Good Vibes Festival 2018, to me, is a story of the anxiety-riddled return of a young woman to the music festival scene, one awkward dance move at a time.
by Emily Mary Chin, Carrybeans
Last weekend’s Good Vibes Festival was a point of anxiety for me in the weeks leading up to it, for many reasons.
I know, I know. Who cares right? It’s about the music, it’s not about what you wear. You’re there for good music and good vibes, not catwalks and #OOTD’s. You’re right, it’s true. And I tried. I tried not to care. But everything around me was telling me I had to.
For instance, I was texting with my best friend a couple weeks before Good Vibes. I told her that I still hadn’t figured out what to wear to Good Vibes. And that if I didn’t figure it out, I’d probably just go super casual in an oversized t-shirt and leggings.
My best friend of 14 years
“Emily, I’m not letting you leave the hotel room in a t-shirt and leggings. Hell, I’m not even letting you into my car to go to Genting unless you figure out something to wear. You spent so much money to go to Good Vibes just to wear t-shirts and leggings???” said my lovely best friend, before sending over a link to an online apparel store.
She had a point. And thus, my plan for comfort flew straight out the window.
I know full well that I no longer have the 21-year old zest necessary to get through a weekend of sweaty hipsters and uncoordinated combinations of dancing and jumping. Sweaty hipsters and uncoordinated dance used to be my jam, my comfort zone, my escape from all responsibility and commitment.
But since my last foray into the festival scene at Island Music Festival 2016, I have since been awakened to the error of my ways. I’ve accepted the humdrum realities of what happens when you escape responsibility for too long. And now I find it hard to go back to the carefree, escapist mindset of my late teens and early 20’s.
That’s a lot of drama and big talk from someone who’s only been away from the scene for two years. But nevertheless, I no longer feel like the same girl.
And it was the first time I’d be seeing him since we broke up. My best friend happens to work at the same company as him. They have been for the last three years and they have a very close friendship. Part of the reason as to why I left the festival scene is because most of my plans to go would include my best friend. And most of her plans would include him.
The cable car headed to the festival at Gohtong Jaya
But in the case of this year’s Good Vibes Festival, the lineup was too good for me to pass up. I would weather any amount of awkward situations to be able to see Lorde, ODESZA, alt-J, and Petit Biscuit perform live over one weekend.
I was nervous and a little afraid of how I would feel. But I was determined to see my Spotify playlist come alive in front of my eyes.
And as is usually the case with my silly, overthinking brain, it really wasn’t as bad as I thought I would be. My best friend and I managed to come to a very easy compromise in terms of outfit choices; I was fairly well-dressed and comfortable the whole weekend. And it was just really nice spending quality time with my best friend again.
There is definitely a distinct change in my festival persona as compared to before. I used to push and squeeze my way to the front of every stage, needing to be right smack where the action is. Now, I hang back, finding a nice spot on the grass to enjoy the music and the ambiance. I used to be the last one to sleep at the end of every night, even staying up until sunrise. Now, I am the first one to knock out the moment we get back to the hotel.
Seeing my ex again after a year and half was awkward for all of two hours before it settled into a familiar comfort. In all my anxiety and overthinking, I forgot about the very genuine friendship and respect we’ve always shared with and for one another.
And so yes, a lot has changed since my last festival. My circumstances, my priorities, my state of mind—they’ve all gone through a bit of an overhaul over the last two years, as they tend to in your mid 20’s. Sometimes revisiting past interests or activities can be a little scary. You worry you may be out of place or even worse, you worry you may revert back to old habits or thought patterns.
That escapist in me once controlled my entire life and I didn’t want to go back. I was convinced my life was different now, that the escapist in me had died. But looking at it now, I realize: had I not gone to Good Vibes, I would have been feeding a different kind of escapist instead.
And so I guess I still have that little bit of an escapist in me. I probably always will. But it’s reassuring for me to know that at least she doesn’t control me anymore.
Good Vibes Festival 2018 had a jam-packed lineup, one I knew I couldn’t miss out on. Click here to read my take on all the highlights from the weekend—all the good, the bad, and even the surprising.