6 Surprising Things You Learn About Yourself At A Music Festival

I attended my first music festival this past weekend. I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I thought I’d see a few shows, have a couple drinks, probably get a contact high if I ended up at the Sublime concert – but what I wasn’t prepared for was the bevy of life lessons Firefly threw my way in 3 days.

For any other festival newbs out there, I thought I’d pass along these little gems so you’re ready for the wave of self-realization that will hit you like the stench of 75,000 hippies who haven’t showered in days.

1. You realize body issues are useless.

I saw a lot of different bodies at this festival. We’re talking the full spectrum. Everything from bro bods, to yoga bods, to dad bods and beyond. Every type was represented and on display. And as the temperature increased, the amount of fabric covering these bodies decreased.

Yet no one seemed to care that a stray boob or belly was hanging out. I started to wonder why I ever worried about hiding that extra 5 (*cough* 10 *cough*) pounds. Why should I care that from the side it’s hard to tell if I’m 3 months pregnant or just ate a lot of tacos? By day two I had busted out the booty shorts and was flaunting the goods with the best of them.

Need to remember for next year: Buy crop tops.

2. You will invent new dance moves out of desperation.

This is not a typical concert. You’re not tapping your toes, swaying around, and raising the roof for 2 hours and then heading home. You’re likely hitting anywhere from 5-10 concerts in one day. You can’t just stick to your old standbys. That’ll get stale real fast. (I exhausted the sprinkler and the running man like 20 minutes into my first concert.)

Learn some new moves now before you’re forced to do it in front of a crowd of people (granted if it’s at the Sublime concert, most of them probably won’t remember it, so no big deal). But you’re going to want to keep it fresh.

Need to remember for next year: Learn how to do something other than The Bernie, The Dougie, or any other dance named after a dude.

3. How high maintenance you really are.

I’m not the type who needs a manicure every week and I don’t bat an eye when I step in something gross. If I forget to brush my teeth – psh – I’m cool with it. I thought I was rough and tumble enough to handle camping for 3 days. It couldn’t be that bad, right?


I hadn’t fully thought through how this was going to play out. Within 5 minutes of leaving my car, I was already sweating profusely. Not just a light dew that gives you a summer-y glow. We’re talking I’m-carrying-the-nuclear-codes-and-the-communist-spies-are-after-me kind of sweat. To make matters worse, it had rained recently enough to make the festival grounds look like the trenches of WWI France. After one concert my feet were caked in mud and I was so hot I was starting to understand why pigs roll around in it.

OK, so: Hot. Check. Muddy. Check. Now it’s time to pee. Well it’s late in the day so it would take a loaves-and-fishes-level miracle to find a porta potty that’s (relatively) clean and not brimming with other people’s…business. After snobbily opening and closing about 5 or 6 porta potty doors, I finally find one that’s acceptable. Quelle surprise. No toilet paper. I hope I don’t pee on myself while I hover ov-ooops. Well. Look what I did. I peed on myself. Let’s see if I can wipe myself with this 95-ply Firefly map that they were handing out at the front gate. Too bad the showers (which cost $5) don’t open until 6 am tomorrow morning.

Need to remember for next year: Start doing a squat regimen a month before concert to strengthen quads for optimum porta potty hovering. Also, make reservations at the Hilton.

4. You’ll get a taste of the post-apocalyptic.  

You know how in most post-apocalyptic movies, you have establishing shots of hot, sweaty, scantily clad and sunburned people waiting in long, winding lines for scarce resources like water or electricity? Take out Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s basically the scene in between concerts.

Need to remember for next year: Bring Tom Hardy.

5. How susceptible you are to peer pressure.

Lead singers have varying degrees of comfort with crowds. Some keep it to simple “thank you-s” and “alrights!” while others tell stories or shout obscenities. Every once in awhile you’ll come across a band that knows how to work a crowd and they’ll get you to do…stuff. It could be as innocent as, “Throw your hands in the air!” or “I want you all to jump!”  But before you know it, someone’s telling you to take your shirt off and rally towel it around your head. And normally, you’re not the type to take anything off in a crowd, but lo and behold, you snap to reality, look up, and goddamnit you’re rally toweling (is that a verb?).

Need to remember for next year: Develop more self control…or drink more before Matt and Kim’s show.

6. You will wonder who your pop culture spirit animal is.

There are certain things in life that automatically broadcast your personality to people. For example, if you give money to a homeless person, how much you spend on sunglasses, and finally – what pop culture character you choose to put on a stick at a music festival.

I saw Tina Belcher, Doge, Danny DeVito (both regular and Toll Troll), Danny Tanner, Ron Swanson, Nigel Thornberry, Walter White and so many more.

Need to remember for next year: Price out large die cut of Bea Arthur’s face at Office Max.

A few things you will never learn:

1. Exactly what type of bug gave you those bug bites. (Pray they’re from a mosquito.)

2. Where people learn to hula hoop like that. Are there YouTube tutorials or classes at the Y or something?

3. Precisely how many vaginas you saw during the festival. (I stopped counting at 5.)

4. Why iced tea is an ungodly $5.

5. If it’s safe for a pregnant lady to crowd surf.

6. If Donna from accounting saw you rocking out at Walk the Moon (srsly?! Donna’s here?)  

7. Why no one made a Left Shark sign (poor, poor, Left Shark).

8. Why no one thought of an Omar sign. Seriously. The “Omar comin’” jokes are too good.

9. Where they’re hiding the good beer. Good luck finding anything that doesn’t scream “BUD LIGHT.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark


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