By Sarah Nichole
September 2018: it was my 29th birthday. The big dirty 30 was the next year, coming fast. I sat contemplating all the things I had imagined myself doing before 30 years old. EDC Orlando was right around the corner, and for years I had an excuse not to go. Sure it was ‘too expensive,’ but more importantly, I had no one to go with. So why would I make the plans?
RARE Orlando was first and I knew I wanted to see Steve Aoki, so I decided to go. 29 was only going to last a year, so I better get started. I joined the Facebook event page. Why not? I made a few connections and off I went. I had no idea what to wear, scouting outfits on Instagram and event pages. I settled for jean shorts and a crop top. I stood in line alone waiting to be searched and entered the gate. I watched people around me who clearly knew what they were doing.
I spent the whole day meeting people I had never met, some that I still meet up with at local shows and festivals. It was a smaller crowd, so I was not terrified. I had a blast. I wanted more. Bigger. Better.
My next festival was EDC. Again, I hit the Facebook groups, Radiate, and whatever I could to make some friends that I could connect with. About 10 of us started a group chat, and most of us were strangers. We rented a party bus and headed to EDC together. I met my festie bestie on day one in this group and it was an instant connection. We spent most of the day together, but most of our group was separated by the end of the day.
Day two, I spent completely alone. 6 months later, I went to Sunset Music Festival completely alone both days.
What an experience.
Go to a festival alone. I recommend it as least once in your life. If you don’t feel comfortable traveling alone, pick something local. If you want to go with others, ride together and then spend that day apart from your group, intentionally. Take in everything there is to see.
1. Freedom: You have no agenda. You do not have to have that back and forth conversation of what set to see, or where to go next. You get to follow your own vibes, your own soul. You get to be free. That free feeling is like no other.
2. Friendship: Just because you go alone, does not mean you end up alone. I have made so many connections jumping from stage to stage, or staying in one spot all day long. I have had photoshoots, cried many tears, headbanged, and attempted to shuffle with many strangers who I never got their names. Going alone, I saw the goodness in so many people and enjoyed the human connection with no expectations. I have no idea who this girl is from SMF. I just know she and I had the best time with her guy friend hyping us up and taking our photos for 10 minutes straight.
3. Discovery: 2018 and 2019 I have vowed to go anywhere alone. You will discover so much about YOU; what brings you happiness, fulfillment, what touches your soul. I made the vow to not let myself be held back from doing things just because I couldn’t find someone to join in.
4. Self-love: Love yourself enough to do things for you. There is something to be said for the person who takes time to give themselves the moments to be selfish once and a while. Take the time for you, to be you, and to let exceptions of self and others fall to the side for a little bit of time.
Tips for being alone:
- Stay sober. If you are going alone, you need to be aware for the sake of safety.
- When leaving and entering the venue, find a group to walk with. Again, safety.
- Do not worry about getting a locker. It’s just you, pack it light.
- Talk to people! If you are new to the scene, this is festival life! People will welcome you into their circle with open arms 9 times out of 10.
- Alone or not, but especially alone, keep your phone in your hand or in your fanny pack to the front.
- If you want rave photos, ASK. I had multiple photos taken for me from others. If you see someone taking photos of their friends, ask if you can borrow their photographer. They will be happy to help you out.
Since September of 2018, I have been to two festivals and many shows, EDM and others, alone. Try it, at least once, and see what you discover. Dirty 30 is almost here and lord knows I have lived 29 to the fullest thanks to facing that small tiny voice of fear and stepping outside of a comfort zone.