(On the scale of important things to ponder, this is so low as to not even jiggle the needle. But I go forth anyway.)
Sometimes I say things that don’t make any sense. Like when discussing music festivals with a friend who loves them and saying I hate them when that’s not true at all. I love music. I love seeing bands play live. I like people, mostly. And the outside. The difference of opinion stems more accurately from the fact that my head is spinning all the time and one of the best ways to bring myself into focus is immersing myself in music – and by “immersing,” I mean being in front where the sound will wash over me, drown out everything else, transporting me to the here-and-now. (Funny that I should need to be taken away to be where I am. But true.) That’s what I seek, what makes seeing live music worth the investment. I don’t really care if five other people are watching the band or five thousand.
But other people really get off on the crowd experience, of sharing the moment with all those other people, being on the same wavelength, whatever. I loved – loved! – being at Outside Lands a couple years ago with K and Nick, a fun time made extraordinary as I shared their excitement over being at their first major festival, seeing big name bands, vicariously being 15 again and blown away by the scene. But generally, other people, ones who are not my awestruck children, are what get in the way of the experience I’m seeking. Watching a band from far away? Why bother? Not because I’m so greedy or spoiled (although I am both, I confess), but because without the necessary intimacy, my mind will wander back to what needs to be done later, who needs to be fed, what’s on the agenda for tomorrow and when am I going to get the poor car tuned up. So that’s why I often prefer shows in bars to gigs in stadiums. Or why music festivals don’t always rock my world. But I don’t hate them. That was a stupid thing to say. Even without the transcendent moments (provided most notably in 2009 by Silversun Pickups, TV on the Radio, Atmosphere and Cage the Elephant), festivals are pretty darn fun. And I like fun.