Have you ever been to a music festival?
They’re one of my favorite investments. The vibe in these places is almost always fantastic. You’ll see people of all shapes and sizes and colors, from all walks of life, joined together for a weekend-long adventure full of live music.
For me (and many fellow concert-goers), music is an essential nutrient. It’s always my favorite way to connect to something larger than myself.
For my boyfriend’s birthday, I got tickets to a festival in Philly with a heavy rock lineup, including two bands he’d been dying to see. Last month, we trekked to the festival, and the experience was epic to say the least.
Usually we hang in the back for these types of things, where there’s plenty of room to move around, and an unobstructed view of the stage for me. (Josh is tall, so his view’s always clear)! This time, though, we worked our way up closer to the stage to watch *THE* band we were there to see. (Volbeat, in case you’re into that type of thing).
We found our spot, then we waited for the band to start. We felt the crowd thicken, and we made friends with the people around us.
As more and more people pushed their way up, I noticed something about being a short woman squished together in a primarily male ocean of people – it felt really intimidating. The anticipation was building in the crowd, people were starting to get antsy. I’m prone to anxiety anyway, and I hadn’t done this in a while, so horror flick reels of safety issues and threats started looping in my head. The buildup was killing me. (Luckily, I used this as an opportunity to make a friend – who agreed, the anticipation was killing US now, and he shared a nervous laugh with me).
Just then, the band finally started playing. But, my fear only escalated as the crowd surged forward – throwing us all into each other towards the stage. As a crowd, we looked behind us… then we looked at each other… and the coast seemed clear. We shrugged our shoulders, and turned our attention back to the band.
Nope. Again, we jolted forward, and immediately recognized we’d need to accommodate several mosh pits forming around us. Yes, I said mosh pits – plural. Not one… not two… but three mosh pits formed in our immediate vicinity. About thirty of us were stuck between mosh pits on all sides, with a crowd barrier to our left.
I looked nervously at Josh. Luckily, I really trust his judgment in these situations. He’s military trained, and he can scope out the scene much easier at his height. We exchanged a glance, “we’ve got this”, and I was instantly comfortable to turn back and enjoy the band (rather than keeping my eye on the closest mosh pit).
The first song set ended, and the lead singer started talking to the crowd. The mosh pits stopped, everyone calmed down. The lead singer asked, “Are you happy today?”…
Anyone who knows me, knows I immediately gave loud, high pitched WOO in response. This time, at this show, I was the ONLY one. Apparently I’m more psyched about happiness than your typical hard rock enthusiast.
So.. The lead singer actually responded to me! He said he was happy to make me scream. (HA)! My night was made. They started playing Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire”, nice and slow, and the whole crowd melted.
Not for long, though… the lead singer then requested as many crowd surfers as we could send. As a group in the crowd, we gained an extra obstacle, so we sprung into action. Navigating the mosh pits, AND the crowd surfers, who were now constantly coming from behind us. (When you’re not paying attention to crowd surfers approaching, they DROP)! The friend I’d made earlier suggested sending ME up towards the stage, while Josh worked hard to keep crowd surfers up and mosh pit contained. I nervously laughed and declined, even though I’d been considering the option myself… How amazing would that experience be?
Eventually, we’d had enough, and Josh whisked me back to safety, where the obstacles weren’t absent but a little less frequent and intense. I felt my adrenaline start to down shift, as I felt proud and grateful for his protection. I felt admiration for the crowd dynamics, the human experience, plus, I remembered… the lead singer TALKED to me! Did you HEAR THAT? 🙂
Great story, right? I just had to share it with you.
Throughout that show, I learned so many lessons, and experienced a side of my human-ness I hadn’t quite felt before. The story wanted to be told, and I can’t help but share the golden treasures with you. Here were some of my takeaways:
1. The ability of people to come together towards a common goal is astonishing. Communication can happen seamlessly and wordlessly when it needs to. That night I watched countless strangers come together as a well-oiled machine to serve the well-being of the crowd, myself included, on multiple occasions. In those moments, I knew that even though we can’t always predict our threats, together we can overcome anything.
2. Anger, especially male anger, doesn’t need to be demonized and shamed like it is. We should be more concerned with finding healthy expressions for anger (like a friendly mosh pit, for instance). Josh told me later, he knew we were safe when he observed the moshers respond to falls in the pit – they’d immediately stop and help their fallen brother up to safety. How cool is that?
3. Finally… Sometimes the high-risk choices are worth taking, and sometimes they’re not. You never know where your choices will lead. Every choice we’re presented with is a doorway to possibilities. Don’t ever discount that, and don’t take yourself out by believing in your limits more than your dreams. Follow your intuition and make sure you’re walking through doors you actually WANT to go through.
For instance… maybe at my next rock show, I’ll say “yes” to crowd surfing (after making a contingency plan with Josh). You only live once, right?
What do you think? I would love to hear what this story stirred up for you – maybe your favorite music festival/concert experience? Tell me about it in the comments.
Wishing lots of success and love to all of you. Thanks for reading.