From our dear friends at Enchanted Forest Gathering, who sadly won’t be back after Covid.
by Jazzy Cherie
The atmosphere at a festival is euphoric. It’s hard to describe the feeling of a festival to someone who has never been to one. Words just can’t convey the music, people, environments, workshops and more that come together to create a delicious concoction of love and community. When coming home from a festival, it is common to reminisce about the wonderful times and wonder why day-to-day life can’t be more like a festival. Well, good news, it can be. Community is a huge part of the festival environment that keeps people coming back for more, so here are some tips on making your everyday life more like a festival by building community.
1. Be Open to meeting new people and making new friends
It’s fun collaborating, carpooling, and setting up your camp with all of your friends, but don’t forget to open yourself up to crossing paths with a stranger. Whether you let someone hang out at your camp, strike up a conversation while waiting for food, or just give a random passerby a compliment, it all helps to create bonds. When you get home from your festival experience you will feel invigorated by the unique interactions you had. Keep the good feelings going by continuing to stay open. Let compliments fly freely, eat lunch with a coworker or unfamiliar classmate, and remember that connection builds community.
2. Help someone if it looks like they need it
Have you ever been struggling with something and just wished that someone would have reached out and helped? Everyone experiences this at some point in their life, no matter how big or small the issue, and there’s nothing more comforting than someone showing you compassion in a time of need. If you see someone having trouble carrying their stuff from their car to their camp, lend a hand. If you know that it’s hot out and notice someone looking dehydrated, get them some water. Community is about helping and being able to rely on one another. You can help others outside a festival in many ways by spotting someone change if they’re short, offering to help carry groceries, or cooking someone a meal.
3. Freely express yourself and encourage others to do the same
At festivals, people are dressed in eccentric fashion, accessorize with uncommon objects, embrace their silly selves, and participate in workshops that encourage people to practice clear and honest communication. You may have a dress code at your current job, but you can spice up your work life with fun accessories, subtle pops of color, and fun prints. On the weekends, sport your favorite festival gear, because life’s too short to wear boring clothes. Besides fashion, don’t forget to be authentic with the people around you. If something makes you happy, sad, mad, sad, excited, don’t be afraid to let people know. When someone chooses to express their honest feelings with you, be open to their experiences and perspectives. Try not to judge.
4. Start and maintain traditions
Traditions are common at festivals, whether they are explicitly stated or not. Some start the weekend off with ceremonies lead by elders, some hold annual panels lead by the festival’s leaders or creators, and some welcome certain artists back year after year to help curate their favorite dance floor vibes. Start traditions in your community by holding weekly dinners or game nights. If you’re a mother, father, student, single person, married couple, or whatever else, hold get-togethers with similar groups of people doing whatever you might enjoy. It brings everyone closer together to have a tradition to look forward to and to participate with like-minded individuals.
5. Help to create safe spaces
Last but not least, safety. Safety and consent is a huge factor in building communities. No one wants to be part of a community where they don’t feel safe to share, be themselves, or invite others. It is becoming more and more common for festivals to bring in harm reduction crews, groups to console those having a difficult time, and safe spaces for both all genders. In your own community, help to create a safe space by watching out for neighbor’s homes and property. Help others with home improvement projects. Create and respect the boundaries and rules of others and their homes.
If you want to coexist in a beautiful community, help to create your vision. Building community takes effort and collaboration. Don’t wait for the vision to be built for you, help to build your vision and people will join you.