The Sherp looks at the immersive experience that can be gained from becoming an involved member of a festival community.
Festivals, despite their music, their grand visualisation, and their aesthetics are but inert gatherings, made intimate only due to the presence of loyal festival goers – people who not just invest in the festivals they love financially by procuring tickets well in advance, but who also, passionately, further the idea of the same festivals. They are the ones you can catch vociferously campaigning for the festival. They make up the loudest hoorahs and the most gleeful applauses. They are the ones you cannot cross, for they believe in the festival’s spirit with all their might, and derive personal satisfaction from its good run.
Being part of a community as such might seem daunting initially, but as we’ve known, there is nothing as rewarding as being part of a mutually beneficent festival community. For as opposed to popular nomenclature – a festival community isn’t just a hippie-esque word used to signify the sum total of attendees attending a festival, but it signifies a group of people who are invested in festival on a personal level. For several festivals around the world have active communities with their members not just snowballing into a real unit during the festival, but also actively engaging during the months leading up to the festival.
But why must you join a festival community? What is there to gain to be part of a tribe of people you know little about? Allow us to tell you.
A love for art
One of the binding factors to any community is the very art that brought them to the festival. Music, literature or whatever art it was that brought you to a festival, is precisely what binds you to others of your kind. Strangers you may have not met yet, but with whom you share inexplicable likeness, because if art were the sole measurement, you could be twins. And as any art lover would agree, it’s impossible to not transcend the barriers of the unknown to know another art lover of your kind. It’s only in a festival community that you find your love for art validated.
Need we explain this further? One of the more lasting consequences to being a part of a community are the friendships fostered between absolute strangers, thereby strengthening festival bonds.
A connection that outlives the festival
Festival communities are not just mere groups that exist within the duration of the festival only to disintegrate when they end. They are enduring communities that, with the help of internet, websites and forums, exist actively despite the absence of the festival. And these forums are great places to not just find carpooling partners, but tips to make your festival experience as complete.
Volunteer for the festival
Festivals like A Summer’s Tale, Green Man, Burning Man, and Joshua Tree Festival often take up members of the community to help them set up their next festival, as most of these festivals are not backed by for-profit companies. These are the events held solely for the love of community loving and art, and therefore many loyalists enlist their help to set up the festival in as grand a manner as possible. Easily, the most immersive outcome to being a community member is watching the very festival you love rise with your contribution. You gain personal satisfaction in its success, and a sense of belonging to the festival like you’ve never had before.
A family outside home
Festivals, and especially transformational festivals at that exist with their soul firmly residing in their communities, with a spirit of generosity dominating their daily workings. At Burning Man, for instance, the concept of money does not exist, with the community functioning with a self-approved barter system. This encourages organic living that we, as a society, often ignore.
Given how festival communities lead to intrinsic growth, you often wonder how you can be an active member of communities as such. Sure, buying a festival ticket itself guarantees you an unspoken invitation to be a part of the community, but should you want more of a presence, there are always ways to do it.
Most people at a festival are generally very generously receptive, not to mention welcoming. But they will only indulge for as long as you allow yourself to be indulged. Return their friendships, accept their invitations, and make new associations, for that’s how you’ll be part of the larger community.
Explaining this feels a little criminal but let me try. At a festival, kindness will take you a long way. Not just in proving that’s your worth more than a dime, but it also allows people to accept your overtures of friendship, and be generous to you manifold.
Should you want the festival you love to be as good, then enlist your help if you see them asking for it. Volunteering for small festivals not only ensures their good run, but also makes you a certified patron of the festival. A feeling no other sense of participation can possibly award.
At a festival exist people of varied kinds. Accept this as you will proceed to meet people who are unique in their own ways. Be as welcoming of other people’s differences as the community will be of you.
A sense of respect for everything that the festival gives you, would lead you to an experience that is both, cooperative and civil. A trait that would be highly admired, should you choose to wear it well.
For all members of the many communities existing in festivals around the world, we salute your spirit that pushes the many festivals to creative ingenuity. And the ones not in one, we hope this article has helped you to consider the many bright prospects awaiting you at the other end. Think about it!