When you’re on your way into a festival, there are practically endless opportunities for people watching. Especially if it’s your first time. Before that day it’s unlikely that you’ve ever seen such a collection of colorful characters, and the more outlandishly the person’s dressed, the more animated they are as they’re approaching the gate. I remember my first EDC Vegas (which was my second festival), on the first day we parked at around 7:30 so the gates had just opened, and right when I got out of the car I saw one of the most interesting sites in my whole festival life. There was a group of about 20 people passing us, all wearing what you would expect. A few steps ahead of the rest, there was a guy shouting a series of uplifting chants….
“E. D. C! E. D. C!”
“When I say EDC, you say Vegas!” he would shout as he ran up to people who he had never met before.
“This way to happiest place on Earth! That’s right f–k Disneyland!” For this one he would stand beside his group of friends waving his arms toward the entrance like he was the third base coach at the last game of the world series, and the catcher had just missed the throw home.
Plus, throughout all of this yelling, the only things this guy was wearing was a Disneyland-esque top hat, a cape that was actually a flag which said PLUR, a pair of hot pink short-shorts, and some knee-high black socks with red Chuck Taylors. In my newbie raver naivety, I remember wondering what he was “on” but nearly five years later I realized that it has (almost) nothing to do with anything that he ingested beforehand. Behavior like that stems from self-confidence, which happens to be a common side effect of EDM and festivals.
By embracing a few aspects of the scene, electronic music and festivals can help a person become more comfortable and proud of who they are. Here’s how:
1. “Who’s Gonna Save The World Tonight?”
Laugh all you want at EDM’s straight-from-a-Hallmark-card lyrics, but sometimes all you need to realize your self-worth is to have it shoved in your face in the simplest possible manner. I believe it was Kaskade himself who sang “We don’t stop for no one,”on the single named after the first three words of that sentiment. Well If you were thinking about stopping before, you sure as hell won’t anymore.
2. “Is That What You’re Gonna Wear?”
Yes actually, it is. As your first festival approaches, there are usually a lot of ideas in your head as far as what to wear. A lot of people (but especially guys) are hesitant to truly wear what they want. However, as the number of ticket stubs and wristbands increases, the amount of fucks given about the outfit decreases. By rave number six or seven, everyone is wearing something not safe for work, and they’re all extremely proud of it.
3. Dance Like No One Is Watching
Even if everyone’s watching, no body cares what you’re doing (as long as you’re respectful of the people around you). This is DANCE music you’re listening to. If you don’t wanna dance, you’re in the wrong place, and regardless of what you think you might look like, there will be someone whose dance moves look even sillier. Nobody’s auditioning for “So You Think You Can Dance?” here, and everyone is just trying to have a good time. So do your thing on the dance floor, and the absence of judgment will become abundantly clear.
4. If You Are The Headliner, Then They Are Too
To all the people who aren’t very familiar with Insomniac events, at the bottom of every lineup poster, lies the phrase “…and the most important headliner of all, YOU” except the “YOU” is written in giant colorful letters. Since around 2012, Insomniac has started to reemphasize the importance of the rave community, and in all honesty it’s working. A lot of people have social anxiety at large events like these, which is a little ironic because these kinds of events are the place where you have no reason to feel that way. It may take a couple events for you to realize it, but the people around in these places want to help you out. They want you to have a good time, and having that kind of positive outlook on the people around you is something that you can take home with you.
Even though these four letters are often the butt-end of jokes, no one familiar with the English language can deny the basic principle behind them is good advice for all. “Peace and Love” may sound like too much of a Tommy Chong impersonation, but “Unity” and “Respect” are two things the human race needs a boost of. An important step on the road to self-confidence is understanding that everyone, including yourself, deserves your respect. We’re all human after all.