Since my early days of bass addiction, attending shows and festivals has provided me with life-changing musical fulfillment. Just as importantly, it’s allowed me to garner a number of crucial skills that make my existence more useful in real world situations. As a realist and genuine proponent of utility, I’d like to highlight five festival skills that carry over into the real world:
1. Getting Through Crowds
This is the most crucial life skill I have gained by attending shows. Getting through throngs of sweaty humans who all harbor varying degrees of mood instability, without angering a single one, is truly an art. I have no patience to stand around and hope that eventually the person in front of me will think to create just enough space for my unassertive being to go through. At the same time, I refuse to upset my peers by aggressively shoving everyone out of my way.
My remedy for this has been the cautious and steady use of my elbow, protruding away from my body and confidently toward my destination, in combination with a continuous stream of polite apologies. Used in combination with a smile, it unobjectionably transfers me through the masses like a hot knife through butter.
People instinctively take a step back when they see a nonthreatening appendage slowly appearing in their personal space. After willingly moving, they are immediately reminded that limbs are attached to entire bodies! However, this moment of realization comes too slow, and you’ve already made your way past. Equilibrium for that area of the audience is restored just as soon as it was graciously disrupted.
2. Finding Lost Friends Without Technology
Like a fickle significant other, my iPhone (more often than not) drains itself of life during the most crucial moments of meeting up with a lost friend. When this happened during my early days of attending live shows, I would wander around aimlessly while simultaneously praying to whatever god will listen to guide me through this technology-induced catastrophe.
Now, I simply take a page from the “How to Festival 101” book stored in the shelves of my brain and enforce a fairly simple method of disaster aversion. Deciding on when to meet up at “the spot” – an obvious and unobstructed landmark – is a huge part of functioning well within a festival space where phone service may lag and charging stations are sparse. Even outside of festival spaces, I always make sure my friends know where to find me lurking if we go out and my phone is in its last throes of life.
3. Sharing Is Caring
Sharing at a festival is the fastest and easiest way to make friends. It is also the best way to prevent your crew from constantly breaking off for an uncertain amount of time, just to get an item you already have. Not being stingy about your water or snacks and taking care of those around you encourages everyone else to do the same, effortlessly creating an asshole-free zone. Whether or not you are at a show, always being prepared to share is necessary for maximizing the fun in any situation.
4. Appreciate Each & Every Moment
ID&T notably uses the mantra that “yesterday is history, today is a gift, and tomorrow is a mystery” as part of its branding for Tomorrowland, Tomorroworld, and Mysteryland. The mantra is very reflective of the importance in exuding appreciation for the immediate. This is a skill easily practiced at festivals because the audience is relishing in a completely escapist environment.
5. Dress For Comfort
Through years of trial and error (some errors being more hauntingly awkward than others), I’ve learned that as far as festival fashion goes, it is easier to look more attractive in comfortable clothes than it is being comfortable in “attractive” getups. You can also dance more freely if you dress for comfort than being restricted by a tight or otherwise unforgiving outfit.
One thing I will never understand in this regard is wearing heels and a tight dress to an EDM show. Where is the sense in that? Oh, you want to get rowdy in that? Have fun lightly rocking back and forth while dubstep violently rips through your soul. As your feet silently cry in agony, I’ll be over here intensely dancing and thrashing about. With everyone else. Comfortably.
Written by Anita Obasi
Cover image credit: Doug Van Sant
Article image credit: CBS Las Vegas