NDMF 2017

Before last fall, I had never attended any local music festivals. After trying Trapfest, I became hooked and decided to try Sun City Music Festival, but to really “fit in,” and not to look like a noob at another music festival. I took a template to my barber, Jatori and we got started with her custom glitterbomb technique. Jatori works at my favorite barbershop, Blessed Barber Studio in El Paso, TX.

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(image left Glitterbomb © Jatori the Barber)

I enjoyed the experience of her cutting my hair and then working with my template to complete my look. I always have great experiences at the barber studio and cuts start at $30.

When I headed out, I made sure to bring an empty Camelbak, capable of holding 3 gallons, sunscreen, bug spray, and sunglasses. I had already taken the opportunity the week prior to pick up my GA bracelet from Fountains at Farah.

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IMG_0307The begining of Day One and Two had a sufficient amount of entertainment, with the Malibu pop-up bar, flash tattoos, photo booths, open spaces and the free Coca-Cola vending machine (used to print your name and that of a friend), to encouraging sharing.

According to K-Fox, there were more than 40,000 festivalgoers in the venue  space, covering 15 city blocks downtown, including Cleveland Square Park and San Jacinto Plaza.

I really didn’t like the concept of the silent disco, because I felt like it was just too awkward using headphones that other people have used, in order to listen to the music and participate in the festivities, the way they were meant to be enjoyed. I much prefer the vibe of being in the midst of my favorite DJ or musician and feeling the tempo and bass, as much as I can perceive the live audio.

I have done my fair share of research and investigated the Here One wireless earbuds and they seem like a worthy investment if I plan to make this a regular thing. But, I don’t.

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So, I shied away from the used headphones and just moved along to the next stage, to await Khalid and to join my crew. I shared some cokes, some laughter and I reveled in the music. In truth, I don’t perceive the downtown venue to be the best location for this sort of this, due to the nature and studies of how human beings behave in a crowd. Even with the streets emptied of automobiles and sidewalk signage, there was not enough room to house the over 20,000 in attendance in the GA area for the 2 stages nearby. The crowd formed to watch Khalid perform was smashed together. This made the GA standing area very uncomfortable: the air was stale and I could feel all my surrounding peers against my frame. I am a 26 and less than 5’4″ so it seemed the taller individuals didn’t notice. Still, my considerations didn’t take into account the aspect of “safety” or “crowd control,” because I had the initial impression this would be cared for. It was an oversight on the part of those who coordinated the festival. The headliners and the setup was a great idea, given the notion of controlling or monitoring the attendees. However, this was not the case wen I arrived at the entrance both times. There have been enough incidents in the news regarding people being trampled to death or dying because of poor planning decisions made about controlling, regulating and monitoring crowds. The recent decision about the 1989 Hillsborough Stadium Disaster is a perfect example among too many, in which those who make such decisions and with the power to prevent the loss of life or heat related health incidents, too often make the wrong decision and it can lead to the prosecution.

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My observation was that the number in the crowd for general admission at the Rio Bravo stage not being controlled by police, the fire department nor any security, to maintain some semblance of order and then everyone being squished together, was sure to cause some problems. As I predicted, while listening to Khalid, extremely squished in position, rubbing elbows and smelling other people’s hair and body odor and having little to no breeze, made the experience difficult to enjoy. I was shocked to also recognize that to “exit,” there were also no police or guards in the crowd to encourage patrons to behave and move in an orderly fashion. People were busy pushing and yelling. Too often I found myself hoping I wouldn’t fall over or the crowd might not take me down with it. It almost prevented me from making the decision to attend another concert or festival. I was shocked to find that upon accessing the festival, I came with my Camelbak, a medium sized black bag w molle attachments, sunglasses, a power bank two times the size of my phone and my iPhone 7+. I was never wanded, there were no walk-through metal detectors, and when I opened my bag, the volunteer just reached one hand in the last pocket of my bag, to confirm the bladder was empty for the Camelbak. The next station confirmed my age on my Texas State issued ID and provided me a bracelet to identify I was of drinking age. Given that the Ariana Grande Concert Manchester bombing had happened just a few days earlier, I was sure there would be more strict measures. With all things considered, I made the decision I would be willing to give this fall’s SCMF a shot and if it works

I was shocked to find that upon accessing the festival, I came with my Camelbak, a medium sized black bag w molle attachments, sunglasses, a power bank two times the size of my phone and my iPhone 7+. I was never wanded, there were no walk-through metal detectors, and when I opened my bag, the volunteer just reached one hand in the last pocket of my bag, to confirm the bladder was empty for the Camelbak. The next station confirmed my age on my Texas State issued ID and provided me a bracelet to identify I was of drinking age. Given that the Ariana Grande Concert Manchester bombing had happened just a few days earlier, I was sure there would be more strict measures. With all things considered, I made the decision I would be willing to give this fall’s SCMF a shot and if it works out–Coachella next year.

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