Made In America – Day One

So, while the Megabus wifi is attempting to twart my attempts at studying (who blocks BlackBoard? Really?), I might as well take this opportunity to start reflecting on this weekend.

ImageAnd what a weekend it was.

I am 23 years old. I am by no means an adult. So, I took this weekend as an opportunity to let my hair down, be irresponsible, and hit up Made in America. (It should be noted that I was NOT as irresponsible as MANY of the individuals in attendance, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to be.) I know for a fact that written word will never be able to fully convey my thoughts and feelings on the subject, but it may spare someone from having to hear too much about it, so it’s worth a shot.

I suppose the best way to attack this is by performance, so here we go.

Public Enemy

I won’t pretend to be a big hip hop fan. I mean, have you seen me? But, c’mon…
FLAVOR FLAV!!

Image(Did you know he has a grandson?!)

Despite my lack of familiarity with the music, I enjoyed the heck out of this show. The energy level was through the roof. My only complaints rest not with the musicians themselves, but with the audience (or more specifically, two females in close proximity to me).

I understand the desire for the current generation to document and share. I’m obviously a fan of that. What I am not a fan of is when this ruins an experience for everyone else.

Image

This woman proceeded to watch the entire set through her iPad! Not once did she out it down. Now, I was weary of bringing my PHONE to the festival, and there’s insurance on that. I cannot imagine being ok with bringing an expensive piece of technology with me in order to experience the festival second-hand.

My second complaint rises from the young lady standing next to me. Throughout the show, Public Enemy proved their social awareness (more on that in a moment). With mention of “Justice for Trayvon,” the crowd erupted. Not the little miss to my left. She simply turns to her male companion and states “I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about.” (I cringe.) “The Zimmerman Trial, babe,” he replies. (A small glimmer of hope for the future implants itself in my heart…) “Nope. Never heard of it.” (…and is promptly squashed.) I won’t speak  more on this, because it will lead to a long tangent that I don’t want to focus on, but MAN.

My hope for humanity was heightened once again by the appearance of a cute, petite public school teacher on stage. She spoke on her campaign to convince the celebrities of Made in America that the Philadelphia Public School System needed the proceeds more than they did. (And boy is she right. If you’re unfamiliar, take a quick trip over to Google. It’s ok, I’ll wait.) She continued on to state that Public Enemy was the first to answer her call, pledging $10,000 of their proceeds to the school system. Mr. Flav and company encouraged the weekend’s other acts to contribute, challenging Beyonce herself to meet or exceed this gift. This is the last I heard of the campaign for the weekend, but I sincerely hope these children get the funding they deserve.

This is the time that my festival-going partner decided that he was hungry and could not possibly wait until we got home to eat. Because of this, I missed the first half of the following set and had to watch the second half from afar. I didn’t think I would mind. As you’ll find out, I did.

Imagine Dragons

I won’t lie and say I’m particularly familiar with Imagine Dragons. I know three of their songs, tops. Watching them perform (and I mean it, they PERFORMED), made me wish I had seen the entire set and more. Picture this: giant drums, just everywhere. That gives you an idea of what the stage was like. Sweaty musicians, playing their heart out, beating on drums and switching instruments like their lives depended on it. The feeling in their voices, the passion, and the talent. Every member played every instrument. There was a Cold War Kids beatbox tribute. It was everything I could have wanted and more.

Seeing well known, established bands is not always to most “feel-y” experience in the world. Watching a band that has been working hard for as long as they can remember, seeing the look on an artist’s face when they realize It’s all really happening, is beyond words. At one point, the frontman (Dan Reynolds) raised his arms to the sky, and just soaked in the crowd. The look on his face was amazing. I know not everyone would agree that this is something special, but to me, it is. These are real people on stage and to see a real, intensely human moment like that is one of the best things I could ask for. I immediately thought of a video that I will share in a different post (because it has nothing to do with Made in America…).

As I mentioned, I only caught maybe four songs from this set. Those four songs left more of an impression that many of the other acts. Imagine Dragons has been added to my bucket list of concerts.

Phoenix

Speaking of my musical bucket list.. This is probably about 45% of why I even bothered to come. The most un-American band at Made in America (they’re French). One of my favorite bands in existence.

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An issue of common courtesy.. I completely understand that festivals are an instance where you are working in your best interest and don’t care if the person behind you is a midget with gonorrhea. You deserve your spot and will do anything to find an even better one. I get that. What I do not get is this: Beyonce was set to perform on the same stage as Phoenix 2 ½ hours after their set began. I began my search for a spot one full hour before Phoenix. A majority of the reason I got stuck a bit further back that I would have wanted? Beyonce fans. I’m happy that they were willing to wait almost four hours to see their idol. I am not happy that they found it necessary to deprive me of an enjoyable experience. I’m fuming just typing about it. The group of girls blocking my path directly complained loudly that they didn’t know “who the hell this band is” and spent the entire show texting, Facebooking, and being miserable.

Lucky for me, I’m outgoing and music fans are awesome. (OK, music fans on drugs are awesome.) My newfound, highly ecstatic friend, Mike, was there to scream, sing, and rock out with me, much to the chagrin of the prissy little Bey fans. Two fabulous gay boys from DC (Jason and his ex) brought the energy as well.

A complaint I hear from people in regards to music festivals (and concerts in general) commonly sounds like this: “There are so many people there. I hate large crowds. How can you enjoy being hot and sweaty and so close to everyone?!” Easy. They aren’t people like you (… is what I would say if I were braver and more truthful). Really, though. The crowd is one of the best parts, especially at a festival. I wouldn’t be caught dead screaming and dancing on my own. With a crowd of a couple thousand others, all bets are off. Maybe this is just a characteristic of extroversion. Maybe I just really love music festivals. Maybe both.

All in all, I am still all too giddy about the fact that I even saw Phoenix. Afterwards, I was hot and sweaty and sore. My voice was shot and I was dehydrated. And I was loving life.

Deadmau5

I don’t get it? He plays music with a big mouse hat on. But then he takes it off sometimes? And people dance. I guess…

ImageOh, and these guys were there.

Beyonce

One word: Fierce.

She brings out the best in people. If you’re interested in watching some of her more, ahem, interesting fans, check out my Vine or just ask me. I was sure to document their embarrassment and am glad to share.

And that wrapped up day one. I was a mess. I was sweaty. I acted like a child. I screamed and danced and made friends.

I loved every second of it.

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