There is something magical that exists at electronic dance music festivals. Many don’t understand it. Most people are quick to judge.
Even more think we are crazy. The music, the community, the acceptance, and the love are generously offered unlike anywhere else in the world. These events provide an escape from everyday life and open us up to limitless possibilities.
The feeling provided by music festivals is addicting.
The anticipation leading up as you eagerly prepare, the bliss experienced while dancing among thousands of your best friends, and the buzz for days after is simply intoxicating.
Attending music festivals and EDM events has been more rewarding than any thing I could have ever imagined. I can honestly say that I have learned more attending festivals than I have from any other situations. What began as just another night out has turned in to a lifestyle that has been exceedingly rewarding.
Little did I know that electronic dance music events would provide the setting for the most valuable lessons I would learn in my life.
Below are 10 life lessons I learned from electronic dance music events.
1. How to live in the moment.
This is the most important lesson of all. I would spend so much time planning my schedule and worrying about what stage I would go to next that I completely missed the moments that were in front of me.
Once I began living in the moment I cared less about how stupid I looked dancing, the music sounded better, and the overall experience was much more rewarding. Give it a try.
2. How to compromise.
The more people that are in your group, the more rewarding the experience. There is nothing better than sharing the music festival experience with multiple friends.
The reality of this is that not everyone is going to want to spend every moment together at the same stages. Everyone has their can’t miss performances. Your crew will be more appreciative if you agree to expand your boundaries. It will also expose you to new opportunities.
3. How to listen.
Not only to the music, but to everything around me. I have enough time every other day of the week to hear myself talk. With so many opportunities to meet new people at these events, I have realized that it is much more rewarding to close my mouth and open my ears. Because of this I have laughed until I cried, heard awesome stories, and made more friends. It truly is amazing what you pick up on once you start to pay attention.
4. How to keep an open mind.
My best music festival memories have stemmed from situations I initially did not want to be in.
I have met some of my best friends after agreeing to walk 20 minutes across the festival grounds. Some of my favorite artists were discovered on stages I went to without even knowing their name beforehand. I have seen cities and been to states I probably never would have visited were it not for electronic dance music events. When we don’t have expectations, we can’t be disappointed. Open up your mind and beautiful things will start to appear.
5. How to listen to my body.
Even though I am not far removed from my teenage years, the reality is that I cannot party nonstop for multiple days in a row anymore. Guzzling down drinks and staying awake until the sunrise, though enjoyable at times, has to be done with care.
I used to fight the urge to stay up, worried that I would miss out on something while I was asleep.
It is much more rewarding to lay down when your body wants to call it quits. The next day will be that much more enjoyable because of it.
6. How to travel efficiently.
I always used the excuse that festivals were ‘too expensive’ as a barrier to going. The more I began to attend, the more I realized this is not the case. For Wakarusa I rented a hybrid compact car for $78 (total) dollars for the week. Though the trip was 2,400 miles roundtrip, travel expenses were less than $200 per person. Carpooling is definitely the way to go.
I’ve also discovered that I never need as many clothes as I think I do. While it is fun to dress up and have costumes, you can usually get by with one bag for the weekend.
7. How to plan.
Whether you are mapping out travel times or planning out your schedule, after a few music festivals, you will be a professional planner.
8. How to appreciate what I have.
Nearly every camping event means going multiple days with few opportunities to shower, consuming little food, sleeping on the ground, and waking up in scorching hot heat. This makes me that much more grateful when I return home to what I have. Instead of complaining about how far you have to walk from stage to stage, appreciate the fact that you are able to attend these events at all.
9. How to attract women, and people in general.
Before you get all worked up, I do not mean this in a misogynistic, objectifying way. I will be the first to admit that early on in my EDM “career” I thought people would like me just because of how cool I was (note the sarcasm). Going to these events was the perfect place to hit on women! I could just walk up to girls and start dancing behind them. After all, that’s what they all want, right? Boy was I wrong. Unfortunately, too many people still have this mindset today.
Since I have learned to live in the moment and truly appreciate the music I have been a careless, dancing machine. At nearly every event I attend I will be up front noodling around like a fool. By the end of each festival I am on the verge of needing a neck brace from all the head bobbing I had done throughout the weekend. Maybe it is just part of growing up. Maybe it is just that I care about the music that much more. Whatever the reason, I have had more people approach me and more relationships stem from being myself than anything else I used to do.
Moral of the story: Respect peoples’ space, especially the women of EDM. They aren’t there for your enjoyment and they do not all want to dance with you. Just be yourself and good things will happen.
10. How to appreciate where people are at in their lives.
It is easy to hate on the main stage. It is easy to judge the group fully decked out in neon. It’s just as easy to laugh at the person dancing. The fact of the matter is, we all have different tastes in music, we all have different styles, and every song narrates a special moment for someone.
Though I consider myself a pretty savvy fan of electronic dance music, I would not be where I am had I not fell in love with the music through Steve Aoki at Ultra Music Festival 2013. As of today, I couldn’t tell you the last time I listened to an Aoki song or spent time at the main stage.
Don’t be that person hating on the ‘mainstream’ performers. Just because they are not your cup of tea does not mean that their music is not awesome for thousands of others.
They are popular for a reason and their music has brought a lot of people into our community. Though we are all completely unique, we all share that common love of music.
What lessons have you learned from electronic dance music?
We would love to hear about it. Leave us a comment and let us know how the music has impacted your life!