Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We could all stand to learn a few things from the hippies

I had the wonderful time of experiencing Bonnaroo this past week, a hippie music festival in middle Tennessee.  It's a mish-mash of good music, vendors, and activities that may or may not be designed to entertain people using drugs.  

There were shops to buy tie-dye, a build your own bongo drum station, and vegan food markets everywhere.  There was a smoker's lounge, giving out free packs of organic American spirits, a video game tent, and spin art.  A recycled water fountain in the Center-roo soon turned brown from dirty hippies bathing in it in lieu of showering.  Women hula hoop dancing spattered the expansive lawns, and couples with enlarged pupils cuddled on blankets to the tune of the Yea Yea Yeas, TV on the Radio, Phish, NIN, Al Green, and much more.  

There are activities for any drug user.  A little comedy, free ice cream, and Snoop Dogg to keep the pot heads entertained.  A little techno/DJ dance party for the E lovers with Girl Talk and MGMT.  Art projects, pyrotechnic shows, and Animal Collective for those into acid, and a peace love and happiness motto that would fit any drug user's frame of mind.  Even security guards announced at the gates that "There are places we are not searching, figure it out."  A cursory glance over to make sure that there are no bricks of heroin or weapons stashed in your rainbow carry all was all it takes for entry.

A festival designed for hippies and druggies for sure.  Though, throughout the entire festival, I never saw one fight or any negativity.  People were nice to each other and more than happy to talk to and help strangers.  Your neighbors offer to cook you breakfast.  The people in front of you move aside to let you get a better spot to see your favorite band.  People slow down, enjoy life moment by moment without a plan.  You get a little dirty and you don't mind.  You enjoy good music.  It just puts things back into perspective.  

If you can survive in a muddy wet tent, with millions of people you don't know then maybe the world is a simpler place than we remember it is most days.  Maybe all you need is a little love, some good tunes, and kindness to strangers to get by.  The rest is all just bonus.  With that kind of attitude, we could all be a little happier.

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