FROM FOREST TO WATERPARKS
I’m a firm believer in silver linings. existence can be pretty heavy, but it could be a lot easier if you give yourself something to look forward to at the end of every day; think of it as setting yourself up for a win. my silver lining is not very cost efficient, but it’s sure as hell fulfilling.
during this last journey around the sun, my boyfriend and I spent half of our time working, and the other half sitting on his couch trying to save money. a lot of that money went to music festivals, and a lot of that money went towards moving in with people that we met at music festivals. If you haven’t caught on, music festivals are pretty important to us. long story short, we went to a music festival last summer and fell in love. we had such a good time we decided to do it again shortly after. there, we stumbled upon two guys eating poptarts under our shade tent, who quickly became our best friends. we went to more festivals, put way too many miles on our cars, spent the winter meeting in different states at different shows, partied our faces off and cuddled on the couch for hours afterwards. then we decided that we loved it all so much that we moved right in the middle of it.
a lot of crazy things happened in the cold months between festival season. I’ve graduated college, quit a job that made it hard to get out of bed in the morning, and moved out of my childhood home into an apartment with three dudes. I have been getting assaulted with change, some scary and some awesome, but yet all I can really think about are music festivals.
JUNE 22 - 25TH 2017
I remember when I bought my tickets to electric forest seven months ago. they were going on sale in the middle of my poetry class, so naturally I left early. I sprinted a mile across campus to my car, where I anxiously sat refreshing my phone. my group chat was going nuts with messages double checking if we all secured tickets, and when my payment finally went through, I cried. I actually fucking cried. I was balls deep in the middle of midterms and I felt nothing but relief just thinking of everything the forest would give me.
I was drained by the time we got there, emotionally and physically - to the point I actually slept the first fourteen hours [not through the music part, dont worry]. I was actually woken up at about five am by deafening thunder and the screams of my friends. turns out we were blessed by a monsoon that flooded half of our campsite. I selfishly chose to sleep through that part. It didn’t stop, that fucking rain. It held off for a few hours at a time, but not before it managed to turn the entire forest into a mud pit - but that didn’t stop us. we took off our shoes, put on the clothes we cared the least about, and headed into the forest ready to fucking party.
sherwood forest was one of the most amazing sights i’ve ever seen, even ankles deep in mud. no matter where your eyes landed, there was something to discover. tiny worlds created in the trunks of trees, mind blowing sculptures glued together from wood chips, vintage furniture and bookcases lining candle lit paths, and it all came alive the minute the sun went down. the rain managed to put a damper on everything for a while, until we saw above & beyond at the ranch arena. the rain fell in sheets, the sky opening up and pummeling us. the lightning lit up the sky and the thunder shook the ground along with the bass. the lasers bounced off the rainfall and shimmered like glitter, drenching us in color. It was one of the most beautiful things i’ve ever seen. It got to a point where no one gave a shit about the weather anymore, we were all just so happy to be there that it almost didn’t matter. we all slept through the night and just like that, the sun came back.
one of the best moments of my life happened at four in the afternoon on a friday. the weather was so perfect it was almost like the storms never happened. we made our way through the forest to sherwood court where we laid out a tapestry and basked in the sun for a while. we met up with some members of the odesza fan club, where we had a quick photoup and the opportunity to spend a few minutes with odesza. It happened so quickly it was almost like a dream, and then it just kept getting better. If you know me, you know I love porter robinson. you probably also know that every opportunity that i’ve had to see porter robinson over the past few months has been canceled. I know it doesn’t mean much, but I just really wanted to see porter one more time before my life changed forever. well, my buddy ben told me to check out this guy chet porter, and I figured if I couldn’t get my porter I might as well settle for another one. I don’t think there was a single moment of that set that I wasn’t smiling as hard as I could; that is, until he played the most beautiful rendition of ‘sea of voices’ that I’ve ever heard. have you ever sobbed happy tears? because I literally couldn’t stop. I stood there like a fucking doofus crying my little eyes out, because I’ve actually never been happier than I was in that moment. and then I felt my best friend’s arms around my shoulders, and then my boyfriend’s and I cried even harder. It was extraordinary, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling for as long as I live.
friday got even better, if that was even possible. we learned a lot at the space jesus - liquid stranger back to back, between dragonhawks and bare naked asses [that’s a story for later]. we had to piece ourselves back together at jai wolf and literally forgot about the concept of time at crizzly. we went through the mental torture of conflicts at zomboy and somehow still got the dopest spot at odesza. odesza was one of my first loves; we somehow got front row at camp bisco last year and I left a new person. needless to say I was excited. I felt the sound go through my body, and the beat of every drum from the drumline in my chest. I felt purified after line of sight, and thanks to a balloon and their cover of porter’s divinity gave me a fucking out of body experience. let me tell you, It’s something spiritual everytime you see them.
and just like that, it was dad day. the weather was even better than the day before; a slight breeze made it just cool enough to be comfortable, and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky. our favorite random act was kicking off the day, and my boyfriend and I were fucking ready. a few months ago we went to a festival on a ski mountain called minus zero, where we were blessed with the knowledge of yookie’s existence. my boyfriend likes to compare their sound to a screaming spaceship; we’re not sure why, but we fuck with it. I got the best workout of my life at their set that day, moving my limbs at a mile a minute from the second they started playing to the moment it ended. we were riding off of that high for the rest of the day, honestly. we met back up with almost everyone from our campsite at the main stage to see the floozies, and after twenty minutes of bopping around, my boyfriend and I found ourselves restless. we decided it was a good time to go ‘splorin, and see what else the forest had to offer us.
my boyfriend grabbed my hand, and told me it was my turn to lead. wherever I wanted to go, he would follow. It was amazing, every second more than the last. I weaved between trees, finding myself under the breathtaking entrance to the ‘thankuary’. we walked down paths lined with tiny logs speckled with tea light candles. I looked up and saw the leaves parachute over me, and it made me feel nothing short from alive. we walked through a wedding at the chapel, window shopped through a hidden saloon themed venue, sat in old victorian chairs and looked through the old dusty book shelves, made poems out of refrigerator magnets and sat in a clawfoot tub lined with pillows. It was almost like a fairy took acid and created a world of magnificence and wonder and we were right in the middle of it.
I saw forest as an escape for a lot of reasons, some of them probably bad, but some of them good. forest was the end of my old life and the beginning of my new one. a break from the stresses i’ve been putting on myself, and a calm before I get a chance to tack on some more. I went in hopes of finding clarity, calmness and maybe a little insight. I strived to put my mindfulness to the test and give myself a weekend full of bliss and free from worry; I didn’t want to think about bills, or jobs, or politics or the economy or anything of the sort. and I did it! I did it for the most part, that is until bassnectar finally graced us with his presence.
our entire day was planned around this set, as it usually is, and that’s okay. we were helplessly torn between multiple sets; some that were detrimental to our nectar plans, and some that were outright impossible. we got there early, but not early enough, evidently. a line of at least fifteen of us walked single file, hand in hand, carefully stepping over people who have clearly been camped out for a while, quietly calculating a way to penetrate the crowd. we did a pretty decent job, landing to the right of the soundstage, just close enough that we didn’t want to die.
It was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen in my life, honestly. I spent the entire time trying to scrape my jaw off the fucking floor. If you know anything about my friends and I, i’m sure you know that we can go on for days about bassnectar. I’m sure you’ve been to a concert before, and you’ve seen a performance that’s changed you a little bit; but this was something more than that. bassnectar has a way of making you feel a lot of things, some things you didn’t even know you were capable of feeling. I took a long hard look at my life that day. I took a step back and analyzed the kind of person that I am and wondered if I was anywhere close to becoming the person that I want to be. I made a mental list of all the things that I could work on, and a list of all the things that will help me get there. I thought of all of the amazing things that I have come across over the last year, and everything that this music has given me. I leave most bassnectar events a “changed person,” but this one was different. It was special.
I spent the rest of electric forest riding off of those vibes. taking in the little time i had left, and holding onto it. It was hard to beat the festival exhaustion, but it was possible. I found out very quickly that nothing hurts more than missing your home. I felt that way before we even left.
I like to say that I left the sherwood forest reborn. I was tired, I was dirty, I was sick as all hell and I’ve never been more fucking excited to be alive.
JULY 13 - 16TH 2017
I drove fifteen hours home from electric forest, packed my entire life into my car and moved it another five hours to massachusetts, where I now reside with some of my festival family. we kind of, totally, really underestimated how much work it would really be to move from your childhood home into a new apartment with nothing but a few boxes of clothes. we’ve pretty much spent the last two weeks trying to figure out the shit we forgot, and not crying over the amount of money we’re spending to acquire those things. It’s been an adjustment to say the least. so when the day before bisco finally came rolling around, I was totally unprepared. and the worst part is, I spent a year convincing my four best friends from home to come and they had a bunch of questions I was not prepared to answer. we pulled our shit together, got the car packed and met up with the rest of our clan in a four vehicle carpool. disaster always has to strike, because if it didn’t it wouldn’t be a festival weekend. we were about seven minutes on the road, stopped at a gas station when our friend realized he left his wallet in new hampshire because it had to happen to somebody. we reevaluated our car situations, got in our respective carpool spots and hit the road. surprisingly enough, we stayed together despite all of the piece of shit tractor trailers with no sense of road safety. a few beers, a lot of hours and a ton of lifting later, our campsites were finally set up and the weekend was ready to commence.
we did not luck out with the weather. the bass gods baaaarely heard our prayers. It rained for a long while but we did our best to ignore it. we threw our asses down those water slides and took in zero rays on the lazy river, but it’s kind of hard to complain when you can listen to your favorite music while fucking around in a water park. plus, we should be nothing but thankful to be away from mud. the sun eventually peaked it’s way out of the clouds, just in time for gramatik to play one of the best sets of the weekend. we got a perfect spot on the grass, got our butts a little soggy, our faces a little tan and we didn’t have a care in the world. we stumbled our way across the festival and climbed up the mountain for space jesus. we thought we hit the jackpot when we discovered a tiny little ledge with lots of rocks and grass to sit on, until some dude rained on our parade. he was also nice enough to tell us that we were sitting in ‘rattlesnake alley’; we didn’t believe him, but apparently he wasn’t lying. when the sun went down, we slid our way into the most perfect spot for griz; up front and center. BEARS. BEETS. BATTLESTAR GALATICA.
the weather didn’t get any better with time. It rained most of the morning on day two, keeping us confined to our campsite. It was probably a good thing, to give our bones a little break before bassnectar. I piled on the glitter, threw on on my poncho and got ready to party. our first stop of the day was an accident, actually. we didn’t have much of a schedule considering we hadn’t known what time it was for two days, so we just wandered over to the main stage.
beats antique was playing. little did I know my mind was about to be completely and utterly fucked. seriously, beats antique had one of the most phenomenally alluring performances i’ve ever seen. their visuals were so crisp, detailed and intricate while still being in perfect synchronization with the music. It was almost like we were being told a story. we quickly got off our butts and made our way from the grass to the pit, where I stood with my mouth wide open the entire time. I didn’t even notice my body moving with the beat. I almost lost myself for a second until our friends noticed me standing there, and smacked me for not holding up the totem. I didn’t even notice I was dragging it on the floor. I didn’t think anything could amaze me more than that, but it was dad day after all.
I didn’t know what I was getting into with bassnectar, this time around. I was all riled up and excited that I threw all of my common sense out the window. we decided that it was a good idea to skip g jones [it wasn’t] so we could get a better spot for nectar at the main stage. we laid on top of
the hill and rested our legs, when I decided that going to the bathroom wasn’t the biggest priority. I didn’t think it would start torrentially downpouring minutes before the end of the disco biscuts set, but it did and finding cover was a little more important that than relieving myself. before I knew it, we were in the pit, rows away from the front and I really, really had to pee. I looked at my boyfriend with eyes that every girlfriend has when she’s doing the peepee dance and he told me I should just run and do it really quick. I’m only one person, I can make my way back. or so I thought. I made my way back as my friend from home decided she was going to join me in this journey.
It was really easy getting out. even easier getting into the bathroom believe it or not. I was washing my hands when I heard the music begin and I started to panic. my friend came out and we bolted for the door, and that’s when I realized I was in deep shit. the rain stopped, but that didn’t stop the entire festival from making their way under the awning. I ran back and forth for minutes, frantically trying to find a way into the crowd. I almost cried at the thought of not experiencing this with my best friends and my boyfriend and it infuriated me. after a few minutes and a handful of failed attempts, I grabbed my friend’s hand tightly and ran full speed through the center of the crowd. I ran with every ounce of strength I had, pushing through thousands of people a lot taller than I, looking straight at the ground until I found myself at the other end of the stage. a nice young man looked me in the face and said “you’re never getting up there,” which obviously fueled my fire even more. I jolted us to the left, looking back and seeing nothing but my friend’s hand in mine. I started running through vip boxes, pushing through people and hopping over railings until I found myself at the entrance of the pit. I let myself up for air and scanned the crowd quickly for my totem. the second I spotted it, I lowered my body towards the ground and ran forward. I looked for nothing but my boyfriend’s face and just kept running until I landed in his arms.
I made it fifteen minutes into the set. I spent the rest of it nervous, replaying what had just happened over and over again in my mind. then a few other things seeped in there too. my past, my future. the job had I quit and the job I have yet to find. my relationships. myself. all of the things that had nothing to do with anything happening at that moment, and I think that was the saddest part. until my favorite song came on and I snapped out of it for a minute. I looked around at everything happening, I looked past the lights, lasers, smoke and confetti and I looked at the one’s I love most in this world. my best friends from my old home and new, this boy I want to start a life with, and these strangers that love all of this as much as I do. ‘was will be’ means a lot of things to a lot of different people. to me it’s about remembering the past, remembering the future and letting it go. using the experiences and the pain that you hold and use it to make yourself better. feel it healing forever.
the sun actually decided to stay out on the last day, just in time for us to lay by the pool like potatoes for three hours. It was amazing, we didn’t even notice we almost napped through action bronson. we eventually went back to camp and become humans again, making it for the opening notes of tokimonsta. I look up to see the most badass, tiny woman throwing down beats melting everyone’s fucking face and let me tell you, it was a sight to see. I put my wolf hat on and danced my little tail off. she easily set the mood for the rest of the day, as we got our friends pumped the fuck up for our favorite festival brothers, yookie. to be honest we noticed they were on the line up literally days before bisco, and we were so siked for our friends to finally see all of our stories come to life.
we went to the tiny corner stage, the office, for most of the last day. we ate pizza on the concrete as I wallowed in bliss during kasbo, and was violently let down when we found out that clozee’s flight was delayed and her set was canceled. but there wasn’t much room for complaining because yookie was on next and I needed that time to headbang. I actually headbanged so hard that I tore something in my neck. my friends got a kick out of it, but I wasn’t so well off. after that little neck spasm, I felt the festival exhaustion kick in. my body felt almost as heavy as my eyes and my feet were begging me to sit the fuck down. that’s when we decided it would be a good idea to get our portable chairs and take up camp on the ledge in front of the lawn. we closed the festival there, overlooking pretty lights live. imagine that for a minute.
and just like that, my festival season came to a close and reality drop kicked me in the forehead.
there are a lot of things that you could focus your attention on in life. some people may agree with what you choose, and some people may think you’re stupid but either way it doesn’t really fucking matter if you’re going to bed with a smile on your face. you may think i’m stupid for putting all of my hope, heart, soul, energy and money into these festivals and all of the people and things that come with them, but that’s okay. I come out of these things a better person, every single time. I fall in love with my life a little bit more, every single time. let yourself feel bliss, and let yourself do it often. let yourself be happy. the best advice I could give you in this life is to find the things you love, and give it all of your goddamn energy; because one day you might not be here, but at least you spent the days you were doing the things you love.