In times troubled with growing differences, music festivals aren’t just a cultural force of nature, but they’re fostering a social movement.

Who would’ve predicted that in an era fueled with the internet and globalisation, the world’s hack de force still remains separation. One look at the on-going American presidential campaign will reveal that most candidates govern on a us v/s them policy. Closer home, India is bridled with a class, intellectual, and communal divide. 2016 may be the time when future is firmly here, but our minds are still grappling with divisive politics. In a period as rife with separatist politics, know would think that music festivals would bear the power to unify people, but unify they do.

Zipporah-Lomax-3(Source: Zipporah Lomax | Symbiosis Gathering Facebook)

How do you make a festival friend?

Think about it for a minute. The last minute you met a mildly interesting person at a music festival, what did you ask to know? You probably shimmied with them a little before asking them their name. And should the chemistry hit the right notes, you might want to hang out with them a little more. But that’s almost always all. You don’t go into the nitty-gritty that would cause to separate. Political leanings and a skewed up social structure are put to rest outside the festival venues as friendships are fostered on ground of cultural and artistic commonality.

Greg Bowser 2(Credit: Greg Bowser | Festival Sherpa)

Liberalism excuses division

Here’s the thing – divisive politics have always been a conservative trope. Music festivals on the other hand, aim for inclusion and an immersive experience. Take Burning Man for instance. The festival is all about radical self-expression. From art considered too inflammatory for society’s nimble consciousness to garb that pushes the envelope of normalcy, the festival attempts to include every form of expression on offer. In fact, all Burning Man and other transformational festivals such as Wakarusa, Shambhala and Lightning in a Bottle ask of its attendees is to accept one another with open arms. Liberal attitudes outline the blueprint of their organisation, and in such a construct very few divisive elements can be found.

10931171_10155681285265611_2304496536799353783_n(Source: Wakarusa Facebook)

In fact, in an event dominated with cultural exchange, music and the arts, there is little time to ponder over differences. Take for instance the LGBT movement, one that aims for recognition of queer peoples with differing genders and sexual orientations. A movement that is at this moment dealing with different stages of human rights around the world. But at music festival, hardly is homophobia given free pass.


Truly, in a world grappling with retrogressive tunes of illegal love, terrorism, and censorship, the ‘everything goes’ mantra that pushes music festival proceedings might facilitate liberal expression as there ever is. Music festivals might be the one moment, where within the confines of the festival grounds, people are encouraged to meet other people in an environment driven by love and community.

Now, how can you be an accepting member of such an environment?


The festival that you bought a ticket to is as much your foyer as is any other ticket buyer’s. Be as inclusive of fellow music festival goers, as you would want them to be of you.

Greg Bowser(Credit: Greg Bowser | Festival Sherpa)


You need not how to understand a person and the choices that drive them, but you can empathise. That is all that is expected off you.

Pay no heed to differences

A music festival is no time to discuss your varying political leanings. There are moments reserved exclusively for that. At a music festival, leave your differences outside the door, and delve into your similarities, that bemoans love for art.


Friendship drives a music festival community. It is the bonds made with one and other that fosters unity. So do not hold back in your music festival friendships.

burning-man-Jim-Urquhart-Reuters7-1000x676(Source: Jim Urquhart | Reuters)


In your acceptance of another individual lies your ability to keep your differences at bay, and strive for an inclusive spirit.


This may sound negative, but we truly mean it. If you truly cannot get over your differences with another individual, you can best ignore than incite a negative relation. Ignore what doesn’t hurt you, and you will be fine with your experience and they will be fine with theirs. As long as people are not hateful with their choices, you needn’t be bothered.

Music festivals aren’t just a cultural respite, but one where the progressive minds of this generation can gather for a hate-free experience. Their attempts at establishing social equality will only be as successful as your effort at celebrating it. So, think about it.

Zipporah-Lomax-4(Source: Zipporah Lomax | Symbiosis Gathering Facebook)