This past weekend, I attended the Life Is Beautiful festival by myself, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Look, I know that this isn’t a groundbreaking concept for many people given that our society is much more open to it. I’ve been to plenty of places alone, but given that so many people attend festivals and concerts in ‘packs’ and ‘tribes’, I had no intention of going alone. It’s supposed to be a shared experience, right?
“There’s so many people attending! You’re not going to be alone, Des. You’re experiencing this with EVERYONE.”
Well… yes and no. Sure, there were a TON of people going (in fact, THOUSANDS of people from around the world), but this felt like orientation day at a new school or a speed dating session with no organization whatsoever. There were no familiar faces anywhere and everyone that I’ve attended the festival with previously weren’t going. It felt like I was the only fish of my kind swimming in a gigantic fish tank.
Although there were definitely moments that made me wish I had my best friends and closest companions with me, there were definitely perks to being the single-rider on this rollercoaster of a weekend.
Here are the best things about attending a festival alone:
1. You can freely see/do whatever you want.
Yeah, sure. You can do this if you’re with a group of people, but often times, I find my ideal festival schedule conflicting with my group’s a bit, so I tend to sacrifice parts of my festival experience to catch up to what my friends want. Attending a festival alone, you can stick to whatever schedule you want without tampering or tiptoeing around someone else’s.
2. You’re primed for more exclusive opportunities.
Going into exclusive showings, sets, or limited seating performances opens up a bit more for you because you’re alone. It’s that ‘single-rider’ mentality I mentioned earlier. Because of the fact that I was attending many of these specialty acts by myself, groups of people were more inviting when it came to sitting with their groups or offering me a seat because I was by myself.
3. You interact with more people.
I know this may not be a guaranteed experience for everyone given the level of interaction we desire individually, but for me, I talked to more people this past weekend than I have in the last year. I feel like because I was alone, I was a bit more approachable because I wasn’t a part of a gigantic group of people. While some people came off as assholes, majority of people I interacted with were friendly and positive. We all were trying to have a good time. As long as you’re not being a jerk, having a positive interaction with other attendees didn’t deem difficult or negative.
4. You have more time to think.
I find that I was taking in and digesting every moment differently than if I was with a group. I was able to come up with my own interpretation and meaning from different aspects of the festival, and it set off new ideas in my mind. I wasn’t rushing between the different stages or wondering where my friends were all the time. Though there were hundreds of people walking around and gathering throughout the festivals, the chaos seemed to be quieted and I felt a giant wave of positivity knowing that the only person I was accountable for was myself. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else and that brought me peace. I was breathing deeper breaths and taking in every moment as it came.
While I loved attending the festival by myself, I do wish my friends had the same experience I was having.
Festivals are fun when you attend with people, but if you find yourself braving one alone, know that it’s not as terrifying as it may seem. Breaking down the size of the event and knowing the potential opportunities that the festival can bring you personally makes it all worth while.