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Let's Play: Why Going To A Show Is Like A Playground...For Adults

As many of you have started to realize by now, we are one of the biggest groups of youth to be blessed enough to land on this decrepit planet. This being stated I’m sure you have also started to realize that we are growing up, and growing up fast. We are no longer kids running carefree through sprinklers in the summer, but young adults holding down part-time jobs to put us through university, or even starting our careers, trying desperately to make a name for ourselves and just get by.

One thing that has been bothering me for quite a while now is the absence of carefree play in our day to day lives. What I mean by that is, there seems to be an absence of fun and games. As children, we play games like “House” where we will pretend we are adults, with families, jobs, and other troubles of adulthood. Children also partake in games modeled after war, where they make believe they are on the front lines, practicing for adult life and in itself, death. For children, death is just a temporary concept, nothing more concrete than the words “bang bang” and closing your eyes for five seconds before jumping up to continue playing with the other children. As adults, death becomes a more real and concrete concept. Here is where we see a shift in the idea of play, we no longer play "house" because we are grown ups and this is our reality. So how do adults play? 

I’ve observed that as we grow up play becomes less physical, and develops into a more vocal aspect in our lives. For example, we won’t wrestle like kids on the playground because society deems it “inappropriate” and “dangerous.” Our own strength now holds the potential to actually harm one another. In exercising this physical restraint, adults must reach out and find new ways to incorporate play into our everyday lives. There are a few ways in which adults play, like vocal play, sexual play and most importantly...dance.

Adults love to play with words. We make jokes, use sarcasm, and playfully (or not so playfully) make fun of each other. Adults play with words to manipulate certain situations, and as a writer, I am very familiar with this sort of game. Another way adults play is sexually. Adults will flirt for fun, or even engage in sexual activities for pleasure, which creates a distance from the innocence of childhood. When adults engage in sexual activities for fun, it delves past verbal communication. Their complete body language starts to take on a more playful stance. The stance of the people involved in this type of game becomes much more open and receptive to the other, from the proximity to the way one will move their hands and hips. As adults play their body language becomes more and more like a dance.


Dancing at a show embodies all the physical aspects of adult play and imitates the acts of sex without actually denoting sex. The adult dances in a much more different way than a child. While a child will jump around, the dance of the adult seems to take a much more grounded stance. This release of emotions still holds a subconscious restraint, but it is nonetheless a freeing experience.

This is why I think that we go to festivals and shows. It is our way of playing. It’s a perfect mix of dance, physical and vocal play. Going out to watch a producer play some of their best hits is the perfect way to unwind and let loose all the static energy we lock up inside ourselves from our day jobs, school, and other societal functions we perform on a daily basis. It is important for us to get out with like-minded individuals to simply forget what real life is for a moment and lose yourself in the bass in a sea of people just dancing.

When we go to shows—especially festivals—it acts as a catharsis. Shakespeare said it best: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” The way we interact with each other at these events are, for the most part, playful and friendly encounters. The community comes together to indulge in a night of fun activities like dancing, talking and joking, sexual encounters, and just letting loose. These nights are essential in our adult lives to keep us sane and grounded. Without this release we might actually fall into the trap of being societies drones and forgetting that there is some hope left in this world. This heavily important way of playing is necessary, and in my personal opinion, should be mandatory. Take a break from the real world for a second, forget that we have one foot in the grave, and just dance. 

Written by Gabe Gilker

Cover photo credit: LiveForTheDrop.com

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Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of EDM.com.