10 Life Lessons You Learn When You Attend Your First Music Festival

Last weekend Michael Koh and I went to Governors Ball in NYC at Randall’s Island Park. Between the food, the bands, and the activities one of the best parts of the festival was meeting new people and talking to them about their love for music and which bands they were most excited to see. Out of all the conversations we had, one thing was universal – music festivals are a life changing experience and there are so many things you learn when you attend your first festival. Here’s what people said. 

photo – michael koh


“The feeling you get at a music festival is addicting. You meet so many people and it’s all about learning to live in the moment.” – Newman


“Music festivals have a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people. If you’re going with a friend or someone you don’t know that well you really see their true colors. Festivals are dirty, crowded, and you can lose your patience easily. You’re pushing and shoving your way to the bathroom, to the next stage, paying $20 a beer. But at the same time you’re sharing this experience of music with people and that’s the best feeling in the world.” – Megan

photo - michael koh
photo – michael koh


“You can just be yourself, man. It brings you back to this very feral and primal way of being.” – Damien

photo: michael koh
photo: michael koh


“You’re only one song or one dance away from a great mood. That’s what I love about being here. You can get all pissed off or frustrated because of whatever reason but then you hear a band play one of your favorite songs and you immediately forget what you were just so upset about.” – Kim


“Festivals make you more outgoing. Everyone’s a stranger, ya know, 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” – Dev

photo: michael koh


“You realize that even at a place that has thousands of people, people are still looking out for each other. Like if someone gets too drunk or they aren’t doing well, people will help them out, take them to medical. If someone’s dying of thirst a person will offer up their water bottle. I think people can get down about humanity but once in awhile it proves it’s not so shitty.” – Travis


“I think they make you more open-minded and willing to try new things. A band you would normally scoff at or not be into you’re like, okay well it’s not hurting anything if I just give them a listen. Then you check out their set and realize they’re fucking amazing and all of a sudden you have an entirely new band you love.” – Kristen

photo – michael koh


“It’s the one place you can go where it’s not about anything else except enjoying this universal experience with thousands of people. Like, think of when you’re seeing your favorite band at an intimate venue – that’s great, right? But at a festival it’s you and 50,000 people who know all the same lyrics singing along with the musician. I don’t know if I can explain it, really. It just overcomes you.” – Ellen


“I love Gov Ball because it’s a multi-genre festival, so you have bands from everything from indie alternative to hip hop to mainstream shit. You sort of realize to stop hating on people who are fans of certain bands or type of music because at the end of the day it’s all about the music – the common love of music – it’s something we all have.” – Becca

photo – michael koh


“Music festivals are all about looking out for others and keeping an open mind but also about just like, listening to your body. I’ve seen some people get really fucked up at festivals and it’s because they didn’t realize they were getting dehydrated. You’re in the fucking sun, man!!!! 12 hours a day!!! Hydrate! Listen to your body!” – Kyle Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Former senior staff writer and producer at Thought Catalog.

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