The Magic of Music Festivals: My First Bonnaroo

Happy Roo!

The atmosphere at Bonnaroo was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The sun beat down on the Tennessee countryside, and people were walking around in colorful outfits, high-fiving each other and spreading positivity wherever they went. As I walked to the stages, I saw people from all over the world united by one thing- the love of music. It was heartwarming to see such unity and bliss in one place. I realized that regardless of your background, we were all connected by our mutual affection for good vibes and good music.

The Beginning of My Future

When I was 18 years old, my world changed forever. This was the year I attended my first ever music festival, and let me tell you – it was absolutely magical. Bonnaroo was the destination and music was the mission. I saw some of my favorite artists at the time such as Paramore, Bassnectar, Snakehips, Eminem and many more. The camping grounds were filled with beautiful people who were there to have a good time, but also spread the love. My friends and I made our camping space super cozy, and we met so many interesting people around us. I fell in love with the festival community and EDM music, and I’ve been to countless shows and festivals ever since. In this blog post, I will take you on a journey through my first festival experience and the impact it had on my life.

A Moment I’ll Never Forget

The music was mind-blowing and my head was always spinning. I would plan out which sets I’d want to see, and end up listening to someone I never heard before. During the day, we wandered around the different stages, bumping into friends along the way, and exploring all the fun activities Bonnaroo has to offer. Something I’ll never forget is seeing Paramore live for the first time. We waited an hour so that we would be up close to see Hayley, and I don’t regret one second of it! We were all so fulfilled that we didn’t care about the wait, or care that we were sweaty, or care about whatever problems were transpiring in our problematic world. For a moment in time, we were just enjoying ourselves completely carefree, something I hope every human experiences.

The Night Life

When day turned into night, I truly experienced the energy of the edm community. Everyone showed their personality through their clothing, or expressed their different talents through hula-hooping or spinning poy. I was mesmerized by the creative people around me, and would catch myself just staring at someone doing literally ~anything cool~ for what felt like hours. We danced until the morning as the bass vibrated through my entire body, and I felt like I was flying. I lost myself in the music and the positive energy around me. Since that day, I’ve become a festival guru. I’ve traveled across the country, with my most recent venture being EDSEA! It’s my goal to continue traveling and listening to new artists, meet new friends, and create more memories. For example, my goal for this next year is to go to a festival somewhere in Europe, like Tomorrowland, because all of the pictures, stories, and videos of the venue that I see are completely insane. Who wouldn’t want to see what it’s like for themselves?

Fast Forward To Now

Going to Bonnaroo for the first time had a profound impact on my life. I realized how important music and the festival community were to me. The festival was about more than just having fun, it was about participating in a celebration of life, and coming together with like-minded people to spread love and positivity. I am now 23 years old, and I have been to many other festivals and several shows since Bonnaroo, but that first one will always hold a special place in my heart. The experience opened me up to the world of EDM and allowed me to create memories with my friends that would last a lifetime. It made me understand that music plays an important role in everyone’s life and that festivals are the perfect opportunity to feel the emotion, connection, and energy inherent to music. 

Womp Womps and Lasers

Originally, I came to listen to mostly R&B, Pop, and Rap music artists. Man, did I really mess that plan up. Don’t get me wrong, the headliners like Paramore and Eminem were awesome, but what was even more awesome was the lasers that my eyes would follow back until they touched the trees while I inevitably headbanged to a nasty beat drop. As I’ve become more versed with EDM music, I can say I prefer some womp womp sounds over some of the melodic tunes. However, each genre of EDM is beautiful and has a place in my heart. I feel as though Bonnaroo was the perfect place for me to begin my adventures into festival life. The variety of artists allowed me the freedom to find my true musical identity. My love for music expands far more than just EDM, but this festival opened my eyes to a new world. Pure serotonin is the only somewhat accurate descriptor. Maybe an out of body experience? Not sure. I couldn’t tell you anything in that moment except for that, “this is f***ing crazy,” but I loved (and still love) every bit of it.

EDM I love you.

I think it is safe to say EDM can be a bit cray-cray. But aren’t we all a little crazy? What’s the saying that goes like there’s beauty in the madness… so who cares. The EDM community accepts all the madness. You are not alone, and you can be whatever you want to be. I for one, am here with you! Roo, thank you for providing me with an amazing experience that without question altered what my future would turn into. For any other festival goers out there who love edm and are reading this, I hope I get to meet as many of you kind souls as possible. See ya at the next rave!

– Sarah Cooper; IG: @sarah.cooper

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