Remember those magical events where we would voluntarily bunch up against a crowd of 100,000 strangers to dance, sing and sweat for hours just to see the one artist on the lineup that we like from very far away? Or were music festivals a fever dream? Like, some of us were really dancing in a ball of germs in 100-degree weather for fun.
This week, I’m really missing live music and music festivals, y’all. I’d give anything, and I mean anything, to see Lorde live right now. So get ready to indulge me on another frivolous journey into the slowly fading memories of a time when we were alive and sweaty and dancing! But first, let’s get into the electronic-music-festival mood with this playlist expertly curated for this blog post by yours truly.
Going to a music festival truly felt like stepping foot into an alternate dimension where your work stress no longer existed, any inhibitions that priorly plagued your mind miraculously dissipated, and who you were Monday–Friday didn’t have to be who you were during the next three days.
It was pure euphoria — losing your group of friends in the crowd, putting up with shitty weather and the ever-present mud, dancing with people who were blasted out of their minds, indulging in overpriced food, and submitting yourself to using port-a-potties. And what you’d find there was an atmosphere of questionable fun, community and belonging.
Here are the things I miss about music festivals — intertwined with photos from some of the festivals I’ve been to!
GETTING MY #OOTDS READY
Deciding what to wear for each day of the festival was an ordeal that started at least a month before the actual event. Head to toe. Assessorize, assesorize, assessorize. Bonus points if the outfit matched your makeup.
I’ve been a makeup lover and obsesser for yeaaaaars and festival makeup has always brought me so much freaking pure joy. Festivals were the place to go all out with makeup — gems, body paint, glitter, space-bitch looks. They were truly a place for the freest form of expression and I liked taking advantage of that.
LOW-KEY PRAYING THAT THE THIRD DAY GOT CANCELLED DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES
This has actually happened to me twice. I was rained out of TomorrowWorld in 2015 and was almost stranded in the middle of the Atlanta woods. I was also rained out of the third day of Governors Ball in New York City, and got to go to the MoMA, Top of the Rock and more because of the extra time that we got in the city.
BREAKFAST AT 2 P.M. AFTER THE FIRST DAY
If you know, you know.
FINALLY HEARING THE SONG
The amount of times I’ve imagined exactly how hearing a specific song by a specific artist live was going to go are too high to count. These are some of “the song” moments that are permanently etch-a-sketched into my mind: “Someday,” by The Strokes at Governors Ball in NYC; “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Corona Capital in Guadalajara; “Sun and Moon,” by Above & Beyond at EDC in Las Vegas; “Frick Park Market” by Mac Miller at Governors Ball in New York City; “Opus” by Eric Prydz at TomorrowWorld in Atlanta; and more.
BANGED-UP FEET AND BLISTERS
The right footwear is of the utmost importance — they’ve gotta be good enough to withstand mud (lots of it, always), people stepping on you, stepping on questionable substances, tripping over people sitting down in the middle of the crowd, miles upon miles of walking and infinite dancing. Plus, they’ve gotta be cute and go with your outfit…Stumped? So am I. There is no better reminder that you voluntarily submitted yourself to this than throbbing feet and painful blisters during the walk to the exit at the end of day two.
Everybody stalks the food-vendor lineup and plans out what food items they want to try ahead of time, right? Because I most certainly do. I’m dedicating the next 10 seconds of my life to the memory of a really delicious crepe I had last year at Corona Capital in Guadalajara, México. Also, peep the luscious, half-eaten $18 lobster roll I had once upon a time in New York City at Governors Ball.
This one is simple. Don’t we all miss live music dearly?!
BEING SUNBURNT, DEHYDRATED AND HUNGOVER, BUT SOMEHOW ALIVE ON DAY 2
I was never one of those legit festival goers with the Camelbaks. They knew their shit, clearly. And I paid more than $3 for a water bottle on too many occasions. Shut up, I never said I was a professional.
RUNNING THROUGH PEOPLE, MUD AND MORE TO GET TO THE OTHER STAGE BEFORE THE NEXT ACT STARTS
This shit’s almost always an obstacle course that includes accidentally stepping in a puddle (Where did that puddle come from? It hasn’t even rained); slipping in mud (Again … it didn’t rain); and awkwardly climbing over people who decided to plop down in the most inconvenient location in the way of freaking everyone (Why do y’all do that?!).
LEAVING ONE STAGE MID-SET TO GET TO THE OTHER STAGE TO CATCH THE SECOND HALF OF THE OTHER ARTIST’S SET
You know this struggle. You pray to the music gods that they let you see the artist perform a very specific song before you have to head to the next stage because you don’t want to miss a very specific song there. Sometimes, sacrifices must be made in the name of music.
SEEING PEOPLE BE FREE IN THEIR BODIES
I loved seeing everyone’s outfits or lack thereof! Sometimes, I really wish I felt comfortable enough to walk around in pasties and a thong all day.
PUTTING MY ENTIRE FESTIVAL KIT INTO A FANNY PACK
You gotta have chapstick, deodorant, wipes, money, band-aids, sunscreen, Kleenex to use as toilet paper, a waterproof poncho (I’ve been rained out enough times that I know you NEED this), gum, a little bit of makeup for touch-ups, sunglasses, hand sanitizer and a portable phone charger. And if you’re me, you can’t forget Benadryl. Flashback to that one allergy attack in Monterrey, México, that made me miss Justice. I literally had horrible, huge hives on my legs that spread to the rest of my body and my throat started closing up. It was not a good time.
PAYING $10+ FOR SHITTY BEER AND WATERED-DOWN COCKTAILS
They’re not good and you can’t tell me that they are. I’ve literally never had a good alcoholic drink at a music festival.
FEELING COMPLETELY DEPLETED OF LIFE AT THE END OF DAY 3, BUT ALSO SOOO RECHARGED WITH SO MUCH GOOD ENERGY AT THE SAME TIME
Surviving a festival is an accomplishment. You may be slightly dehydrated, but you’re alive AF!
SINGING DIRECTLY FROM THE HEART ALONG WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE WHO ALSO LOVE THE SAME SONG AS MUCH AS YOU DO
It’s like you’re one with all of those strangers and there’s no feeling like it.
THE HAIR ON YOUR ARMS STANDING UP WHEN YOU FINALLY HEAR THE SONG YOU’VE BEEN DYING TO HEAR LIVE
For real, for real, the first time I heard Eric Prydz’s “Opus” live was back in 2015 at TomorrowWorld, and tears were most definitely shed. Or like when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed “Maps” at Corona Capital in 2019, my dramatic, melancholic af teenage dreams came true. Yes, I cried that time too.
SEEING THE BANDS YOU’VE BEEN DREAMING ABOUT SEEING LIVE FOR YEARS (E.G., THE STROKES, THE YEAH YEAH YEAHS, FRANZ FERDINAND, THE KILLERS, ETC.)
I guess this one is similar to the one above, but it’s still important. My 14-year-old dramatic, wannabe-cool self would have never imagined that I would actually get to see Bloc Party live, like what?? And The Strokes? Actual Fabrizio Moretti?! And Karen O?! You mean Karen O is real and not just an ethereal angel living in my mind?! Oh, my.
The fireworks display during Above & Beyond’s set on the last day of Electric Daisy Carnival in 2014 is hands down the most iconic fireworks display I’ve ever witnessed. Seriously, the Kinetic Field at EDC’s fireworks are next level — just imagine the most-colorful, most-grandiose fireworks popping up all across the Las Vegas Speedway with your favorite DJ groups music in the background! Ughhh, tears!
THE MEMORIES YOU’RE LEFT TO CARRY FOREVER
Whether that be randomly and unexpectedly seeing LMFAO perform live as a surprise guest at P’al Norte in Guadalajara, México, or running after your ex-best-friend who is throwing a fit the day after your birthday at EDC in Las Vegas, I have so many memories from each festival I’ve been to. I can imagine I come off as someone that’s too hung up on memories and what they represent … and that may be true! But let me be, I’m a Cancer!
MEETING THE RANDOMEST, YET COOLEST PEOPLE
One time at EDC in Las Vegas, someone spotted my Anjunabeats flag during the Arty set, and we became instant friends. I’ve since met up with them twice after this at two different events in two different cities. I don’t know, it’s like you form the weirdest, yet tightest, bonds with people you never expect!
And that concludes this facetious blog post that I so enjoyed putting together. For now, we can just fantasize about a time in the future when maybe music festivals become a thing again. And before I part, I give you one of my earlier videos — a recap of TomorrowWorld 2015, my favorite festival ever!