Festival season is entering its third month here in Montreal and one of the perks of being a journalist at the Nation is that we get to attend some of them on a press pass.
We do it a bit differently, too. When the Nation goes to something, it’s about going to something. Experiencing it, soaking up all of the subtle and not-so-subtle moments and then trying to give our readers an honest feeling of what it was like to have been there.
It takes a much bigger effort than simply making a post on social media. We get to marinate on our experience and that’s the point.
As I was attending the Osheaga music festival this past weekend, trying to appreciate the little things, I couldn’t help but notice hundreds of people taking videos of the crowd, or filming the shows or taking selfies or doing some other social media thing that I’m not up on yet.
It was jarring.
I mean, when did going to a festival become about telling people you went to the festival? And when did everyone’s goal in life change to being a goddamn social-media influencer?
And I wish I could say I was above it all. But I’m not.
I started thinking that maybe I wasn’t doing enough to get my followers up. Perhaps I hadn’t worn the right outfit for all the videos and selfies for which I was an unwilling extra. Shouldn’t I have been be taking more selfies at this concert?
I thumb my nose and act like I’m too cool, but the truth is I’m as guilty as anyone of spending an inane amount of time on my phone, swiping through my feed, picking the best picture to share, writing quippy posts that I hope will get a ton of likes.
Experiencing life via a screen has become totally natural and we all want to appear perfect on our screens.
It’s then I finally catch myself giving this mental soliloquy. I put my phone away. The sun is starting to set behind the stage and the voice of someone singing a song I’ve listened to a couple hundred times through my headphones is serenading me and thousands of other people.
It’s our moment and I almost missed it.
That’s what a music festival boils down to in the end. It’s this larger-than-life event that’s happening once and you are sharing it with the people who showed up. So long as you remember to put your phone away.