My parents are out of town and instead of being excited about an upcoming kegger (it is extremely unwise to throw one of these, everything ends up sticky) I was excited to make brinner and happened to snag tickets to a concert from my Dad. It was not an exciting or important or expensive concert. It did not feature an act that I had heard of. It was a magical time.
A recent Thought Catalog post (http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/why-concerts/) asked the question why do we go to concerts? Do people actually enjoy these? It begs the question you often ask yourself during that painful time between the first opening act and the second opening act, why am I doing this. In many ways concerts, and festivals especially are an endurance act. Concerts typically involve standing for way too long in a crowded space. Festivals involve battling dehydration, heat stroke, boredom, and if you’re really unlucky pouring rain. But that’s not why you go. You go to see music performed live and hear the magic of a voice carrying through a hall, a park, or a church. That part Andrea Benito of Thought Catalog got right.
The endurance part adds to the magic. One of the best sets I’ve ever been to was a workshop at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in the pouring rain. My feet were numb and the musicians were impressed that we stood and watched while they had trouble keeping their equipment dry. There is something about that experience that could never happen while listening to music in your bedroom or listening to your iPod on the bus. You are sharing something with everyone around you, and you are watching the music happen in front of you. It is worth going for that alone.
Benito suggests that some go to concerts to put it on social media and say they went. This argument runs along the same line as that of many social media objectors I have heard: that the only purpose of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is to show off how great your life is and make your friends feel bad about theirs — this may be because social media makes it so that every picture and status you post can be seen by others. For me that defeats the point of social media and life in general. You don’t go hiking or to a delicious food truck or to a concert so that your friends can see it on their newsfeed, you do it because it’s fun. Social media is what you make of it and if you follow the right people it is anything but a massive show off. I didn’t post any social media about the last three concerts I’ve gone to, mostly because I was a little busy with actually being at the concert. The last concert I went to was a folk musician I had never heard of. I was one of the few people under the age of forty who attended — I did hear another one of the youngster explain to an older family friend what Stumbleupon is. The concert was great despite the fact that I had never heard of the musician before being given the ticket. There is something so wonderful about the sound of a guitar and a voice in a church.
Then there is people watching. Concerts and festivals are one of the best places to do this. I’ve overheard some interesting things at concerts while waiting for the headliner to appear. I’ve seen some people wearing crazy things — and some really stylish things. Go out, live your life, go to concerts. Don’t do it to impress people on social media, do it because concerts can be magical.