being part of an active audience

One of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had has been being part of a festival audience. It weird to explain how being surrounded by thousands of sweaty drunks all screaming someone else’s song lyrics is enjoyable, but I’ll give it a crack. First, a bit of background though, let me set the scene for you.

In late December 2017, my girlfriend Jessica and I decided to go for a little month-long trip to Tasmania, to celebrate the end of school and to get away from our small country town Albury. Naturally, the New Years period is a very good time for music festivals to be held, and of course, we had planned our trip around Marion Bay’s ‘Falls Festival,’ a three-day campout with heaps of Aussie and International artists. We were pumped.

Now walking into that festival, seeing all these tents popping up like multi-coloured wildflowers in this massive expanse of farmland extending out to the ocean was truly awesome. Not the overused version of the word, but the version that actually left you awestruck. The view wasn’t even really the best part, it was this feeling that overcame me when I realised I’d be sharing this profound love for music with this massive sea of people for the next 72hrs. And that I did.

Sharing, in my opinion, has so much power to bring happiness and joy.

While I was standing there on New Year’s Eve, dancing in about seven other peoples personal space and they in mine, I felt such immense joy. I would look around at others hugging their friends and boogie-ing and just smile. Stuff like that is really reassuring, especially when you’re slightly moderately drunk. The fact that everyone is there to have a good time and share that with you is so moving. Well, almost everyone anyway.

It happens in so many mosh-pits at so many gigs and festivals. There’ll be someone who doesn’t know their limits, and drinks too much – or takes too much – and acts like an idiot. People who think just because someone dances with them, that they then have a right to grope or touch that person. There were two reports of sexual harassment on the first day there. Luckily that was the extent of it, but there’s still the fact that it happened at all. Someone’s experience was ruined, and they would’ve spent the rest of their time feeling unsafe, just because of a select few dickheads. That’s the thing about crowds like that, they’re all-inclusive, which while being amazing, means the bad eggs can still find a way in.

I walked away from the festival at the end of the three days absolutely chuffed. I’d felt so much a part of something bigger. I’d realised how amazing live music events like this are at bringing people together. Something people don’t really realise about mosh-pits is that everyone (well, 98% of people) looks out for each other. If you fall over, four people will reach down at once. If you’re not feeling great, someone will notice and hand you a bottle of water. I even saw people give up a barrier spot just to help get someone out of the pit. Being part of a crowd like this really gives insight into why music audiences really are important and why live music is such a backbone for the youth today.

I think this relates back to our BCM110 this week in an interesting way. We had looked at Media Audiences and the original meaning of the word. It used to people a bunch of people all grouped together sharing this experience at the same time. This doesn’t really happen much anymore sadly. Many families might watch Netflix on their own accounts on their own devices, as opposed to sitting all in the lounge room watching the same thing on the one TV. When you’re at a festival, you’re part of an active audience. You get to share the experience. And what a good experience it is.


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