HARD: easier with practice
As I was coming down from my Coachella festival experience, I went on a festival ticket-buying binge – I needed to fill the void. I bought tickets to HARD, Fuck Yeah Fest, and Jubilee Fest. Just one ticket. I believed all my Coachella buddies and I would dance our way through the rest of the summer.
No one likes the idea of going to see music by themself – it’s just more fun with a buddy. In the case of HARD, I reached out to some friends who I knew were into EDM, and lucky for me they wanted to go. Lucky not because I had someone to go with, but lucky because I didn’t know these guys that well and it turned out they were pretty darn rad. Our friendship deepened and that was my favorite part of the whole experience.
The festival was pretty great too. We parked close by, got in to the grounds really smoothly, and we never had to wait for beer. “The beat” was everywhere. It was a veritable audiological forest filled with nymphs and satyrs in horrific fashion choices; I’m talking neon, faux fur, pleather, glitter, and a gathering of women who believed electrical tape was a top. Anyway, most of the fest was just DJs on decks on stages in front of big LED screens; and while I appreciate the art of spinning music, it got old after about 5 hours. I only had a 1-day pass, I could not imagine how people did that for 2 days. All that mattered to me was that Empire of the Sun would be there – I loved their last album, loved their new album, and my friends wouldn’t shut up about how great they were live the last time they were in LA, so going was like, duh!
When Emperor Steele hit the stage nothing else mattered. It. Was. Stunning. When he sung Celebrate we were bathed in positivity; for a moment, to me, the whole audience was a tribe rejoicing in the rhythm. The group of guys behind us felt it too and we all started moving together. These guys were clearly rolling balls, because when the show was over they popped a squat and one guy, a tall-slim-barely-legal-model type that my friends later referred to as the “puppy dog,” started running his hands up and down my calf hair. He asked me if it was ok, and I said it was fine (who am I to deny someone the joy of their trip), and after all that dancing it actually felt good. Well, soon he was on his feet and rubbing my shoulders. This should have been my queue to set boundaries, but it felt good. He suggested a massage chain, and I was all, “nuh uh.” When Zedd started the massage quickly turned to dancing. Zedd had a very audience friendly set – lots of EDM hits. It was a total dance party.
When Zedd’s set ended, the puppy dog wanted to go where I was going. He conferred with his buddies, and then very sweetly asked if he could hang out with us. We were game, but then his friends were like, “can we come too?” Suddenly I felt like Phyllis Nefler, and not in the good way. Turns out my friends thought we were leaving actually, not going to another stage. I followed my friends and before I knew it we had lost puppy dog and his troop. If he’s out there, and reading this, I wanted to tell him:
You were sweet, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye properly. I saw a lot of myself in you, and I remembered chasing guys who showed me a little attention. In retrospect I saw that I was just infatuated with the novelty of it all – I was just becoming my authentic self and I craved experience. So, I hope you don’t think I’m a jerk, and you enjoyed the rest of your roll.