• 6 Lessons About Friendship You Learn From Festivals

    6 Lessons About Friendship You Learn From Festivals

    Every year, thousands gather at festivals to revel in sweaty dance parties, amazing music and fun friendships that seem to blossom overnight. It’s a bit of a mystery, but anyone who’s been to festivals like Electric Forest or Electric Daisy Carnival can agree that there’s some kind of magic in the air when people come together to celebrate their love of music under the glittering starscape of the night sky.

    There are countless stories of soul mates discovering one another in these places; others even pledge lifelong commitments by getting married here. It’s almost as if relationship dynamics are supercharged in these cognitive-emotional theme parks, and for better or worse, that often leads to a few learning experiences about friendship.

    Here are six lessons about friendship we’ve picked up from festivals along the way.

    Everyone Is at Least a Little Weird
    Perhaps the best part about being around others at a festival is that you can be your unabashed self. There’s always someone who will outdo even the most dedicated members of our community, but that’s part of the fun. It’s the Grandma Techno and the kandi gods of the festival scene that show us what fun it is to keep dancing, even when others may no longer hear the music. Just seeing them gives us permission to release our own inner clown. In fact, it doesn’t take long at a festival to see that everyone has at least a little weird in them. The real lesson, though, is that when you find someone else whose weirdness meshes with your own, that’s a thing called love.

    Stress Is Universal, but so Is Music
    Just thinking about packing and carpooling to the venue stresses a lot of people out; that discomfort is pretty much universal. Fortunately, appreciation for music is also universal. In other words, we all have off-days (or off-moments) when we’re not quite ourselves. It’s disruptive. It’s challenging. But it is. By facing the reality that part of the journey we tackle together won’t always go as planned, it’s a little easier to focus on the reason we’re all on this quest to begin with: the love of music.

    Aux Cord Control Is a Matter of Trust
    Ah, the carpool. It always offers a unique set of lessons for festivalgoers, but one of the most important ones to pick up on the way is that aux cord control really is a matter of trust. In other words, we’re bound to appreciate some of the same artists on the lineup, but choosing which ones we enjoy en route is a duty that should not be taken lightly. In addition to matching vibes with track selections, one must especially respect the fact that if others don’t enjoy the music you’ve selected, they have no option of escaping. They’re trapped. Because of this, the aux cord carries a lot of influential weight. It has the power to make the journey an exercise in resisting sociopathic tendencies when your copilot can’t stick to a song—or it can make the trip a reminder of why this is your squad. It’s all in how you get there.

    Everybody Makes Mistakes
    With little doubt, the hardest lesson to learn while festivaling with friends is that everybody makes mistakes. In the context of events, sometimes the tent gets misplaced; in the long list of things to pick up on the way, something is overlooked. It happens. We’re human. Plans are important to make, but you don’t have to be a Saturday morning supervillain to have your plans thwarted. Expect a few setbacks here and there; then it won’t cause such a rift between friends when someone makes a mistake. More importantly, it’ll be easier to get back to enjoying each other and the moment with much more ease.

    Hugs Are a Bottomless Resource
    Just as we all make mistakes, we all have the chance to help other feel loved, and hugs are a bottomless resource. They’re one of the few resources that actually become more plentiful when shared and can improve our experience without any negative consequences. That’s why, even when you’re all out of cash and have not one clean sock to your name, you’re still wealthy at festivals, with stacks of opportunities to make new friends.

    It’s Okay to Go It Alone
    Getting separated in a crowd always brings with it an initial air of panic, followed by a sense that everything is going to be okay when you realize that, even while swallowed up in a sea of strangers, you’re still among friends. More importantly, you’re an adult (or close enough, right?), and sometimes a solo adventure is just what the doctor ordered. Sure, you’ll catch up with the squad eventually, but it’s nice to explore for a bit and let your ears do the walking.

    What are some lessons you’ve learned about friendship at festivals? Tell us in the comments below!