OPINION // THE POWER OF MUSIC
Festivals present queues, sweat and discomfort, and ultimately the best time on the social calendar.
It’s a Wednesday morning and I am hungover. Not in a head-crippling, bed-ridden, still-in-my-pajamas at 5PM way (that’s reserved for Sundays), but in a wide-eyed, exhausted way that has made me a completely ineffective employee all week. And I’m self-employed. I knew I was going to feel like this and hell, I can’t complain: Laneway Festival, I picked a fight I couldn’t win and thus sit here simultaneously exhausted and utterly content.
Music festivals are strange creatures. For the most part they’re sweaty, uncomfortable affairs in which a beer haze-slash-headache gives way to heat stroke and temporary deafness as one traipses from drinks queue to stage and back again to see favourite bands recount tracks that generally sound better recorded. Yet we’re obsessed with them, why?
If you were at Auckland’s Big Day Out this year you would have been racked with pangs of nostalgia, reminiscing about a time when 45, 000 people fleshed the festival out. Sure, Mount Smart Stadium at one-quarter capacity was logistically simplified – cell phone reception continued, I used a Port-a-loo at some point in the afternoon that hadn’t been commissioned or de-faced all day – but it just wasn’t the same. Packing far too many oversexed, underage, music-oriented youth into a concrete jungle creates a mini-society where an eclectic bunch of mostly-intoxicated people do things they would regret if they thought they were going to see anyone ever again.
If Tumblr and NW didn’t give it away we love to people-watch and there seems to be a weird precedent at music festivals, endorsed by no-one and adopted by most; that dress-up is OK (it’s not). It’s a hybrid form of fancy dress in which the worst fashion statements ever invented – dreadlocks, jester hats, goatees – marry frat-party sexed-up blue collar costumes. Add bad tattoos, band tees and promo girls to this mix and you’ve got veritable bad taste mockumentary. There’s the antithesis of that, too, as The Fashion Pack steps out in Hunter gumboots, short-shorts and some form of questionable but expensive, on-trend head attire. It’s checking Style.com to see what Alexa Chung paired with her Breton tee this year or (seriously) admiring George Lewis Jnr A.K.A Twin Shadow at Laneway Festival.
Twin Shadow allows us to segway comfortably into the celebrity-sexual-attraction part of this column. Did you see Twin Shadow on Monday? Did you notice he’s attractive? That’s right he, along with a large percentage of the Laneway crowd were really good looking, and considering I’m currently constructing an Excel Spreadsheet babe-list that co-ordinates past, present and future babes internationally the festival season has ah, fleshed out this endeavour nicely. Similarly, because rock stars are obviously totally humble, everyday music-loving people, they mingle and we get the chance to imagine introducing ourselves later that evening, engaging in extremely witty banter and connecting with them on a level no-one else in the history of interconnectivity has ever connected. It could totally happen, OK.
Perhaps it’s the sun-stroke, perhaps it’s the alcohol or perhaps it’s that dream I had last night, but in my current, somewhat delirious state day-time music festivals concentrate social interaction into it’s most exciting form, and ten hours of that is worth any hangover.
- Courtney Sanders