The “boom” of the bass blares over the entire park. Walking up to the stage, I’m full of hype, ready to dance until I can’t feel my feet anymore. It’s the final show on Peach Stage of Wanee Music Festival – a full-on camping music festival.
Warming up is Widespread Panic, a Georgia-based jam band known for sending their fans into a frenzy. The entire population of campers, hippies, and music lovers are dance-skipping to the same place. I finally wade into the crowd, a few feet from the rail when I realize the only view I’m getting of Widespread Panic is the cartoons of lead singer John Bell on the backs of spectators’ WSMFP shirts.
Even with the best intentions and the most determination, I’m still only 5’1’ at a music festival.
I’ve been a concert lover since I can remember. I’ve also been significantly shorter than other concert lovers since I can remember. Being short has its ups, like saving money by shopping in the kids section and being the pint-sized, hide-n-seek champ.
It also has its downs, like not being able to reach a top shelf – anywhere – and getting engulfed by a crowd at a concert.
Here are some obstacles I face being a tiny girl in a humongo crowd:
- Not seeing much but the people around you is a pretty obvious one. I address how you can turn this around later, so keep reading.
- The only real air you’re getting in these crowds is the exhale of those around you. This sounds nasty, but you get used to it pretty quickly.
- Not only can you not see much, people somehow look right over you. Watch out for this one, I’ve experienced countless bruises on my feet and legs because of people stepping on me. Makes you tougher, though.
Here’s a pic of my sick view from Widespread at the Wanee Fest…look at those backs and pits!
Lucky for all my shorties out there, I do have some solutions for you:
- Two words: Platform Sneakers. Lucky for us, they’re coming back in style, slowly but surely. With these stylish puppies we can add at least two inches to ourselves and maybe see a little more of life.
- Cop a perch. Sometimes people will get really hyped and offer to put you on their shoulders. If you’re comfortable with this, then you get to see things even the tallest of humans can’t: everything!
- Head for the rail. Whether the front or the side, a perch on the rail means you can lean in or out to get a view around other spectators. Even tall(er) people and photographers use this trick.
- Since we’re diminutive, shuffling through a crowd is easier for us than others. We can two-step our way to the front in half the time our 6-foot counterparts can – or can react to our sly moves. Next thing you know you’re two feet from JB himself!
There’s something beautiful about being a shorty at a concert. You appreciate the music that much more. When I’m in a crowd I’ll sometimes close my eyes (even though I can’t see anything anyway) and just feel the music pulsate through my bones. When I open my eyes I get to observe those around me in their own little worlds. We’re all enjoying the same thing in the same place, and yet we’re all doing this in such unique ways. From the jumpers, to the jammers, to the stand-stillers, to the go-wilders, and everyone in between, we’re all here for the same reason; our love for music.
If you get the chance to hit a festival like Wanee, grab it. Short or tall, the experience is unlike any other. Though I couldn’t see the stage well, I could see the positive vibes and love radiating throughout the entire park. Though I got stepped on, I have funny stories to tell and had good laughs with those who stomped on me.
As with everything you do, go into it with a positive mindset. Think a little deeper into the situations you’re faced with. You could find you discover some amazing things that others around you might not. After all, they’re probably too tall to see them anyway.
*My dad and I posing in front of the kick-butt Wanee sign. Find some cool road tripping tips, tricks, and stories on his blog!