Leaving The City
We left on Friday afternoon for Ramfest, and as much as I love the city, there is this sense of absolute freedom and clarity that I get when I pack that last item into the car and hit that winding road that leads to a music festival. As soon as you leave, you know that for the next 3/4 days you’re going to have the absolute best time of your life. You’ll hang out with best friends and make new friends over the shared interest of music, nature and drinks in the sun on the grass. It just sometimes feels like the city is killing you. The traffic, the distractions, the distance from true nature, the business, the noise, the constant connection…at every turn there is something that just seems to pull us humans further from where we’re supposed to be. It’s hard to explain this to people who don’t feel it and the only way to feel it is to get outside and live in a tent smaller than your bed at home, with all your belongings in a single bag. There is something incredibly freeing when you realise that you don’t need most of that stuff you’ve collected in your house. That’s really what a house is, a place to collect things to distract us from the fact that we’re living between four walls and a car at most times of our life. Knowing that you can in fact live from one single bag will make you reevaluate what you really need in the future. If you’re low on cash, just stop buying stuff. You don’t need it and I promise you, you’ll be fine without it. What you won’t be fine without is experiencing new things and taking every opportunity to get outdoors.
On that note, that TV of yours, you probably don’t need it. Get rid of it.
I think as the world has developed, we’ve lost that sense of community. The world celebrates us having all our own things. Our own car, our own house/apartment, our own table at a restaurant…we simply must have all of our own things. One of the things that I found interesting during the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town was that myself and a girlfriend were sitting at a table at the V&A Waterfront, and some foreigners just came and sat with us without saying anything. Knowing that this is completely normal in parts of the world, we weren’t alarmed but rather found it quite cool.
While we now have thousands of different applications to communicate, we’re losing the art of face to face conversation. We go places in our own cars, live in our own apartments, sit at our own tables at restaurants. We live in cities with millions of people, but only ever have face to face time with a handful. The rest of the time we’re losing ourselves to music through our earphones or staring into a screen while the world passes us by.
The community that surrounds a music festival is, besides the music, my absolute favourite thing about festivals. Everyone is living close together and sharing everything and it’s hard to explain, but it just feels like that’s the way we should be living. Even when you do go out in the city, you’re generally with the same people all the time. At a festival, you’re all living amongst each other and everyone is looking out for one another. If you don’t have a spot to stay, someone will help you. If you’re out of beer, someone will give you beer. Food is shared, spaces are shared, laughs are shared and friendships are created. If you need a lift to or from a festival, someone you don’t know will be willing to help you and in that you’ll find long lasting friendships and memories for a lifetime.
Not everyone wants to leave their house to spend a few days in the dirt, sharing stuff. You should though, you really should. When you go to enough festivals, you’ll change in little ways. By this, I mean you’ll change in the best ways. You’ll know more people, you’ll appreciate living with less, you’ll know what it feels like to sleep in the grass and wake up in the rain with cows grazing on the hill in front of you. Most of all though, you’ll know that everything they’re trying to sell us in the city is bullshit.
Losing Your Identity
Look at your life and how perceptions of you by yourself and by other people are shaped. They’re shaped by the car you drive, the coffee shop you’re loyal to, the clothing brand you insist on buying, your career, the beer you drink, the circles you hang out in, where you go to party, where you live, your choice of iPhone/Android, your Twitter followers, your Loerie award. Now take all those things and throw them away.
Without all of that, how do you define yourself? It’s a difficult question. When you’re outdoors with no cellphone signal and a massive group of people who aren’t impressed by any of the things I’ve mentioned above, what then? Well that’s when you start living. That’s when you’re present in that very moment, living the life you should be living. That is when you’re alive and connected to this earth in a way that doesn’t need to be put into words, it needs to be felt by you, and you only. When you’re the guy with your hands in the air at the electro tent on a Friday night, nothing else in the world matters. You’re there and you’re living amongst some of the best people on this planet, having all the fun without a worry in the world.
If there is one thing music festivals will teach you, it’s that you should accumulate way less stuff and accumulate way more experiences.
But hey, that’s just my perception