My name is Alex Tsyganko. At the time of writing this, I have attended 31 festivals (excluding 1-day fests as I consider those shows and including multi-day events with a festival feel, such as Basslights for consistency purposes) in my 4 seasons on the festival circuit. Every one of these events provided me a different experience, both on a musical and personal levels. Without these festival encounters, I would be radically different from the person that I am today.
Some of the inspiration for this article was provided by a coworker of mine. While having a conversation at my desk, she noticed my wall contained quite a few pictures of my close friends and I; immediately, she inquired about a few of the pictured friends and how I knew them. That moment, for the first time in my life, I consciously realized that I met just about every single one of my close friends through festivals, or the music scene.
2013 was my first “full” season; I went to 10 festivals and had the time of my life. My first festival that season (and fourth overall) was a smaller jam festival in Ohio called Tribal Connection. As anyone who knows me can attest, orange is my favorite color, and at the festival entrance, I told myself that the first person to stand out to me because of the color will become my friend. Little did I know that within 15 minutes of my arrival, a festival attendee dressed as a wizard would gift me an orange bracelet; feeling an instant connection, a decision was executed to camp with this friend and his group. Today, less than 3 years later, this squad is my core festival squad and the best group of friends I have ever been privileged to be a part of. Likewise, the groups of friends I have locally, I also met at shows, or through friends that I also know through shows.
When I am drawn towards a person at a festival, I make it a point to befriend the said person, and maintain contact afterwards. Besides, this person already has similar music and social interests, and is of a similar age as me. I have met so many wonderful people in this manner, and I would encourage everyone to make the connection with a special person you meet, as you never know who will change your life!
Festivals have been a huge aid towards my own development and maturity. Going to my first festival in summer of 2011 coincided with several other changes I was making in my life. However, experiencing festivals allowed me to understand other’s needs, wants, and motivations, perceptions, etc, and that enlightenment enabled me to become a better version of myself. While it is more difficult for me to make that assessment from a first-person view, a reflective look inside myself leads me to believe I have gained years of maturity from my festival experiences.
Having something to look forward to
I have an extremely active mind and need to be enthusiastic about something to avoid getting bored, and this is where festivals come in clutch. Whenever my mind becomes disengaged from what I am attempting to focus on, or has negative thoughts, I attempt to think of an upcoming event I am excited about, as having that visualization of an activity I enjoy will let me get back on track. Whenever I get overwhelmed or stressed with whatever life has on the plate for me at the time, it is the idea of going to the next festival that gets me through those days.
Additionally, I recently learned in a Psychology class that the human mind does not need to re-experience events that have already happened in order to derive joy from it; in other words, if I visualize a positive experience I had at a festival, my mind behaves in a manner as if that event is happening right now. Though this practice brings with it a serious case of nostalgia, this can be extremely beneficial for everyday life.
Ah, yes. Periodically nowadays, but mainly in the beginning of my festival experiences, I had numerous epiphanies that altered the way I perceive things. In 2011, I was at a Flux Pavilion and Doctor P show having an absolute blast. At that moment, for some reason, professional endeavors crossed my mind. Immediately, all the pieces fell into place in my mind: I worked hard and did what I had to do because that allowed me to go to shows, festivals, and enjoy myself. I assumed other people I worked with did not partake in such mind-opening activities, but I felt privileged to be able to do this. Since that realization, I was able to adjust my attitude and realize that there is a direct link between festivals and work, as work is what finances my festival shenanigans.
Besides the music, the camping, and the fun we have at festivals, there are ample opportunities to grow and improve yourself and your life, and I challenge you to utilize your next festival to do so!
Written by Alex Timurovich