“Live for the moments you can’t put into words”
This has been a summer full of festivals for me and I still have one left to go! I am so incredibly grateful for the adventure, the joy, the playfulness, and the friends that all the festivals I have been to have brought into my life! What the Festival, Oregon Country Fair, and Pickathon have all been amazing and Oregon Eclipse is going to be the cherry that tops it all off this summer! Each festival has its own flavor and each one has contributed greatly to my overall wellbeing and happiness this summer – if you have not yet made it to a festival of some sort this year, I highly recommend you find one that sounds good to you and check it out, there is still time!
A taste of travel
I love festivals because they give you a little taste of travel without having to go too far (at least, if you are lucky enough to live in a part of the world like Oregon that hosts a bunch of festivals!) For a few days, you get to be surrounded by thousands of beautiful people who are usually pretty like-minded and who understand the importance of play, exploration, and dressing up! People at festivals smile and say hi to one another, they dance and sing like nobody’s watching, they come together to share amazing experiences and contribute to the collective positivity and mindfulness that exists within the container of the festival itself. And there is a general understanding that we as a group have created a safe, comfortable space where everyone is loved and everyone belongs.
Even though it usually takes me a day or two to become fully comfortable and immersed in the festival atmosphere, I always leave feeling fulfilled and inspired, having had many meaningful conversations and made several awesome friends. Once I’ve settled in, I feel more like the person who I am when I travel, who is even more open to going with the flow, trying new things, and going outside my comfort zone. The festival atmosphere just has a way of opening you up to new experiences and connecting with others on a deeper level, the same way you would when you’re in a new city or country for the first time.
As with travel, I am always looking for ways to bring the inspiration and openness I feel at festivals back into the “real world” with me. Staying connected with people who you’ve shared these experiences with and planning fun events where those people can come together is one great way of doing that! Writing about it and talking with others helps too, because it gives me space to process the experiences I’ve had and figure out how they have impacted me. If you have any recommendations or thoughts about integrating these types of experiences back into your daily routine, feel free to share and comment below!
That festival feeling
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I really started getting into the festival scene and I must say, once you start attending festivals, it’s pretty addictive. I always have at least one moment during each festival where I think “I wish everyone could experience this feeling at least once in their lives”. It truly makes me sad to realize that so many people will go their whole lives without ever knowing what it is like to feel completely loved and supported by the thousands of other people they are sharing a space with, to feel completely free to be yourself, to dress and dance and play however you want and to not feel judged by those around you.
But I suppose the flip side is that I have been able to experience so many of these moments and I know that even when things seem hopeless sometimes, there are SO MANY beautiful, amazing human beings out there who know this feeling and who want to bring it into their lives and the lives of others as much as possible. Even though these moments don’t last forever, each one stays with me and builds upon the last. They are there for me to access when I am feeling sad, or hopeless, and need to remember what beauty and love there is in the world. And I know that there will always be more moments like them in the future, so there is no need to worry when they are over, as long as I keep inviting these kinds of people and experiences into my life!
Keep it safe!
Of course, just like with anything, there are always a few bad apples and it is important to take care of yourself and be safe at festivals. Any time you have thousands of people in one spot, there is the possibility for something to go wrong or for people to make bad choices that do not benefit themselves or others. Ideally, everyone would be loving and happy and kind and look out for one another, but of course that doesn’t necessarily always happen. You can have a bad trip, have things stolen from your campsite, or get heat exhaustion because it is 108 degrees in Oregon and none of us are used to having to drink so much freaking water or apply sunscreen twice in one day!
So be smart. Look out for yourself and your stuff, keep valuables in a safe space, touch base with your friends every once in awhile, and always drink more water than you think you need! Yes, bad things can happen at festivals, but in my personal experience they are pretty rare and the benefits far outweigh the risks, so don’t let any of these fears keep you from fully enjoying yourself and having a fantastic time!
To sum it all up…
If you haven’t yet been to some sort of a festival, either in your hometown, your home country, or somewhere abroad, I highly recommend you try at least one! They are not only a great way to learn about yourself, about music and community, but can also be a great way to learn more about the culture of somewhere you’ve never been. You might be amazed at how you react when thrown into such a crazy situation and what parts of your personality are allowed to shine in the festival setting. Maybe you won’t love festivals as much as I do, but hey, it’s always great to try something new. And at the very least, you’ll have some good stories to tell, that much I can guarantee!
What festivals do you love and why do you love them? If you’re not a festival goer, what events or activities in your life give you a sense of belonging and inspiration?