New year, new me. Well, not quite. Because I’m still planning on raving even harder than I did in 2015. But as I reflect on my 2015 festival season, there are definitely things that could have taken my experience over the top. Sometimes, we’re so focused on having a great time that we forget to take a step back and consider the other people and the environment around us. Heading into another year of shows, sets and festivals, here are some raving resolutions to keep in mind that will not only improve your own experience, but the experiences of fellow ravers around you.
1. Leave Your Camping Space Exactly How You Found It
I know the feeling of packing up after a three or four-day festival. It’s not fun, at all, especially if you have a long trip ahead of you to get back home. But as an EDM community, we need to be more aware of the trash that we leave behind and how it can affect others. By simply bringing large trash bags with you, you can ensure that all of your weekend trash stays condensed and is easily disposed of after the festival ends. While you may not think your individual trash matters, it reflects badly on our community as a whole when scenes with a plethora of trash (like Tomorrowworld 2015) are recorded.
2. Check Out a New Festival
We actually just wrote an article about this exact resolution! But there’s no better feeling than heading to a festival for the first time. Sure, it’s great to attend EDC after EDC, but hitting up a new festival, especially one that’s a little more off the grid, is an extremely exciting experience. You get to check out a new environment, see new DJs and new production and visit a new city or state. As much as we all love Ultra, EDCLV and Tomorrowworld, check out festivals like Moonrise, Something Wonderful, SMF and Dancefestopia in 2016.
3. Create Your Own Flag/Totem/Custom Kandi Creation
Having something personalized for you and your rave fam can make your festival experience extra special. I was envious of many groups I saw this summer, with creative flags and totems; so, this summer, I will make sure to bring my own. Totems are much easier to make than one may think – with a stop at Staples, Home Depot, and Michael’s, your job is almost done! Plus, by taking the time to create a custom piece of art that will be your traveling companion for the summer, you will always have something that connects you and your friends.
4. Bring a ‘Non-Rave’ Friend to a Show or Festival
Shockingly, most of my friends aren’t actually into EDM. Many of them are, however, admittedly intrigued by the culture and the hullabaloo surrounding our community. And while taking a non-rave friend to EDCLV as their first show might be a bit extreme, try taking them to a club set or local show, just to see how they like the scene. Helping someone feel the love that we do when listening to EDM is such a rewarding experience that will hopefully open their eyes to the wonderful world we live in. And, you never know – they might wind up loving it, and traveling all over the world with you for festivals! As long as people open their minds, the possibilities are endless.
5. Be More Aware of Others in the Crowd
We’ve all probably been guilty of it – pushing through the crowd to get closer to your favorite DJ. Personally, I got over being juggled around in the crowd years ago, but for some of us, being up close is still a priority. And, if it is, try to take a step back (literally and figuratively) and think about what you may leave in your path. If you knock over someone’s drink, say sorry. If you step on someone’s foot, say sorry. If you hit someone by accident, say sorry. Sorry can go a long way! And if you think you’re as close as you’re going to get, you probably are. Don’t try to make holes in the crowd by barging through. If you embody patience, the sea will eventually part and you will make it closer – I promise!
6. Pay it Forward
This is probably what I’m most excited for about 2016’s festival season. By picking a day of a festival – or even a three-hour break where there are no artists you want to see – and focus on giving back. Whether it’s helping staff pick up trash, buying a couple of waters and going to the crowd to hand them out, helping people take group photos, or asking fellow ravers if they need gum – any little thing will go a long way. We’ve all been at a show or festival and needed something; it could’ve been something physical, like food or water, or something else, like a shoulder to cry on, or Kaskade sing-along partner. So take a moment. Stop, look around at those in need, and take some time to give back.