Editor's Note: For the uninitiated, the first part of this series can be found here.
Well, dear readers, all I have to say is wow.
This past weekend, I ventured to Music Midtown Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. It was one of, if not the best, weekends of my entire life. It began innocuously. Two of my friends picked me up from my apartment, thus redeeming me from the hour I had spent dancing around like a lunatic trying to come to terms with my excitement.
On the first day, we woke up to gorgeous weather and an easy drive downtown. As we walked into Piedmont Park, I felt a familiar aura. A frequent attendee of concerts myself, I’ve come to know and love the feeling right before a show begins. When you are surrounded by other loyal fans of a favorite artist, filled with anticipation, it’s hard not to become addicted to the rush of adrenaline and sense of camaraderie. As soon as I scanned the wristband that I’d been staring at on my desk for several weeks and entered the park, I had a strong premonition that the extensive planning and anxious waiting was about to pay off.
From the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out, we were in another world. For two days, we escaped the planet of real people problems and everyday stresses and entered into a world where all that mattered was making sure you were in a good spot to see your favorite artists. The complete and utter lack of cell service certainly contributed to this feeling, but I digress.
I won’t pretend that everything was perfect from start to finish. There were other festival-goers who were not giving off the best vibes, particularly during the arduous wait in the pit for Twenty One Pilots. Honest to God, we each had about four inches of breathing space. It was to be expected. But as soon as the music started, we were all best friends. The lines for food were quite lengthy at times, and almost every piece of merch sold out. Fortunately, I was able to secure my first or second (or third) choice for all the things I wanted, but others were not so lucky. Regardless, the sense of family and friendship was omnipresent, with strangers quick to compliment your Jesus sandals or inform you that there is a bug on you. We stuck together.
The most notable cause for concern was Sunday’s weather. As one of my friends put it, we have no need to attend Glastonbury, because we got enough experience with mud to last us for the rest of our lives. It rained nearly the entire day, to the point in which the festival was evacuated for an hour. This pushed the sets back. This was nice because we still got to see everyone, and no act was cancelled. This was not nice because rather than getting home at 4:30 a.m., we got home at 5:30 a.m. Did we care? Eh. Did I make it to my 9:35 class? Nope.
After a day of stomping through the rain, ruining our shoes, and eating waterlogged pizza under a tree, we arrived at the moment we’d come so far for: The Killers’ set.
Let me provide some context: My favorite band is The Killers. I go through phases, sure, but when I’m asked what my favorite band is, I know my answer. My number one bucket list item was to see them in concert. I can assure you that this was a worthy bucket list item, and that it was the best 90 minutes of my entire life.
I cried. I sang. I screamed. I danced. I flung mud on strangers (from dancing, not with my hands). I cried some more. My voice is completely gone. This is fine, because when people ask me how it went I have no words to describe it anyway. I’ve been walking around in a fog for the last couple of days because I’m still trying to sort out my feelings. I’m not sure I ever will.
You see, a festival is something only to be understood by those who were there. It can be recapped or analyzed, as I’m trying to do here. But, there comes a point in which I can say no more about it. Even through the blood, sweat, tears, mud, and endless amounts of smoke of various types being blown into my face, I would do it all over again. I’m left with my T-shirts, wristband that I refuse to take off, and my memories to keep me going until I’m lucky enough to go to the next one.
Dear readers, my advice to you is to go for it. Go to a festival. Wait around all day in the mud and pouring rain for your favorite band. It may seem daunting, exhausting and quite frankly, terrifying. It is. But it is so much more than that. It is what dreams are made of, and I am lucky enough to say that my dreams came true this past weekend. I hope you can one day say the same.