A few months ago I attended my first music festival- considered the mother of all music festivals by many: Ultra. Here’s what I observed:
Lots of weird people
I had gone off to the side and started dancing by myself to get away from this giant sweaty man with no regard for the people around him and was in my own little world when I kept feeling things touch my butt. The Ultra main stage is a really crowded place so I just assumed it was accidental, but after the 3rd or 4th time I turned around and realized two guys were just taking turns touching my butt. I have a great butt, and understand the inclination to touch it. But that privilege was not included in either the general admission or VIP package, so check thyself before you reck thyself.
Lots of nice people
Between girls complimenting literally every possible thing they can about you and guys offering to lift you on their shoulders, there really are a lot of kind people in that crowd. Are they actually that sweet or are they just tripping balls? Who knows, leading me to my next point.
Lots of scammers
There was a guy going around with a trash bag full of “molly” charging people $20 per capsule. I’ve never done molly but I’m willing to bet my next paycheck that what was in that bag was not molly or anything close to it. On the one hand, if you decide to buy drugs from a random sketchy dude walking around a festival with a trash bag, it’s at your own risk, but on the other hand it says something about you if you’re taking advantage of people trying to have a good time.
Lots of crappy food
The food is overpriced, which was understandable considering everything in Miami is, but it was also terrible. Who messes up a pizza? Like how bad do you have to be at your job to make a bad pizza? How little do you have to care about life? Or maybe I was just too sober.
Lots of crappy drinks
The first day I bought four mixed drinks and literally felt nothing, and spent the entire first day completely sober. Never again. Too many people. Too many smells. After that I found more creative ways to smuggle my own booze in instead of relying on the Heineken booths to give me the buzz I deserved.
Lots of liberals
My friend and I wore Make America Great Again Visors, and got quite a few stares and comments. Admittedly, most people were cool about it even though they weren’t Trump fans, but there was an asshole every once in a while that made me want to risk it all and throw one good punch. I refrained because I’m such an upstanding citizen. And I was also sober.
Lots of interesting fashion choices
On the first day I wore booty shorts and a plunging v neck bodysuit, on the second day I wore a scandalous romper and on the third day I wore a bikini top and high waisted shorts. And compared to the other outfits there I might as well have been a Jehovah’s Witness. The real question is what’s going through someone’s head when they decide to wear furry knee high boots and lingerie at the same time. Like what temperature is it in your mind?
Lots of dirt, sweat and confusing odors
Between the strong scent of the devil’s lettuce, cigarette smoke and thousands of humans dancing and sweating, it’s a pretty rough ride. A lot of Asians were wearing medical masks, and they were on to something. I bought a pair of sneakers from Payless for Ultra because I knew I wouldn’t care what happened to them, and thank God I did because they were disgusting by the end of the first day.
All in all and everything considered, it was completely worth it. Sweat and weirdos aside, it was one of the most uplifting, beautiful experiences of my life. My friends made fun of me for going and I’m sure people from the political realm of my life judged me, but I don’t care, and I don’t regret it. To me, music is a lot less about proving how big of a fan you are and a lot more about how I feel in the moment.
I don’t talk about music a lot so people assume it doesn’t matter to me, but EDM has gotten me through some of the darkest times of my life. There were times during the festival where I was just living my life and shaking my ass, but there were times that meant a lot more. Such seemingly shallow and pointless songs brought me back to some of the lowest points of my life last year; heartbroken, depressed, and completely overwhelmed with trying to balance working full time with being a full time student. I can’t tell you how many times last year I was up at 3am on the verge of a mental breakdown working on reports for work or projects for school and for reasons I can’t explain, the right EDM song came on and suddenly everything was put in perspective.
To a lot of people, music festivals are just expensive light shows and opportunities to get trashed. To me it was something a lot more special than that. I don’t think I’ll ever become a “festival head” but I’m definitely open to the idea of going to another one.