Let’s be honest. We’re all going through the five stages of grief as we watch our favorite festivals, tours, and events get postponed, canceled, or caught in limbo as the industry scrambles to respond responsibly to COVID-19. This unprecedented global virus will go down in history for its deadliness and disruptions. In the meantime, all we can do is stay safe, practice responsible social distancing, and hope this gets better as soon as possible. But what does this mean while we wait for better days? To me, it means we have live streams, we have each other, and we have ourselves to get through all of this uncertainty.
My grief came over me likely in a similar fashion to many of you. I remember watching Ultra Music Festival 2020 announce that they have postponed to 2021 and leaning into my denial, thinking no way can this be happening. As other festivals and events began canceling as well, I became angry. How could they!?? Don’t they realize how many people will be disappointed?! We carried on through March, and the number of cases began to grow in the United States. Festivals even out to Memorial Day Weekend were starting to cancel, and then fired up my bargaining stage… Please, let me have my Elements Lakewood 2020? As the virus continued to spread, and we were issued to stay inside, I sunk into my depression. I watched Elements, EDC Las Vegas 2020, and Electric Forest 2020, and many others postpone and cancel throughout April. I truly felt like my soul hit rock bottom… But. As I write this article today, I have finally reached a point of relative acceptance. No live music. Not for a long time. And that’s okay.
We’ll all go through our own grief in our own ways and at our own pace. We’re also impacted at varying levels financially, socially, and mentally. Coming into this hard time with depression and anxiety seems like a real kick in the shins right now, but it also made me realize that I’ve spent a long time figuring out how to deal with painful emotions. Let’s set aside our unique situations for a moment and focus on what we can all do to help our souls and mental health get through the uncertainty of 2020. I’ve mixed together a prescription for spiritual healing that has helped me enormously: live streams, community, and forgiveness. I hope it can help you too.
In the absence of festivals, tours, and events, DJs and producers have set up their homes and confined studios to bring us endless live streams of their musical creations. Insomniac brought thousands of music lovers together to watch Beyond Wonderland, Nocturnal Wonderland, HARD Summer, and even Escape for their Virtual Rave-A-Thon events. Digital Mirage was a raging success, Beatport ReConnect has been raising thousands of dollars for COVID-19 relief, and Excision is hosting Couch Lands for a three-day event broadcasting Lost Lands 2019! Disciple even hosted Block Party 2 featuring 12th Planet, Barely Alive, Virtual Riot, and more live streamed over Minecraft and Discord. Artists and labels are getting seriously creative out there to bring good vibes and energy into our living rooms, and we should support their efforts! This is a great opportunity to kick back on the couch and watch your favorite artists pour their hearts into their work, and you may make some discoveries while you’re at it. More live streams are popping up each day, so keep an eye out for what looks interesting to you. The next one I have my eye on is Room Service Music Festival!
The second pill I am prescribing today is community. Live streams can help soothe the soul, but the truth is we’re going to feel isolated over the next few months. As social distancing becomes more of a mandate and less of an option, we will be spending a lot of time with our own thoughts. In order to keep from going insane, we need to build our own community of people to talk to in online messengers, video chats, over the phone, and hell, get a pen-pal if you want to! Fortunately, social media has made this easier to do than ever. There are numerous rave-related Facebook groups, such as Female Ravers United, and plenty of artist-specific fan groups, such as Cyclops Army, Virtual Riot’s Present Junkies, and I H8 SVDDEN DEATH. Find your people and start making connections!
My final script I write to you is the simple act of forgiveness. There are decisions we’ve all made in the prior month, year, and longer than are either making our current situations easier or more difficult. Forgive yourself. You didn’t know what was coming. I see some point fingers at certain industries losing their jobs. I see some call others irresponsible or at fault for the sudden and unpredictable events that have impacted so many this past month. Take some time to forgive yourself and others as we move through these uncharted waters. Explore new hobbies, skills, and creative avenues. Try to keep your head up, and serve as a life preserver to the people in your life instead of an anchor. We will get through this, together. One live stream, group chat, and introspective journey at a time.
Read the story behind the Featured Image, captured by RiMo during DAYBREAKER LIVE! Consider joining the next one to get some movement in while improving your mental health!