in this world, and you can try every day of your life to get to know them all, and you still wouldn’t have met 1 percent of them.
Instead, we walk around like zombies, only talking to the people we know, and disregarding every one else. And if a “stranger” does talk to us, we act like they are accosting us and deeply disturbing our flow.
At music festivals — with the added help of liquid courage and the constant closeness of people who share your own musical interests — that barrier is broken.
The intimate nature of the event helps bring out everyone’s desire to meet the people around them.
But we all forget that life is intimate, too. We’re all specks on a tiny planet in a large world.
In the grand scheme of things, life really just is one big music festival.