Last night, February 13, 2015, I attended Sonar Music Festival that took place at Harpa concert hall in Reykjavik. I didn’t know who any of the artists were—except the ones I work with here at the Grapevine.
I don’t listen to electronic music, unless you count any musician that requires electricity to play their instrument. I had no idea what to wear (Fuzzy boots? A full-body latex gimp-outfit?). I didn’t know how much to drink before hand. Should I be lightly buzzed but still thirsty? Should I be puking in the garbage cans outside before I walk in? Do I smoke weed beforehand? Do I even like weed? People pop pills at this place, right? Should I take pills? What pills should I take? Why are there different shapes? Is it necessary to shape pills like grenades? Can I die if I take pills? Am I going to die? Maybe I should stick to beer.
I was nervous.
Would people be able to tell I didn’t know what I was doing?
My default setting for dealing with the unfamiliar is to mock it. I could sit at the back of Sonar Pub or the dark corners of the parking garage, and make snide comments into my iPhone. I could be so smart. I could make fun of the dancing, the drugs, the clothing, the beats, the amazing time everyone was having, the herds of smiling and laughing people…wait…what’s wrong with people having fun? I like fun.
That’s what I did. I had fun. I went to DJs, danced with my friends, and even sat down at a few of the Avant-garde performances. I have no insights. I don’t know anything about what I saw. I don’t know the metrics required to sound like I have an opinion.
I do know this:
1. I had a visceral connection with several artists and my fellow audience members because of music.
2. I lost myself in music I never thought I could appreciate.
3. I don’t particularly like Carlsberg beer.
The experience gave me an insight into my own understanding of what it means to observe something—really observe something.
Insults are easy. They are easy because it’s an instant relief to your own neurotic fears. You’re too nervous to be open to a new experience, and making fun of it removes you from the responsibility of really observing something.
So if you’re one of those people, like I was, who didn’t think Sonar could be your thing. The only obstacle to you enjoying Sonar is yourself.
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