When I first got into the scene, I was definitely overwhelmed. It was like stepping into the Twilight zone, the Ringling Brother’s Circus on steroids; and of course, I fell in love with everything. There was an education I had to gain on this new world of music before I could find the pockets within it that I could relate to. The people that led me the way I proudly now call my festival family. Every single one of us has a distinct taste we prefer in the world of electronic music, and a style unique to our own beliefs, values, dreams, and passions. The most prevalent of feelings has been the exuberant sense of unity that has drawn us closer simply from the sounds we hear and rage to together. And this beautiful adventure of music, artistry, discovery, love, and friendship is exactly why I put one thousand dollars into attending Bonnaroo Music Festival this weekend in Manchester, Tennessee.
Now I would say about 60% percent of people in the world will read that and think, “This girl is crazy”, or “Think of all the things she could have done with that money instead”. I do not disagree with the possibilities I could have encountered with that money; and I won’t deny there are many people in society who would find no interest in what I am about to encounter. But for a moment, just let me share with you what makes every hour of overtime, every extra dollar saved that would have been spent on useless things, and every hick up along the way of planning the latter adventure is worth it in my eyes.
It is no surprise that the human condition is well introduced to the power of sound and music. No human out there can honestly state music has not infiltrated beyond the walls, mazes, and latters that make up our minds and our souls. It is a relationship beyond our control but yet vital to our existence. Within each of us lies a realm of space only we see and can only be filled with the music our candid ears desire to absorb. For me, I know this space very well. I have danced within it, cried and laughed, and even had the chance to share it with a handful of other lovely souls. Music has been a powerful vein within my heart of expression and story telling that I have exercised through the performing arts, painting, and journalism. In attending this festival specifically, I am taking on the opportunity to see and hear over 20 different artists whom I have allowed to fill my space in the last 12 years of my life. Many of the bands I am grateful to be finally encountering this weekend include: Band of Horses of whom I first discovered when I was 12, the band Daughter at age 15, M83 at the age of 13, and one of the most influential bands of my entire existence I discovered when I was just 10, Death Cab For Cutie.
My mom had Prince and Michael Jackson, my grandmother was head over heels obsessed with Elvis, and I will never forget the love my grandfather holds for the classic, Hank Williams. We are incapable of avoiding the ecstatic pleasure of hearing a song that gets us better than we do; a song that proves more understanding than our closest friends, family members, and acquaintances. In this weekend I will be revisiting the small girl I used to be, and will be reminiscing on the changes that have come into my life which made me who I am today. The bands and the artistry I have chosen to invest in have indirectly invested in me, and I refuse to pass up the opportunity of a lifetime to celebrate my human condition and the places I have come from with the sound track that has lead me here.
I welcome the judgment and the confusion of others; because then I can share with them my reasons and hopefully help them discover what it is about all of these music festivals that draws in thousands of people every year. Not everyone goes for the same reason, but everyone has one. I can only hope it is to fill that space inside each of us that is necessary for life and love. Music can take you anywhere and tell you anything you need to know. So with my best friend and my partner in crime, a suitcase, and a tent, I am ready to take on my “expensive” adventure. Money cannot buy us happiness. But what we choose to spend it on; that is what determines the importance of our selves and helps us live in the sounds that make us whole.
I dedicate this piece to the ones who got me here- what would the art of music and life be without all of you?