About a year ago I wrote my first public article, and since then I promised myself I would never write just to write. I would never base my writing off of how many shares I thought my article might receive, and I would never write about something for the sake of publishing a blog post. I decided I’d only write when I felt the urge to because something truly inspired it. I do so with the hope that it might inspire others to do the same.
Earlier this week, Electric Forest released a video in collaberation with To Write Love on Her Arms and if you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing it, you can follow the link down below. Lorin Ashton, known to many as Bassnectar, connected with a few lucky strangers in a series of moments that are powerful enough to bring tears to your eyes and peace to your mind. My take away from this was that there is tremendous power in love and genuine human connection. After watching I began to think about this time last year when I started writing about the EDM community, which I now realize has taught me more in one year than most of my experiences over the last 21 years.
The EDM Community taught me how to love and appreciate a complete stranger.
In high school I considered myself friendly and approachable. I didn’t feel as though I isolated anyone or ever had the intention of shutting people out because of the way they looked. This was my truth, and I was content with this until now. I realized through my recent experiences that I never isolated anyone due to the fact that if they weren’t in my immediate circle of friends, I didn’t even notice them. You can’t intentionally isolate someone you never acknowledged in the first place. The EDM community forced me out of my comfort zone, it forced me to pay attention to the people around me. I have made countless friendships with some of the most loving, genuine, courageous, beautiful individuals who I might have never talked to passing by on the street. The EDM community gave me one of the greatest gifts, and that was the strength and ability to move beyond my comfort and allow myself to love, appreciate, be vulnerable, and learn from a complete stranger. The friends you make here are for life, they are your home away from home, your second family – who might even feel like your first or the one you never had.
The EDM Community didn’t teach me that you never know what someone is going through, but it did teach me to pay attention.
It taught me to give people the strength to share their struggles with others. It taught me to help others carry their burdens, because you should never have to walk through anything alone. You can make a profound difference on someone’s life if you just take the time to listen to them. Your story is important.
EDM taught me how to be my 100% authentic self.
I can attribute a new type of self-expression and freedom to my experiences at music festivals. I don't worry about the way I look to those around me, I am who I am and I’m not afraid to live authentically. There is truly nothing you could do to be unfairly judged at a gathering with people whose hearts are as open as their minds.
EDM taught me how to put down my phone, shut out the online world, and actually live in the moment.
We so often ignore the people around us because we’re too concerned with what people who don’t really care about us are doing with their time. Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival in South Florida was the first time in my life I went without my phone for five days and didn’t even realize nor care. It died in the car on the way there and that's where it stayed until the day we left. It’s a sad realization but I’m willing to own it and acknowledge that although the festival wasn’t my favorite, it was one of the best times I’ve had because I spent that time living my life rather than watching other people live theirs. I took time to appreciate the beauty of this planet and the people in it. I caught myself on numerous occasions looking to the sky and thanking anyone, anything for the life that I am so lucky to live. We don’t get that enough in the real world. I rely less and less on my phone for entertainment and I don’t know that I’ll ever be more grateful to the events that made me realize this at my age.
This is a big one. I have learned to be the kind of person who will give the shirt off my back to someone in need from not only this community, but from watching my boyfriend interact with the people in it. He would truly give everything he has to help someone who needed it. There aren’t many times someone can walk by and have you ask them for even a sip of their water, and they just say “here, have the rest of it.” It sounds cheesy but that was me, giving someone the only water I had, knowing I would probably either have to walk back to camp, drop $5 on another bottle, or wait in line for half an hour for free water refill. But by the way he looked, he needed it more than I did. The extreme gratitude that he expressed was more than I could ever ask for because I knew that he would do the same for anyone else. This community is full of compassion, it knows no greed.
Your worth as a human being does not equate to your possessions and the amount of money you make.
You could meet the poorest person who is so rich in their experiences that you aspire to live a life more like theirs than the richest man in the room. On the other side, when you go to a festival, you could meet someone with a six-figure salary and never get that impression from them because, for one, they are humble but more importantly they are just like everyone else and they know it. The amount of money you make doesn’t mean shit at a music festival, it doesn’t give you a better experience than anyone else, and it doesn't make you better than anyone else. Money can't buy the love and warmth you receive from the beautiful people in this community. It’s about who you are at your core and the vibes that you put out are what you will get in return.
There is tremendous power in love and human connection.
More of us out here need to take what we’ve learned from our experiences in this community and spread it throughout others. The world doesn’t have to be so cut-throat. It doesn’t have to be so serious. It doesn’t have to be so disconnected. Your phone, social media, and an endless amount of money will never be able to take the place of the value you get from having a meaningful conversation with someone you’ve never met. Learning about who they are, what they’ve been through, what makes them uniquely them. There are countless other lessons I’ve learned from this community about vulnerability, respect, unity, et cetera. At the end of the day all I know is that if others feel the same way I do, and I know they do, we can be the change the world needs to see. We can spread the positivity, the love, the respect that we feel when we come together for the love of music and help make this world a better place. Like Lorin, we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share our experiences, doubts, high’s and low’s, with those around us because someone is always on the other end listening to what you have to say, not only because they genuinely care, but because your story is so important.
Link to Electric Forest in collaboration with Bassnectar and To Write Love on Her Arms. https://youtu.be/gYkEwdtDJ1Q