10 Life Lessons We Learned at Festivals

Article by: Jenni Poi

Sat December 02, 2017 | 11:00 AM

Festivals provide the perfect backdrop for self exploration and personal growth. We leave our egos and troubles at home; we dance together; we are more mindful of others, and everyone lives in the moment. They’re so intoxicating that they leave many of us thinking, “Why can’t every day be like a festival?” But actually, every day can be if you apply the life lessons that run so rampant at festivals to your daily life.

Here are the top ten festival life lessons we want to pass on to you.

Know Your Neighbor

Outlook Festival 2015 Tinka Kalajzic Faces 35
Photo by: Tinka Kalajzic

Although we are more connected than ever via social media and advancing technologies, we are also falling further away from building strong links with those living closest to us. Festivals are by definition communities in which everyone is a friend you haven’t met yet. Why not live life with the same ethos? Put your phone down and get to know the people around you. A good community can be a great support system year-round, and can lead to many wonderful things. Once you have your strong community values in place they can be a catalyst for positive change in many different areas.

Learn Something New

Wanderlust Festival Squaw Valley 2015 Ali Kaukas Paddleboard Yoga

Festivals often give us chances to gain new knowledge and skills through workshops and seminars. From Indian dance to pottery, Samba drumming to yoga, we embrace these opportunities to learn without the same fear of failure we often feel in our daily lives. But that bravery doesn’t have to just be a festival thing. Enjoy the process of learning and don’t be put off by failure; if you’ve never failed then you probably aren’t taking enough risks. Not only does learning something new expand your skill sets, but you can also meet new people, improve your confidence, and broaden your horizons.

Appreciate the Great Outdoors

Arise Festival 2015 Juliana Bernstein   17

Tons of festies fall in love with camping and the feeling of freedom nature provides during festivals because many take place in the great outdoors, all over the world. These places don’t lose their magic as soon as the festivals pack up, you just have to make more effort to enjoy them on your own time. After all, being outdoors can help lower stress levels, achieve clarity, provide you with exercise and even quality time with friends and family.

Be Yourself

Burning Man 2015 Galen Oakes   51 Of 168
Photo by: Galen Oakes

What is it about festivals that help us truly be ourselves? Whether you’re covered in vibrant makeup and draped in costumes or dancing like no one’s watching, everything at festivals screams freedom and self-expression. We’re not saying go into the office in a bright feather boa and your finest psychedelic trousers, but don’t let daily life dull your shine, either. Have the confidence to express yourself and don’t try to be someone else’s idea of you. If you feel like you have to pretend to be someone else on a daily basis, maybe it’s time you re-evaluate the direction you are going. There is only one you – it would be such a shame to waste that.

Spend Your Money Wisely

Oregon Country Fair 2015 Matte Hanna Food Vendor
Photo by: Matte Hanna

This varies from festival to festival, but the majority of events are filled with small, independent clothes stalls and food vendors. The idea of supporting the little guys is an important one. Anna Lappé explained it best when she said “Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” If you don’t want to see a Starbucks on every corner, then buy your coffee from an independent coffee house. Support your local retailers because if you don’t, they won't stick around. Making small changes every day can amount to a lot over time.

Play More

Sziget Festival 2015 Eden Shohat   12
Photo by: Eden Shohat

When you’re a kid, you spend lots of time playing. When you’re an adult? Not so much. As we get older, we become brainwashed into thinking that playing is a waste of time, especially when there always seems to be so much work to do. However, hobbies and playing are important; they give us the ability to express ourselves and nurture underused parts of our brains, whether it’s through painting, playing music, learning circus skills or attending live music gigs. Guitarist Alan Sprole from the band Afresh says, “If you can dedicate 20 minutes a day to something you really enjoy, that small amount of time can be enough to change your life for the better.”

Explore and Travel More

Festival Number 6 Festival Number 6   05

We live in such a beautiful planet filled with a rainbow of different cultures, and festivals somehow bring all that diversity together. Beyond the festival realm, traveling is way to understand the world we all share. But if you can’t afford that round-the-world trip, you can still explore your own country of origin. Go somewhere you normally wouldn’t, hang with people outside of your normal friend circles. Push yourself out of your comfort zone like you would at a festival; that is the only way to truly grow.

Spend More Time with Friends

Lightning In A Bottle 2015 Conner Coughenour   01

It’s difficult to have time for everybody in your life. Priorities often fall on work, partners, kids, and keeping up with mundane day-to-day activities. That’s why we love festivals so much; they’re the perfect opportunity to catch up with your pals . When you’re not at a festival, it’s still important to keep in touch with your friends. These people are your support system; they laugh with you, cry with you, probably drink too much with you, and help you get through the general struggles life throws at you. Sometimes even a simple phone call can be enough to remind someone that you have their back.

Watch What You Waste

Shambhala 2015 Band K Coconuts Only Img 4308
Photo by: Betty and Kora

Festivals have become more eco-conscious and are leading by example through concepts like “Leave No Trace ” and “End Single Use .” Beyond festival grounds, strive to look at the packaging used in the products you buy. Is it bio-degradable? Is it recyclable? Consider buying items with no packaging at all. By making small changes you start to see how achievable a packaging-free life really is.

Create More

We live in a consumer-based society. The media constantly tells us to buy, buy, buy. But what if we stopped buying so much and started to create more? We don’t always have to buy what we want. Create the things that you covet. There are loads of ideas and tutorials on YouTube on a wide variety of creative subjects and if you need a little inspiration listen to the late, beautifully creative Zina Lahr , a lady who diagnosed herself with CCD (Creative Compulsive Disorder). Her life may have been cut short but she leaves behind her all the beautiful things that she has created.