Groovin the who? An outsider’s perspective

Bridie O’Shea throws on some boots and crystals in an attempt to assimilate into the music festival culture.   


Everyone has felt like an outsider at some point. Whether you were starting at a new school, or a new sporting team, or ordering your first drink at a bar and not knowing what anything is called (the first time I ordered a drink, I asked for “some lemonade with some vodka” and the bartender gave me that I-know-you-just-turned-eighteen pitiful look. I felt like hiding under a rock and not coming out until I had committed to memory the name of every alcoholic beverage known to man).

It’s scary when you’re in a new environment. People already have their groups; they know what to do and what to say and you can’t do anything but just stand back and watch them win at life while you’re trying not to fall flat on your face finding the nearest exit. It’s a terrible, stomach-churning feeling when you’re a fish out of water, and that’s exactly how I felt before Groovin the Moo last weekend.


Cool kids standing around and looking cool


I was totally out of my comfort zone. Completely. Why did I think it would be a good idea? Going to music festivals isn’t something I do. I’m not apart of that crowd (you know, all those cool kids with their band t-shirts, fedora hats and music knowledge). So you know what I did? I did some research. That’s right. I turned going to a music festival into a research task (I’m a terrible teenager).

If I was going to survive this day, I needed to find out everything I could. As they say, knowledge is power! I started with setting up a Spotify playlist of all the acts and listening to it on repeat; this was closely followed by stalking the GTM Facebook page photo albums to check out fashion and constantly debate whether or not I would need to buy gumboots. I even stocked up on food before I went in; who knew how expensive that was going to be!

When I walked through the gates and surveyed the sea of people, I wondered how many others felt like I did; like we’re all just part of some massive production where all the cool kids play the lead roles (e.g. sitting on guys shoulders in the mosh pit and somehow managing to not look like a sweaty mess) while the rest of us are just standing awkwardly in the background trying to move our rigid limbs to the music (or just sit out completely, leaving the fist pumping to the professionals).

Can you spot me? I think I'm in the back row somewhere...

Can you spot me? I think I’m in the back row somewhere…

I don’t think I can talk about Groovin and not mention the fashion choices: they were probably the most interesting aspect of the day. From onesies to Cosplay costumes to Indian headdresses to denim undies, (those pieces of fabric couldn’t possibly be classed as shorts), I was impressed by people’s confidence in wearing things that couldn’t possibly be normal daily attire. Speaking of fashion, I played a game with my friends called “Spot the Lair Belt”, you know that black belt that all the Instafamous girls wear? Well, we counted 28 by mid-afternoon and felt that that was enough to make our point, and decided to stop there.

Perhaps I was being so judgemental because I knew I would never be like those girls. I tried my best to dress like them, but honestly, I felt like a bit of an imposter. Dancing in a field with bare-minimum clothing, sparkling of glitter and shouting out lyrics is their thing, sitting in my pyjamas with a good book and a cup of coffee is my thing.

Though I understand why music festivals are so addictively popular. When I managed to push myself into the middle of San Cisco’s mosh pit and actually knew the words to some songs, the feeling of being a part of something so much bigger than myself was amazing. The simple feat of knowing the same lyrics as everybody else was enough to make me feel not so much of an outsider anymore. I was exactly like everybody else in that tent. People singing and dancing in unison with each other and the act on stage was a sight to behold. It made me think, “you know what, I get it”.

I finally get it.

San Cisco. Bringing people together since '09

San Cisco. Bringing people together since ’09

So Groovin the Moo, you have converted me. I still may not totally understand why metallic tattoos are a thing, or the ‘cut-to-vom’ etiquette at the portaloos, or why a bottle of water costs $5. Despite the fact that my clothes came home smelling like pot, I do understand why people come back year after year to frolic in the fields and listen to some great music.

See you again next year Groovin.


All images: Melissa Wilson, Facebook, no changes made.

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