Meeting People At Festivals: Friends, Lovers, And Everything In Between
It’s 2 AM, you haven’t showered in three days, you’re high as a kite, surrounded by flashing lights, music is booming, and you could not imagine life getting any better. Whatever music festival is flashing to your mind, I’m sure you’d do anything to relive that feeling. I am familiar with the sentiment and want to write about another part festivals that I didn’t know came with the price the ticket. They are gathering places for people from all walks life who get together and live in a different world for said amount time. It is a space that makes it easy to meet new people and the open environment is a breeding ground for connections any nature. You are surrounded by others who have the same common interest as you. The social aspect a festival is a beautifully unexpected thing that is almost impossible to avoid. So here are a few things I’ve picked up in my experiences over the years.
If you’re reading this post, I can only assume that music is a big part your life and you value being surrounded by others who share that interest on some level. That is probably why you go: to celebrate your love for music and the adventure that follows. Sometimes you’ll meet a friend for a split second while dancing at a set, waiting in line for water, or somehow find yourself spending the entire weekend with a new group people you didn’t know would fall into your lap. Some might say that connections at festivals are driven by a drug and/or adrenaline enhanced state mind. But how is that different that going to a bar and making “drunk friends” for the night? Nonetheless, connections made upon a foundation valuing a community other individuals who care about spending a weekend away immersed in a different world are much more genuine. I have made friends at festivals that I consider some the most important people in my life to this day. When I see something that pure and real, I hold on. Each time I leave an event, I think to myself how I got so much more than I intended, and that is a true blessing. Everyone goes to for different reasons. I have gone to festivals to escape my demons, celebrate an achievement, just for the hell it, and everything in between. No matter what my mindset, I always meet people that uplift me. If you ever feel alone, just remember that there is a world full people out there waiting to meet you.
Love is always in the air at festivals. I, and many others, somehow managed to lock eyes with someone across the dance floor and get swooped f our feet into innocently pure bliss. You could lose that person after one night, or make the effort to stay connected and explore that feeling past the initial moments ogling at each other. And when you do, it could be the best decision you’ve ever made. Originally, this post was only going to only be about meeting friends at festivals. But after attending my first Lighting In A Bottle this year, I became inspired to write about how relationships can also be formed. I got to talking with a couple sitting near the lake who had met at Burning Man 20 years ago and have been together ever since. Instead taking their weekends to recover from their Monday-Friday work week, they travel to music festivals. Those kinds stories keep my hopeless romantic heart afloat and remind me that love can be found in the most chaotic places. I think meeting a significant other at a place you consider your own personal paradise is a fantasy many have, but few have the luck to consider reality. Sure there are risks to falling for someone at a place that attracts people from all over i.e. that special person could live somewhere far away from you. But if you come across a feeling that seems worth it, take a chance, let yourself feel, and see where the crazy roller coaster takes you- you might regret it if you don’t and find yourself saying “what if?”
Everything In Between
Amongst the friendships and possible romance there lies, well, everything else. This concept can be vague, but that’s the whole point. My personal version “everything else” is opportunity. I have always wanted to work in the music industry ever since I can remember, and a good way to break your way in is casually networking at festivals. Everyone is relaxed, social, and easier to approach. An example: I found myself talking to a woman at a show after I lost all my friends, and she ended up being the head one my favorite record labels. That conversation turned into an internship, volunteering at the festivals she ran, to being a production assistant. Now I have made more connections I ever thought possible just from one simple conversation. Another example: a friend mine started talking to a guy who ran the vendor she bought food from and mentioned that she was a bartender. He proceeded to give her his business card and she has been catering festivals ever since. The list these stories can go on and on. The community gives people a chance to take their skills and share them with others- yoga, cooking, karaoke, customer service, comedy, art, you name it. There is so much more that festivals can provide than just a good time. “Everything else” can mean something different to different people, and that’s why it’s so inspiring.
Whether the connection is platonic, romantic, or motivational, it is something to hold dear. Be open. Explore. Have no fear. I have been going to events since I was 13, and have learned so much from each experience. From having my mom drop me f at my first Warped Tour, embarking to my first Coachella, volunteering for Dirtybird Campout on a whim, to Lightning in a Bottle changing my life, I have grown into a person that appreciates what festivals can provide for your soul- the good, bad, scary, and exciting. That is the very beauty and why I love them so much. You never know what will find its way to you and every experience will give you so much more than you could have ever imagined.