There’s more to do than listen to music at festivals


Photo courtesy of MCT

Patrick J. Wilkinson

Photo courtesy of MCT
Photo courtesy of MCT

Maybe we’ve been doing music festivals all wrong.

Yes, we’ve shown up to the shows, enjoyed the music, ate when we had to, and fell asleep when our bodies couldn’t take it any longer, only to wake up the next day and do it all over  again.

But is that the right way to go?

Apart from taking place in some of the hottest places in California, music festivals share a common thread far more connected than they appear to be.

As big as these festivals have gotten over the years, they endeavor to remain grounded in the seemingly small and simple grass roots activities that made them successful in the first place, and by focusing on building a sense of community.

Coachella, the first of the many California festivals going on this year from April through late summer, offers an eclectic bag of activities to keep you engaged and grounded.

One can enjoy early morning yoga sessions, $1 per minute massages, three legged races, and late at night, one can stumble upon the infamous Bad Dancing Competition.

The Joshua Tree Music Festival and San Francisco’s Outside Lands offer similar activities, with both taking it a step further. Joshua Tree offers the opportunity for festival-goers to experience live painting sessions, in which artists intuitively paint artworks to the rhythms of real time music. At Outside Lands, one can partake in an urban gardening workshop. There’s even an ocean beach community clean up scheduled to take place during the festival.

Lightning in a Bottle, which focuses on collective merging of art and music, encourages all attendees to participate in their truly whimsical recycling program. The program aims to remove the back-breaking connotation of recycling and infuses it with a bit of fun and humor and the hope of fostering sustainability inside and outside of the festival grounds.

Apart from variety, these activities offer festival-goers the flexibility to dip in and out of engagement, watch a show and return where you left off.

Whatever your preferences, there’s a lot of fun to be had on your weekend getaway to Indio, Bradley, Joshua Tree, San Francisco or the festival grounds of your choosing. Whether 2014 is your first time attending a music festival or not, be a little curious this year, step into that tent and get involved to become a part of the festival community. It just might complete your experience.

Be sure to check out your musical festival websites for more information on these activities.