The lights are dim except for a few scattered colors sweeping over the dancefloor, and the speakers are dumping bass on you at maximum capacity. The beats are so loud that they have replaced the rhythm of your heart and transferred it to your body. Arms, legs, neck, every joint available has been suspended to the music. You can’t tell if five minutes or five hours just passed. You’re in the zone.
That’s the way I feel when the DJ is really going off and yet there have been dozens of times when I briefly escape my movement-based trance to see that I’m one of the only ones. Almost everyone else is staring at the DJ through the the screen on their iPhone as they try to keep the camera clear of the six foot tall guy in front of them.
People have always applauded technological advancements, especially those directly applicable to the convenience of their daily lives. Everyone relies on their phone so much now that they’re probably going to be called something else in a few years, but despite this unnatural amount of dependance on a small rectangle that fits in your hand, there are some situations in society where phones are not only generally useless, but actually detrimental.
A Festival is one of those places. The next time you’re on your way to a festival, you shouldn’t leave your phone at home X number of miles away, but consider perhaps leaving it in your tent or somewhere else out of sight and out of mind. Here’s 5 reasons why you should.
The first and most obvious reason for every seasoned festie. Nine time out of ten, your cell phone won’t work for its proper uses. Even if the festival to which you’re going isn’t way out in the desert or the deep forest somewhere, the amount of people trying to connect to the minimal amount of cell towers servicing that area will make it almost impossible to call or text anyone. Plus, pretty much every single app requires some kind of connection to the internet to work.
2. Phones Are Expensive
In general, its good to avoid bringing expensive stuff to festivals. I don’t care what festival it is, there are some sketchy fools out there who would jump at the chance to nab your stuff, and a phone is by far one of the best examples. If you lose your phone at a fest, it’s rather unlikely it will end up at lost and found, and losing your phone could mean something as simple as forgetting you put it down on the table instead of leaving it in your pocket. Let’s not forget how easy it would be to break your phone at a fest too. Most of the bigger festivals are not on grass. They’re either on dirt or concrete, and neither of those surfaces are very forgiving when it comes to glass. One of the best things about festivals is that if you’re camping you’ll always be able to find your friends at some point without a phone, and if you’re not, a positive attitude and a friendly greeting is usually all it takes to get a ride back to your hotel.
3. Extra weight
Another feature phone companies like to show off is how small, or thing, or lightweight their products are. Every year the iPhone gets a little slimmer, but still, I know there are plenty of guys and girls who roll up to festivals with pocketless garments all the time. Whether its leggings or loin cloths, carrying capacity is rarely a consideration when choosing festival attire. That means if you want to have your phone, you either have to carry it in your hand or wear an extra bag just to accommodate something that isn’t going to work very well. I don’t know about you, but I have having extra weight on me when I’m trying to get crazy at a fest and move from stage to stage. Plus, without service your phone can only be used as a camera or a clock, and if those are two things you require, a watch is something you don’t have to carry and won’t run out of batteries, and if you’re willing to carry your phone around to simply use it as a camera, suck it up and get a point and shoot. At least those have a wrist strap.
4. Try Something New
The absolute, sure-shooting, number one reason to go to festivals is to experience new things. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the same festival as you did last year, each year offers new music, new art, new people, new interactions. A good way to enhance these fresh experience is to avoid falling into the same behavioral patterns that you would outside of the festival; the most predictable of which is relying on your phone. At festival instead of diving into your phone whenever you get a little bored, try to observe the area around you. There’s no telling what you’ll see. Instead of immediately trying to find your friends if you end up alone, do some solo exploring, which one of my personal favorite things to do at a fest. It encourages you to interact with others and you can check out new music or art without being tied down by your friends. As you undertake more new experiences and avoid your usual routine, even more opportunities will present themselves. That’s how you really become a part of the festival.
5. It’s A Distraction
When you go to a festival, it’s very important to be in the moment. In fact, I’d say its one of the experiences a human can endure where being in the moment is more than important, it’s essential. As much as we’d like to believe that we spend large amounts of money on festival tickets because the festival itself will be so fun, all that cash actually goes to the memories. Because of how reliant millennials are on their phones, if they have their phones with them, at least a part of their mind is alway on them. If by some miracle that there’s service at the fest, chances are you’re waiting for a text message from the friend who’s trying to find you or you’re scouring the festival’s app for a schedule.
Even if you’re phone is out of batteries, people still worry about going to crazy so their phone doesn’t accidentally fly out of their pocket and get stepped on, and to all the people out there filling other people’s field of vision with your phone screen, the best parts of the festival happen when you’re trying to take pictures on your phone. If you really want to spend that much time trying to solidify memories, you might be in the wrong game. Getting one small section of one set on video doesn’t compare to the possibilities of what could happen if you spent that time saying “hello” to the person next to you. Festivals are about becoming a part of something bigger than yourself, even if it that something only lasts for a few days. If you spend all that time on your phone, you’ll only have an outside view of what you could’ve been a part of.