Yesterday, I woke before 6am to get a coach down to leafy Suffolk. I spent the day at Latitude, soaking up interesting sights such as dyed pink sheep, glitter-smothered humans and enchantingly decorated woodlands. It was a lot of fun just to roam around and explore, in an atmosphere where a middle-aged, bearded man in a turtle onesie can go about his business without a second glance from passersby. I purchased a blue flower crown, and felt like a mellow hippy for the duration of the day… <3. Even though the atmosphere alone was enough to put me in good spirits, what really left my mind basking in ripples of peace was, unsurprisingly, the music itself.
I saw three bands: Glass Animals, Two Door Cinema Club, and Mumford and Sons. This was the first music festival I’ve been to, and I can really understand the appeal of live music. It’s so immersive to be in the middle of a crowd: your senses supercharged on the pounding, colourful, shifting lights, the beat thrumming through your heart and gut and the melody swirling inside of you. I felt like everyone’s souls were flickering outwards and mixing together to create this wonderful, electric atmosphere. As I let the rhythm fill me up, I realised that my mind had emptied out to make room. I felt so receptive and alive to the experience, realising as I swayed that for once I didn’t feel self-conscious, that my mind wasn’t running round in its usual negative self-sabotaging loop, but still, and listening.
Part of the magic of live music (if it’s good), is indeed the music itself. But another key quality was the effect it had on my insides, in making my anxious mind desist from its usual anxieting (yes, I just made up this verb, but I think it should exist). It made me acutely attuned to my environment, which doesn’t happen when one’s mind is closed in on itself. It felt like curtains were opening in my head. This happened because of the intense sensorial stimulation, rocking you into aliveness. The same thing happens at other moments in life – like when your eyes are glued and sticky as you awe at a vivid, melting sunset, or when the first bite of a dense, gooey brownie makes your tongue sing as if angels have set up base camp there. These moments suppress your mind (and as a by product, all its insecurities and phantom thoughts and knack for problematising everything); instead of existing through your thoughts, you become attuned to the fact that you are actually alive. That you are a thing and a form beyond your mind. And this realisation, when you feel it, is deeply peaceful.
So, ironic though it may seem, all that outer noise of live music can bring an inner peace. For once, your mind is shut off, allowing your soul to express itself, and your body to feel…