“Come to Coachella”, I said…”this place will change your life!”
Might sound a little melodramatic, but you would be surprised how many times you will hear, post-festival “that experience has changed me”
Just back from the beginning of the American festival circuit, I arrived home to the cold winter days here in Auckland, rich with emotions and warm memories from my most recent experience
There is no doubt that if you are up for it, music festivals can provide the perfect backdrop for self exploration and personal growth.
You get to leave your ego and troubles at home and experience a different way of life that can potentially expand your mind in ways you may not expect.
Within the festival community there is a shared common spirit, a real passion for the music and a way of interacting that is more mindful of others but more importantly everyone lives in the moment.
If you have experienced this then you will understand how intoxicating the feeling is and may be left thinking “Why can’t every day be like a festival?”
But actually, every day can be more like that world if you apply the lessons that run so rampant at festivals to your daily life.
By the way, if you are looking for a festival to go to in the US, never mind Coachella...come to Bonnaroo
(just out of Nashville Tennessee)Here are just a few things that I learned at music festivals…
If You Want Something, Make it Happen
No matter how random it might seem to your friends or family, if you want to go to a festival you should just do it. Waiting for the right moment, or the right group of people could mean it never happens. Music festivals are addictive for a reason and the only way to understand the experience and the sense of community that is created is to go to one. Seize the day! People may not always understand your choices in life, but its yours to decide upon
Ignore what your Mom Told You and Talk to Strangers
Festivals definitely make you more outgoing. Everyone’s a stranger, but they are also generally there for the same reason as you, so you find yourself striking up a conversation in line with people then next thing you know you’re heading to the same set together. It’s an easy way to come out of your shell and make new friends. What do you have to lose by talking to people and you just never know what opportunities it might open up for you. The less you are afraid of the people around you, the more likely you are to experience the best they have to offer. Friendships can develop in an instant, with a simple smile and even if they only last as long as the queue, life is better for the experience
You Are Never Too Old to Have Fun
Have a really good look a the crowd….every tribe is represented! And when you look around, there are thousands of people old enough to be parents or even grandparents, jamming and having an amazing time at a festival. They defy the odds that old people can’t keep up with the cool, hip young kids, and often they are having the best time of anyone at the festival. Age is only an issue if you let it become one, and a bit of life experience is a bonus, NOT a detractor when it comes to festival life. If you tell yourself you are too old (or too quiet, or too conservative or too anything) then you miss the chance to just go have some fun
Its a Marathon, Not a Sprint
When you go to a music festival, it’s vital to understand that you can’t take 7 shots and drink 5 beers, or you will end up fainting or in a medical tent. Part of the experience involves long days, miles of walking, dancing up a storm and to survive (especially in summer when its boiling hot outside) you need to be careful that you only stretch, but not exhaust yourself. There could be up 100,000 people walking around, and you need to stay alive for 2-4 days to enjoy the entire event (you don’t want to be that guy that has to leave early). Pacing yourself is key. In saying that, don’t be afraid to push yourself a little (you will have reserves you don’t even know about), you will have time to sleep when it’s done and you really don’t want to miss a precious moment.
Spend As Much Time as Possible with Friends
It’s almost impossible between work, study, family and life to have time for everyone in your world. Sometimes its life and sometimes its geography but the reality is most of us don’t get to spend as much time with the people we love the most. Gathering your clan around you at a festival is the perfect opportunity to catch up and share not only the music but the spirit that makes the event. But remember even when you’re not at a festival, it’s still important to keep in touch with your friends. These people are your support system; they laugh with you, cry with you, probably drink too much with you, and help you get through the general struggles life throws at you.
Often at Festivals theres a chance to get new knowledge and learn weird skills through their workshops. From Hula hooping to tree-planting, beard embellishment to yoga, embrace these opportunities to learn without the same fear of failure you may feel in your normal life. Hell, what do you have to lose? Even if you never practise the random new skills you learned, you have them there for a rainy day! Plus it makes for a way more interesting story telling regaling to friends about the breakdancing/mushroom cultivation/tee shirt modification/samba drumming workshop you attended
Chose Your Mood
You’re only one song or one dance away from a great mood. That’s one of the many things that is so great about a festival. And if you don’t like what is playing in front of you…move on, the next stage will be better! You can get all pissed off or frustrated because of whatever reason but then you hear a band play one of your favourite songs and you immediately forget what you were just so upset about. There are choices all around you, and if you want to get out of a funk, smile to yourself and find a new stage!
Take Care of Each Other
You see some pretty crazy things at festivals! Its no where near as bad as the uninitiated imagine, but there are some situations that you need to be the ‘someone’ who is ready to help out. Learning this lesson will help prevent bad situations from becoming tragedies. Often people turn a shoulder to strangers in need, we’ve seen it happen. At a festival it could be sharing water, or helping someone find their friends, or handing in a lost phone, but it’s important to remember that if we all look out for each other our community will become an even better place. Caring for another is an honourable trait, Karma will remember you.
Just Be You
Festival goers wear whatever they want, however they want; anything goes when it comes to fashion, as well as dance moves. You will see some of the most interesting characters within this unique world. Recently I learned a new acronym… “plur” – peace, love, unity and respect and most festival dwellers embrace this and high-fiving a stranger seems like the most natural thing in the world.
Life is to short to live in the shadow of someone else and you shouldn’t be afraid to be who you are. People in the “real world” will respect you for it and those who don’t should be ignored.
Have the confidence to express yourself and don’t try to be someone else’s idea of you. If you feel like you have to pretend to be someone else on a daily basis maybe it’s time you re-evaluate the direction you are going.
There is only one you – it would be such a shame to waste that.
Explore and Travel More
We live in such a beautiful planet filled with a rainbow of different cultures, and festivals somehow bring all that diversity together. Beyond the festival realm, traveling is way to understand the world we all share. Go somewhere you normally wouldn’t, hang with people outside of your normal friend circles. Make friends with people who have completely different backgrounds to you. You will learn and teach at the same time and everyone will be better for the experience. Push yourself out of your comfort zone like you would at a festival; that is the only way to truly grow.
When all else fails (and when everything is on track) if you do nothing else….DANCE!
As the co-owner of Morgan & Morgan Urban Retreat,
I have talked a few clients into joining me for the adventure and so far no one has regretted the decision...so if you are in the mood for an adventure of a lifetime cone sit in my chair and lets chat about the possibilities