Every summer for the past few years, rather than going on a beach holiday, I always end up filling my weekends with music festivals. At first, I felt apologetic about this, like I should be a grown up and go on a proper holiday. Recently though, I have started to realize that I do not find lying on a beach relaxing, in fact, having nothing to do makes me feel anxious. To me, music festivals with my friends is the best, most relaxing holiday I can have.
I recently wrote an article about how, when I feel low, I can’t actually listen to music because it is too emotive. Certain songs contain so many memories, listening to them evokes a kind of emotional response that transcends other sensory experiences. A friend of mine’s mum does not like music and, when asked why, she says it makes her feel too much. And this is the thing… music helps me feel. Surrounding myself by it for a full weekend is feeling to the max!
Music is so powerful. It elicits an individual reaction and, in its very best form, can be a catalyst for collective movement and social change. A festival, by its very definition, is a celebration of music. Old memories are resurrected and new ones are created. Barriers are broken down and the mutual experience creates a feeling of togetherness I do not often experience in daily life.
Every festival I go to provides me with a new experience, new friends and closer relationships with my existing mates.
My top three music festivals
I did not want to put this in because I really did not want to sound like some cliche model who loves Burning Man (and Instagramming it!). But I have just returned from my third burn and it really is an experience like no other. For one week you become part of a community which encourages creativity, self-reliance, and self-expression and exists without currency. Burning Man has its misconceptions but if you get the chance to go – just do it – I promise, it is life changing!
Glastonbury is enormous. Getting a ticket, getting there, getting in, finding somewhere to camp and trying to leave at the end always makes me wonder why I have done it to myself again. But it really is an amazing festival and every year it surprises me. While its size can be daunting, it means there is always more to discover. My top Glastonbury moments have been Foals at the Pyramid Stage, Chic on West Holts and Kerri Chandler in Block 9.
This one is set in the Amsterdam Bos, a forest just south of Amsterdam. It is an incredibly curated festival, set amongst the trees with excellent sound systems and well designed stages. The music is the best of any festival I have been to so far. It also means that I get to spend time in Amsterdam, which is one of my favourite cities.
Music festivals allow me to be the most real me, without the worries or pressures of normal life. So yeah, basically, give me a field full of happy people dancing in the rain, or in a dust storm in the desert over the beach any day!
Featured image via author Felicity Peel