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You see the band. You want to get closer. You look across the masses of people. The bright neon green and yellow stage lights reflect the emerging fog, the speakers boom, and the crowd jumps around and screams. You want to get closer; there is a challenge in front of you. Every direction you try to move has a blockade, a barrier of bodies preventing you from getting to the front. The people surrounding you are the one obstacle stopping you. You feel as if you are going to fall over, but it is too crowded to fall; you lean against the others around you and they hold you up. The crowd sways back and forth, there is someone’s hip or shoulder touching you constantly. Personal space does not exist.
Make a decision: either stand on someone’s feet or on the mountain of empty water bottles. There is no open land for you to stand upon; not a single foot can discover the ground. There is a third option, up and over, which crosses your mind, but you decide against it. The floor is not an option; it is buried. The ground dips low and mounds high. It switches from dead, dry grass to hard, intimidating concrete. As you push your way forward through the mass of people, you sink lower.
Look back and the ocean appears. You realize how deep in the crowd you really are. The waves become more intense. The people around you sway one way, and you move that way. They sway the other way, and so do you. The waves pull you forward and push you right back. Keep forcing your way through; you want to reach the front.
The hot weather is beginning to get to you. First there is the ninety degree Arizona heat; now add the body warmth of the thousands of people surrounding you. You feel the sweat running, but it feels like more than usual. That’s because it is. You aren’t just feeling your sweat; it is also coming from the people next to you. Your shirt begins soaking it all in. If you stand up tall and raise above the crowd will feel a slight breeze. It won’t last for long, but it will feel wonderful. Keep making your way to the front.
You are getting closer. The sounds around you begin to blend together, but you can still recognize them. The most distinct is the booming of the live band coming from the monstrous speakers. It gets inside your head and takes control. You and everyone around you pound your heads to it and dance. Express yourself by jumping up and down and completely letting go. Everyone is screaming, yelling, and singing. With the movement of people opportunity arises to shove yourself through the crowd; you are getting so close. The closer you get, the less room you have to move. Unsteadiness comes over you because balancing is hard when there is nowhere to step. You see the one last thing standing in your way, the mosh pit. People are throwing themselves into each other with all their might. Fists, feet, bodies, going in all different directions. Pure chaos. You feel the need to get in front of it. A hole opens up for a few seconds, scarcely enough time to run through the center of it. You make it to the front. Your wonder continues to drives you.
Now that you are there, you want more. You remember that third option you earlier dismissed: up. The other option is over, so you make the choice to not stand at all. You decide to surf over the ocean of people, let all senses go, and just be. Live for that moment of carelessness. The chance comes to take it all in: the sights, the smells, but most importantly the music. You look up and feel the grayish black sky, as you float across the wild ocean of hands underneath you carrying you across. Then it suddenly comes to an end.
Drowning. Immediately, you see and feel everything in slow motion; but you think faster than normal. You stare back at the sky you once gazed at, anticipating, wondering. Thoughts run through your head, one more vivid than the others. You wonder when your body will find the ground. Just when you feel a sense of weightlessness, you hit the bottom with a thud. There is a circle of people around you all staring, each with a different expression on their face. The guilty ones catch your attention first. Then the confused and the concerned. They start to help you up when something forces you back down. Someone else decided to surf the ocean and has now crashed down on you. He lies stunned before he recognizes there’s a person underneath him; it’s you. He stands, and so do you.
The dirt from where the grass used to live covers you. The shoes you wear are no longer black, your jeans no longer blue, but you don’t let it faze you. Just go rejoin the mob of mayhem. They go insane letting their bodies take control their minds listen to the music. The music and nothing else. Be like them, dance your heart out, and be one with the music. It’s your chance to be free.
Your moment is finally here. You get to embrace the music. This is why you came all this way. You feel the music pound in your ears; you can feel the chords coming from the guitars as their arms strum up and down; and you see their fingers move with lightning speed. The drums rumble throughout the entire festival. The beat is in everyone’s head.
When it is all over, there is a tide. Everyone heads back to the shore. They flood through the gates, leaving a mess behind. This time when you turn around you don’t see an ocean of people. You see the puddles of crushed water bottles. It is less aggressive this time. No blockades, no barriers, everyone is moving as one. You might get lost in the crowd, but nothing stops you from finding your way back. Everyone there has just experienced the same thing as you; pure happiness.





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