My time spent at Auburn from 2008 to 2012 passed without me truly, consciously, absorbing it. Come May 2012, I was driving back home to Texas never to return as a student. It wasn't long after being an alum that I experienced my first festival.
Though my time as a student was passed, I could see the similarity in the concept of "family" that transcended Auburn and festivals. Anyone who's stepped foot on Auburn's campus feels it. It really is its own element that's floating with the others in the air. When you run into someone at the airport in London and see the orange and blue, you immediately swell with excitement and a desire to communicate with that individual. When you attend a music festival, you feel the same thing.
As soon as you pass the portal into the grounds, there's magic there. Everyone's spirits are up. Thousands of lives are buzzing by you in jubilance and positivity. You can spark up a conversation with anyone have something to connect about. What always happens, is that you leave the conversation truly wishing the other person to have a great time. Sound familiar? War Eagle. I once ran into a couple in the early hours of the morning at the Las Vegas airport. They were donned in an Auburn hat and the wife had an Auburn bag. Though hurrying to my plane, I greeted them with an "Excuse me....War Eagle!" Their early morning haziness melted away when they heard the familiar words. We briefly chatted and they wished me a safe flight.
There's an interesting parallel between being surrounded by tens of thousands of people in Jordan-Hare and the crowd of a music festival. Though, depending on what years you attended Auburn, football games may not have been as fun. If you pause to look around at the shared experience all are having–it's truly beautiful. When I saw Cam dodge and dash his way into the end zone vs. LSU, the sheer excitement of the fans was palpable. Pair that with when the headliner of a festival comes out to play the song everyone's been waiting for. It's a similar moment where you, and everyone around you, are family. At that moment, no one has ill will or hostility. It's pure gratitude and celebration blended into an unforgettable experience.
If you haven't attended a true music festival, I implore you to. You don't have to like it. You don't have to go back ever again. I think if you attend with the Auburn spirit in mind, your perspective will get a little bit brighter.
My name is Andy McErlean and I work for Everfest–an Austin, TX based tech startup in the festival space. I graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Graphic Design. I'm proud to be an Auburn Tiger. (Images/Screenshots from everfest.com)