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Road Trip

The Road to Red Rocks | How Raves Lead to Road Trips

by Angela Casey

Music Festivals and concerts enrich our lives in many ways, obviously, they expose us to incredible music, performers, art, and rad humans. There is something else that for me personally has been one of the greatest gifts this lifestyle has delivered… and that is the opportunity to TRAVEL. We’ve all seen the meme that encourages us to buy tickets now, figure out how to get there later. Travel is something I enjoy almost as much as the events themselves. Pulling out my road map atlas and typing in destinations to Google Maps can lead to hours of research on different routes and scenic byways that can be just as inspiring and meaningful as the main event of a concert or festival. I recently had the incredible experience of turning a one night show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre into a 10 day road trip through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, across Utah and Nevada, into California, and up the Oregon Coast– all because I landed a ticket to see the Gods that are Rufus Du Sol at Red Rocks. I bought the ticket the day they went on sale, then spent 6 months searching for hours, scoping out the best places to see while on the road. I was able to swindle two weeks off work, which meant I could extend my trip west.

Lazer beams at red rocks amphitheatre
Rufus Du Sol at Red Rocks | Image via Author

I drove my sweet Pontiac Van, whose name is Sheila (if you don’t name your car you don’t love it), over 8000 kilometres through National Parks like Yellowstone, Lassen Volcanic, and the Redwoods. Over mountains, through snowstorms, and across deserts, all the way to the Pacific Ocean, because of what? A four-hour musical experience. Yeah, sure I could have booked a flight and been there and back in 24 hours, but I saw an opportunity to see things I’d never seen. I wound up seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes these eyeballs have ever absorbed AND I ended up at Techno Taco Tuesday in Denver, followed by a Chris Lake show in Salt Lake City (because the first thing a responsible raver does when you hit a new city is to check out the nightclubs, duh!) The most empowering part of it all? I did it solo, in my van, at the age of 24, and on my own dime. I slept on back roads and did my make up in gas stations. I stopped where I wanted when I wanted. I topped up my own oil, used an actual physical map to navigate, and had total control over the aux cord the whole time. If you’re thinking “Wow this chicks a badass witch” or “wow this chicks insane” you, friend are 100% correct!

The Legend Sheila! | Image via Author

That’s just one example of the travel that this lifestyle can afford us, Ravers. I’ve seen Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Costa Rica. Before I moved west, Electronic music brought me to British Columbia for Shambhala, which was clearly impacting enough that after three summers of pilgrimage to the Salmo River Ranch, I packed my van and #sentit 3000km west from Ontario to start a whole new life. This community has helped me to see my country and my home in such an exciting way. Now, mind you, a week in a car isn’t everyone’s dream vacation (which this vagabond finds hard to understand but whatever.) There are so many different ways to experience this music scene, from cruises like HolyShip! and Groove Cruise, to the big city, multi-venue events like Miami Music Week or Amsterdam Dance Event, there’s something out there for everyone. It’s all about what you make it! I wouldn’t be doing this article justice if I didn’t shout out all the Burners who saddle up their campers and cars to drive for days, even weeks, all to park in a desert and literally build a city ground up, insane but inspiring. Then, of course, there’s the opportunity to travel internationally to Tomorrowland in Belgium or Outlook Festival in Croatia into a multi-week (or month) backpacking trip around Europe. There’s Ultra Japan, Envision Costa Rica, EDC Mexico, the list goes on of beautiful destinations that festivals can take you to. I’m extremely excited to start planning my trip to Argentina for the Patagonia Global Eclipse in December of 2020, and you better believe I’ll be seeing Peru, Colombia, and Costa Rica while I’m at it. This lifestyle has altered my path in so many ways… From career choices to where I call home. Turning new friends into my new family. Above all, it has given me the chance to go places I may have never seen otherwise which is something I am truly grateful for.

Sunset on the beach
California Sunsets | Image via author

So, next time you’re planning a festival getaway, look further than the nearest metropolis or field. Is there a city or country you’ve always wanted to see? Find a festival or event in that place and make it all come together in a once in a lifetime expedition in the pursuit of dope beats and pretty views. We’re already experts at booking hotels, figuring out how to navigate strange places like campsites at night, and making friends with strangers. It has all led up to this massive jump into something new, somewhere new. If you’ve been considering it, take my word for it and DO IT, you have what it takes, and you’ve got enough sick music on that phone to drive for miles, baby.  Travel can be transformative, just like festivals. Put those two things together, and you, my fresh little freak, will be living your best life for years to come.

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