I went to my first three-day music festival during spring break and, not to be dramatic, but I feel revitalized.
First thing's first, if you even remotely like reggae, I recommend you go to Reggae Rise Up—the festival itself was straight up beautiful. It was at St. Petersburg in Vinoy Park, right on the ocean. Artists worked on magnificent paintings and sculptures that glowed in the dark along the edge. When there wasn't a band I recognized, I'd sit on the ledge, let my feet dangle over the ocean, and gaze at the passing boats. There were tents and tents of vendors that sold every (legal) item every hippie could ever dream of. Also, the food wasn't bad, but the drinks were better.
The best part was that I went with my brother. Being best friends with your brothers is a blessing and a curse—everyone thinks you're dating so you get literally zero action BUT you really don't have to worry about them. If you're with a group of your friends, you're going to want to be as social as possible, and that's great, but sometimes it's best to be alone. I was essentially alone with my brother. We shared hours of comfortable silence with one another and not once did we feel any need to entertain the other.
So really, it was just me. Screaming old Pepper lyrics too loud by the ocean. Freaking life changing.
All the philosophers said it, but being alone is the best time for self-rejuvenation and self-discovery. Just to clarify: you shouldn't go to music festivals alone, especially in Florida, because hello human trafficking is a real thing. But, if you have someone that you can "be alone with" and trust, start saving up and go to a music festival ASAP.
All three days of Reggae Rise Up weirdly gave me a new perspective on life. I know that sounds dramatic, but there's something about closing your eyes and swaying to some awesome tunes in a field with a bunch of half naked people by the ocean that really gets you to thinking.
Before the festival, I was stressed. Well, as stressed as any other college senior on the cusp of graduation. Adulthood and reality are only a month and a half away and I swear I get hives just thinking about it. Not to mention all the other stuff that comes with graduation—it's the end of an era. So as my feet dangled over the ocean, reggae music playing in the back as I gripped my massive pineapple that barely had any pina colada in it, I thought about life. No lie probably had about three existential crises, but it needed to happen for real clarity.
I'm not saying I have my life together now (not in the slightest), but I had a mental health break and worked on myself. And that's the beauty of a music festival. Unlike a normal concert, you have the freedom to walk around and enjoy yourself.
Most of my friends didn't even know what Reggae Rise Up was, but guys, it isn't all Coachella or nothing. There are some affordable music festivals in Florida that can possibly work with your music taste and bank account. Start looking up some music festivals, maybe get an early bird deal or start saving up—you'd be surprised.