I have been to a lot of music festivals in my lifetime from almost all genres of music, most of them completely solo. I have been to many Ozzfest, Vans Warped Tour, Camp Bisco, Wakarusa, Mountain Jam, and even Burning Man throughout my younger years. After discovering my love for dance music, I have been going to festivals like EDC, Electric Forest, Global Dance Festival, and Ultra. The one thing that has always stayed the same at every festival is that I always like to go solo, and there is a reason why.
Going to a festival solo is one of the most freeing experiences you can have. With only myself to worry about, I can see whatever artist I want without any debate. Without a large group to worry about, bathroom breaks and water refills are quick and easy. More than just the freedom of all that, it allows me to meet even more new amazing people. There have been many times where I have been dancing all by myself and have been approached by other solo journeyers looking for a friend. Or I will run into a rave fam that takes me in and adopts me into their group. In fact every single show I go to by myself, I end up meeting someone new. It’s one of the things that I love most about the scene.
I know that going completely solo to a large festival like EDC or Ultra can be pretty frightening for many people. There are many things to factor in, and many things that could potentially go wrong. Trust me I’ve been in a few of those horrible situations myself. There was one time I rode a motorcycle from Denver, CO to San Bernardino, CA for Escape: Psycho Circus. While I was dancing my heart away the first night, someone stole my phone and my wallet with all of the cash I had brought with me. The next day, a group of complete strangers took me in and helped save me after hearing about how I had been robbed. Without even asking, they offered me money to help get me back home. Then there was the time I missed my only ride home after losing my phone at Electric Forest. As I was making a sign to hitchhike with, some of my solo friends from L.A. saw me and offered me a ride all the way back to Colorado on their way home to California.
There are times when I travel and camp/room up with a group of people. But even then I break off from them as soon as I get through the gates. I like to get myself lost in the sea of people discovering old friends and meeting new ones alike. I like to immerse myself in the whole experience and explore everything that the festival has to offer. That can sometimes be difficult to do when you have a group larger than three people.
The lessons that I have learned from all these solo experiences have been some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life. I learned to safeguard my belongings better and to always have emergency cash. I have learned is that you are NEVER truly alone at a music festival or in life in general. Indeed, one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is how to swallow my pride and accept the love and help of others in those rare moments of need. Nothing makes you feel more empowered than knowing that you are able to handle anything that may come your way.
The older I get the more and more I realize that everything happens for a reason. I no longer get upset when something doesn’t go as planned. Instead, I look at it as an opportunity to make new friends and to build upon previous connections. The friendships I have made because of some of these “misadventures” have been some of the best and longest lasting of my life. And that my friends, is why I go to all my festivals solo.