Festivals are probably the only product that live up to the sensationalist quality advertising that defines the social media age. When you see people having the time of their lives in the recap videos it’s because they are.
However, any avid festival-goer will tell you that a lot of people don’t start out that way. Festivals are a grand undertaking. You’re not just heading out for a fun night and coming home afterward. You are immersing yourself in an experience, and that idea can be discomforting at first.
Festivals are definitely supposed to be fun, but for people who aren’t necessarily extroverts it may take a while to feel comfortable completely letting loose. That’s how it was for me at first, but over the years I’ve discovered some general inclinations that will help anyone come out of their shell.
1. Do You Boo
One thing that’s good to remember if you’re still new to festivals is that not all of them are going to be your sanctuary. As it is with people, every festival is different. Just because your friend had the best time at a certain event doesn’t mean you will, and that is totally o.k.. Being comfortable with who you are is vital to breaking out of your shell, and which festivals you like is a part of who you are. Accepting that is key. Besides, if the first couple fests you try don’t fit it makes it that much more magical when you find the one you can call home.
2. Dance Like Everyone is Watching
Because they are, and they don’t care. It’s a total cliché, but all clichés feature a small truth. Dancing is a raw form of physical expression, and people at festivals understand that. So go crazy. It doesn’t matter if you “know” how to dance or not. Just have fun and move your body. Even if there’s one or two people who seem like they’re being judgmental then they’re the ones who are behind.
It’s also important to remember that dancing should never disrupt the people around you. Just be considerate and you’ll be fine. It’s obvious when someone’s taking it too far.
3. Solo Dolo
For whatever reason, there is a stigma against doing things alone. Going to the movies. Eating at a restaurant. Wandering at a festival. In reality there is nothing wrong with any of these activities. Feeling uncomfortable participating in social activities alone is a sign of insecurity, and festivals are some of the best places to overcome your insecurity. Chances are if it’s your first festival you’re going to end up alone at some point. In that situation there are two options: focus all your energy on finding your friends or do some exploring. The choice is yours.
4. Attitude is Everything
Whether or not the fest is a good fit for you is important, but you absolutely must remember that your attitude comes first. If you go into the festival expecting a bad time, you’re going to have a bad time. There’s no doubt about it. In all honesty it shouldn’t be that hard. Everyone goes to festivals to have fun. Remember that while you’re there, and when things do go wrong (they always do) take it in stride. Look at the big picture. Be grateful that you’re in a position to attend such an event. It’s truly a blessing.