Do you remember your first festival? The moments leading up? Seeing the line-up, gathering some friends, buying the ticket? Let’s go back in time. Why do we festival? Let me tell you. My first festival was in 2017. I was freshly 21 and craving the feeling of being surrounded by my favorite artists. I saw the lineup for EDCO and was IMMEDIATELY hooked. So, I gathered my roommates and we bought the tickets. Unfortunately, they all bailed, so I was headed on this mission alone.
Let’s Go Back In Time
In 2017, life was a bit simpler than it was these days. I popped onto Facebook, found a group looking to fill a space in their condo, and booked a flight to Orlando.
Now, looking back – thank god everything was okay and safe but please, don’t learn from me.
So, EDC Orlando finally arrives. We spend the morning getting ready – absolutely perfect – for the event. One of the guys I was staying with made us brunch and we covered ourselves with glitter, fishnets, and our favorite pashminas. We were ready to embark. We piled into our car and we had no idea how much this would change the rest of our lives.
The Feeling Of Walking In
I will never forget the feeling of walking up to the security line. The energy there that encapsulated me was surreal. Everybody was giving out high-fives and hugs, people were dressed to the 9’s, and I’ve never felt so… at peace.
We arrived around sunset and immediately my jaw dropped. I saw people expressing themselves in ways I’ve never seen before. Heard music in real life that I’ve only ever heard on my phone. It was complete magic.
Throughout the night, I saw so many artists – Alan Walker, Juaz, Excision, Marshmello, and so many more. I rode rollercoasters, traded Kandi for the first time, and was surrounded by pure love. If you don’t know – Kandi are bracelets you make from plastic beads that can say anything from your favorite artist to ‘rave queen’ or ‘spongebob’ and you do the PLUR handshake to trade them.
Although the weekend was a blur, I still remember moments that have changed me forever. From the artists to the actresses that walked around on stilts, to making friends that I still talk to this day. Overall, EDCO 2017 changed my life. It propelled me and inspired me into a direction that I can’t escape. A fire for festivals has been lit and I’ve been chasing that fire ever since. I’ve gone to multiple festivals – Electric Forest, Mandala, Psy-Fi – just to name a few, and each time I’ve been surrounded by that exact feeling of love and magic.
This is an ode to the festival community. Thank you. A huge thank you to all of the PLUR beings, the management that puts these incredible festivals on, and to all of the actresses that spend their whole year practicing and putting on the best show imaginable. I don’t know where I would be without this magic, or who I would be. I hope to never lose this magic. I hope the festival community grows, and all can feel the magic I’ve felt.
Why do we festival? To express ourselves. To connect with others in a way society makes it impossible to. To truly be who we want to be without shame, and with full acceptance. Finally, to appreciate our favorite artists and dance as if nobody is watching. That’s why we festival.