Festival season: Searching for meaning in the new millennium

Ian Carroll
 

Festival culture is going viral. Although it used to be a psychedelic trip for freaks on the fringes, each year more and more millennials are taking the plunge.

The effect that this has on music, art, and culture is undeniable. However, the effect it will have on politics, consciousness, and the collective search for meaning is just starting to become clear.

 

music festival

 

Is festival life just a fad, or is it a reflection of a global shift? Are young people looking for answers or just an escape from reality? The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. So for better or worse, we are all on this trip together.

 

In the water

I was sitting at the edge of the pool stage when it occurred to me. Certainly every generation has had concerts, festivals, and parties. We are not unique in our desire to be free, to be weird, and to be wild.

 

music festival

 

My feet were dipped in the water and the sun was hot overhead. The wooden deck on which I sat rumbled with base.

But certainly, this is happening on a scale today far greater than anything the world has seen before. In the midst of global climate change, unprecedented amounts of political action by the people, and digital connections with others all around the globe– where do we all fit in?

We are today and tomorrow

Today we are all dancing in our party pants. Sure, it’s great to be alive. But the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. And I wonder, what kind of leaders will we be?

For when I look at the leadership that has brought our world to the state it is in, some things are clear. Most of those leaders never sat where I’m sitting. They never danced all night with people so different than themselves. And I’d bet they never felt the way we feel.

 

music festival dancing

 

Maybe festival kids aren’t exactly the ones on the fast track to political office and big difference making in our world. That’s probably true. Yet, the mental shift is palpable. We are changing. And if the people change, the world changes with them.

So what is the point of all this partying? We’re not here to change the world, yet we aren’t satisfied with how it is. Just by attending we have cast our vote. What was once the counter culture has now become the culture, and we’re the one’s who did it. We didn’t come to make a change, but change happens anyways.

What once was a wall

We all feel the same injustices and oppressions whether they happen to us or not. Eyes are opening, people are connecting, sharing, and listening.

 

music festival dancing

 

Barriers that used to divide us now bring us together. A difference that was once a way to keep us apart now sparks our interest. Rather than judging each other now we ask what it’s like to stand on the other side.

And as the outdated, divisive, dogmas of our past are slowly stripped away, what is left in their place?

 

music festival

 

From my poolside vantage I see acceptance, I see compassion, and I see love. I see people of a thousand different colors all dancing together.

I probably see gay people and straight people and trans people and all sorts of other people. However, it seems entirely unimportant to know details like where your genetic makeup is from, or what your sexual orientation or identity is.

 

 

Everyone’s smiling, they all feel it. As they bob their heads and step their feet in unison, it’s like one great affirmation of us all. A collective ‘Yes!’.

A piece of the pie

Go to any one festival, and you’ll see a part of the picture. You can’t miss it. But to see what’s really happening you have to step back and listen.

 

music festival

 

You can hear it in how we laugh together, ask questions of each other, and hold out our hands and hugs in greeting.

We won’t see see change this year. We probably won’t see it this decade. But give these kids some time to grow up and take their places in the world and we could be in for a radically different status quo than any of us have seen before.

 

Planning on attending a music festival this summer? Check out this guide to all the essential items you won’t want to forget.

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We live in a beautiful world, get out there and enjoy it.

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