Opinion

Music Festivals: Camping, Dancing, and Jamming Out

Music FestivalsEver been to a music festival? How about one where you camp out and escape reality for the weekend?

A lot of people are opposed to this idea, but they wouldn’t be if they gave it a chance. Camping festivals are a great way to step outside your comfort zone. Doesn’t it sound good to take a vacation from daily stressors and responsibilities?

Replace those things with live music, positive energy, and a life changing experience. Once you’re there, you’ll realize it’s more than just a music festival, it becomes a means of self-discovery.

I’ve experienced a few of these festivals myself and I would encourage anyone to give them a try. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a huge camping person and the thought of being outdoors for a few days straight overwhelms you: it’s worth it. Those doubts will be the last thing on your mind. For the duration of the festival, you will expose yourself to pure happiness and peaceful people who are enjoying themselves.

In an article I recently read, titled “The Impact of Music Festival Attendance on Young People’s Psychological and Social Wellbeing,” author Jan Packer stated, “Music theorists suggest that active participation in music festivals contributes to identity development by providing a medium for self-expression, mood enhancement and spiritual functions terms and symbols for self-identity, and opportunities to create individual, virtual worlds.”

After leaving a music festival, you are on an absolute high. You will feel like you just met yourself for the first time. My reason for saying this is because it is a safe environment to express your individuality and be shown appreciation for it.

People don’t discriminate for the color of your skin, the outfit you are wearing, or the way that you dance. You enter a zone where you are encouraged to be your wildest self and to embrace the unique elements you were given.

The two camping festivals I went to were Firefly in Delaware and Okeechobee in Florida. Both were similar, but had different elements that set them apart. Firefly is awesome because it is very organized and extremely clean.

There are a bunch of different food vendors and you can tell that the volunteers and Firefly team put in a lot of effort to make the venue aesthetically pleasing. For example, all of the signs and vendors are set up in uniform to create a sense of synergy. The lettering that labels the tents, restrooms, and stages has the same font and colors. Everything is cohesive. According to Delaware State News, in 2015 Firefly sold out at 90,000 people. 

Both Firefly and Okeechobee, had multiple stages with a variety of genres. From EDM to alternative to rap music, they covered it all. At outdoor festivals such as the ones I have attended, along with Electric Forest, Coachella, and Bonnaroo, people display talents that aren’t observed in everyday life, such as fire spinning. There are also a ton of different yoga classes held, as well as energy focused and meditative workshops that allow for the people to get in touch with themselves in this time.

While I was at Okeechobee I found myself experiencing moments that changed my life, such as seeing Mumford and Sons. I was never a huge fan of them and neither was my friend, so we decided we’d just sit on a blanket in the very back of the crowd. We hung out there and listened to the live music echo through the woods. I closed my eyes for a second and I just took it all in and when I opened my eyes, I looked around me.

I heard the voices of people singing along, I saw couples and friends dancing, and I could feel joy and positivity radiating. No one was sad or upset or feeling anything relatively negative. The sound of live music brought everyone together regardless of differences. It was humbling to realize that I was one of thousands of people, but it felt as if we were all one. By staying the entire weekend, I was able to fall asleep and wake up feeling this sense of unity and that is rare to find at other social gatherings.

The surface level things like sleeping in a tent, not having a floor length mirror to check your outfit, and having limited access to the world outside of the venue forced me to experience the present moment fully. When people are stripped of these superficial measures of security and comfort, they experience a whole new world and perspective of the present.

The outside element of these festivals is really what makes the experience. Even if you’re not typically an outdoor person, it’s a perfect opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and appreciate all the benefits that nature has to offer.

I know the idea of camping out for four days in a foreign place with limited access to the outside world and thousands of strangers, sounds like an overwhelming and unlikely decision. But, the quote I am going to leave you with may change your mind. Vincent Van Gogh once said, “Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk but no flowers grow on it.” You’re only going to get one chance to live this lifetime.

Why wouldn’t you take a risk and try something outside of your comfort zone? I am telling you, these festivals will do nothing but help you grow and find pieces of yourself along the way.

PHOTO TAKEN by Elissa Scano