music festivals

Loads of Love in Live Oak

I know I know this thing should be up to date with the times but it's my blog so fuck you! I’ll write this whenever I want to. I'm just playing, but man I sounded like an asshole, and the funny thing is the piece I am about to write is about an amazing time I had at a festival on the weekend of Halloween.

I drove up with a few buddies to Live Oak in Northern Florida for a festival called Suwannee Hulaween. I was making the trip with a bacterial infection in my foot and one of my other buddies was recovering from strep so we knew surviving the festival wouldn’t be easy. I had heard many amazing things about this festival dating back to when I was in high school but I never set the time to check it out. The best part is there are no regrets about never making it up this way until this moment because that weekend couldn’t have been more perfect.

Before you head to a festival you can usually get a read on what the crowd is going to be like. EDM festivals have primarily attendees 16-25 years old and sometimes you can even predict the drug of choices at these things. I know this solely through poll numbers and anecdotal evidence. However, with a cross-genre festival like Suwannee and the aspect of camping thrown in the mix, I didn’t know what to expect. If I could paint a picture for all of you who weren’t there, imagine a sea of trolls. Hold on hold on...for those of you who don’t know what trolling is, a troll is defined as making a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting with the aim of upsetting someone or eliciting an angry response from them. Some people believe that trolling only exists online. Either this is part of an elaborate troll or they are being trolled. It’s a universe of trolls I tell you!

Anyways these trolls were very, very, subtle, and elicited when you least expected; the true calling card of a good troll. This made for a weekend of non-stop laughs and entertainment with anyone and everyone looking to mess with one another.

The initial spark that draws someone to a festival they have never been to before, is the music. It could be a genre they enjoy listening to, or their favorite artist happens to be performing there, or even an artist they have never seen and would like to see live is performing. I have been to plenty of festivals and to be honest, I have seen everyone you could possibly dream to see electronically. Suwannee, however, is a cross-genre music festival with artists performing blue grass, hip-hop, r&b, soul, funk, dubstep, instrumental livetronica, reggae, rock, techno, and house music. I only knew a few acts on the card and was excited to get my world rocked by music I never heard before. At Suwannee, something more happened, and I was blown away. Acts like Anderson Pak & The Free Nationals, Sean Lennon and Les Claypool, Bob Moses, Illenium, all 12938012 string cheese incident shows that I saw, Greensky bluegrass, there wasn’t a bad performance all weekend. A notable performance was a drum solo by Anderson Paak where he improvised an entire skit with a dialogue between a mother and son. And the son is begging for his mom to get him a pair of jordans. Growing up a sneaker freak that one hit home for me.

When you watch different performances or shows small things can make or break having a great time. However, the amazing crew of friends I met at the festival, throw in all those beautiful troll souls running around, and incredible, I mean, INCREDIBLE production, only made for every set being near perfect.

Bacteria infection of the foot and I am looking to stay optimal and healthy huh? Well, I brought up plenty of first aid and kept my foot clean as best as possible. Dressing the wound at 5 am in the woods with a  flashlight in your mouth is no feat but its definitely a new trait I learned to take on the road. My buddies and I brought a treasure trove of goodies and snacks and for the most part, we ate clean the entire weekend and I believed helped us party and dance longer and harder than anyone. I put together just under 100 fat balls. A friend of mine helped me prepare them and even make the sign. Not one ball was sold yet many were distributed throughout the camp and many of my new friends and strangers learned about the benefits of dietary fat.

Its tough encapsulating a weekend like this one. Its hard for humans to express any kind of emotion when our lives are only becoming easier. Less interaction in the real world and it seems we are plugging in more to have experiences rather than having these experiences head on. Almost like one simulation is outcompeting the other. The one we are plugged into now is getting beat out by the one with the technology that we are creating. I wonder if this new simulation is going to be perfect or if it's going to have all of our imperfections programmed in. It's going to be boring if everything is going right and nothing goes wrong. My favorite moments of life are triumphing over my despair and becoming a stronger person. The comparison can be made to humans in general; because ya we fuck up a lot and do a lot of things detrimental to ourselves and our planet and many of us get very down on ourselves and other humans for these atrocities. However when I was running around this festival looking at the excitement, the joy, the beauty, the art, and the music I couldn’t help but enjoy and be excited that I am on team human. I gained a greater appreciation of what it is to be a human being.

Look around take in all the things that us, humans have created and celebrate for a second. Celebrate in the fact that we have all these incredible things. Hell, celebrate your existence because we don’t know what happens before and we don’t know what happens after.

The Other Side of the Festival Divide

I love music festivals! The atmosphere, the energy, the excitement, the music, the art, and even enjoy the grunge at a music festival that most people tend to shy away from. I don’t think there is any other place like them on earth. A place where anyone can run around not being judged by the way they dance, they look, or what they are wearing. Needless to say it’s rare for me to turn down a free ticket to a music festival, however, this past weekend I said no to attending a music festival out in California and I in turn ended up working at a festival in Wynwood, Miami called III points. I was going to be assisting and running the merchandise tent with a buddy of mine.

While pitching me to work the festival my friend was explaining how this was a very laidback festival and that I would be allowed to have drinks and check out any musical acts as I pleased. All this was true when I was working with him however when I was managing the tent it was a bit more hectic and a lot harder to get away at times. It was especially hectic when you had to deal with artist managers. If I had to say whose managers were the toughest it had to be Method Man and Red Mans. They had a long list of demands, but in the end when we didn’t adhere to all them they were cool with splitting the profits between the two of them. The only thing that matters, in the end, was their performance which was nuts! Nothing beats passing around blunts and rocking your head to some old school rap.

The people who make a festival happen really do grind it out. I see most of them working not  top during the festival hours and then party very hard into the morning. It is a tough lifestyle to maintain homeostasis in and applaud anyone who can keep that lifestyle afloat.

One thing that I was much more observant at this festival was how many people were high, and no not just stoned high but high on uppers, downers, laughers, screamers and more. Why here? Why have music festivals become the place, where youth and young adults of the past 50 years, have come to take a momentary check out from the world to get high and dance? Or are they taking part because some part of laugh is not reaching an internal need of theirs or is this a simple pause to the lunacy that is reality? I’d like to believe it is the latter and not in the quest to get high because music festivals are also a staple of free expression. You have the opportunity when entering one of these places to letyour persona known as you melt away and take on a new persona to your liking. Festival goers get into costume and take to the grounds with amazing energy and vibrations. The best part is just like everything that we know it must come to an end and come Sunday night or early Monday morning the festival grounds empty and people return.

Festivals normally get a negative connotation for being exactly “those” place. Places where people go to get high, and overdose, because they do not want to face the perils of the real world. But festivals are much more than that; from strangers walking up and giving hugs to each other or sharing supplies, to makeshift cities being erected in the middle of nowhere only to be destroyed it seems by wave and pulled back to the sea. No footprint and no evidence to actually what happen just the memories of the people who were there.