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Festivals: Not for the Faint of Heart


Kristi Rolf

        Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go to my first music festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I got my shifts covered for the weekend, let my professors know that I would miss class on Monday, and hit the road to see live music for the first time in several years.

        My friends and I bought tickets for the Americana Music festival four months ago and spent the summer counting down the days. I had never been to a music festival before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect other than an empty wallet, which came true more literally than I expected when I got home and discovered that my debit card had been compromised. But hey, you only live once! What’s an hour or two on hold with the bank after a weekend packed with excellent live music? But I digress.

        This may have been my first music festival, but it will definitely not be my last. That weekend was amazing! I learned some ways to make the next one better. First of all, festivals take a lot of energy! Each day had about ten hours of live music, with the main headliners appearing later in the day. By day two, I learned to take it easy during the first part of the day to save my energy for the most-anticipated shows. Next time, I’ll consider adding energy drinks or espresso to my hydration routine. 

        Speaking of drinks, you have to get creative with your fun-having if you aren’t 21. It came as no surprise that a mammoth amount of alcohol was sold at the festival during the weekend. For a group of 20-year-olds, FOMO was real. We spent most of our time people-watching and daydreaming about returning next year with “21+” wristbands. 

        I remember most vividly how amazing people are (except whoever stole my debit card information). The energy was incredibly positive and it was uplifting to be surrounded by thousands of people with one goal in common: to listen, dance, and sing along to great music. Attendees and performers alike were grateful to participate in live music again in a world learning how to manage COVID-19. It was surreal to see the joy on the faces of performers living out their lives’ work of sharing music once again. Now I’m left counting down the days until my next concert…