words+pictures/ LEKAN AGUNBIADE
It was the end of October. I was going through my second month of university; meeting new people, adjusting to newfound independence, and cramming for a midterm I had the next day. I was happy and comfortable with life- until I received a text message from my then-girlfriend saying it wasn’t going to work out. Everything came crashing down, and I knew at that moment either I was going to sulk, or do something about it. So I called up my brother who got turkey dumped a week prior to me, and told him we’re going to see Chance the Rapper on November 5, 2013. This was the decision that ended up changing my entire perspective on life.
The concert was amazing: one of the best concerts I’ve ever been too. But the overall satisfaction I received at the end of the night was deciding to jump at an opportunity. To move on with my life rather than sitting inside, laying stagnate in my development as an individual. A week later, my brother and I went to Mac Miller after being invited by people we met at Chance the Rapper. Two weeks later, Pusha-T, followed by childish Gambino, then Bas & AB soul, Schoolboy Q, Lil Dicky, Travis scott, the list goes on. These concerts were all unique experiences with those who shared a similar interest in the music.
When rappers are about to spit a solid 16 bars, or ravers know when the bass is going to drop, those moments of anticipation you share with a random person you met during the concert are priceless. Whether its rapping bar for bar with a girl I met at OVOfest during HYFR, or creating a mosh pit during 1night by Lil yachty (or every other song he plays) and raging with the crowd, or flying out to California to experience Camp flognaw 2015 in Los Angeles, each experience leaves you wanting more, and you become addicted to the positive energy and vibes of seeing your favourite artists in concert. After going to so many concerts of a certain genre, you start to recognize people from prior shows and events, and that’s when you realize you’re all a part of a community.
The most addicting thing about these events though are those moments you’ll never forget. After passing out for 5 hours due to food poisoning, alcohol poisoning and heat stroke, I was transferred to the infirmary. While on a cart with a girl who broke her arm falling off a hammock, we were getting high fives and cheers from random festival-goers saying it would be okay, all while Of Monsters & Men played Lakehouse live. Running back from the infirmary through Florence and the Machine to catch the last 30 minutes of schoolboy Q. Waiting outside 2 hours after a concert for Ab-Soul to sign your hat. Getting retweeted by Chance the Rapper thanking him for his first Toronto show which lead to a girl you met who ultimately was going to curve you until appearing on her timeline (thanks Chano). Watching your best friend lose a girl he was crushing on because Childish Gambino invited her backstage or having Lil Dicky shout out you and your friends for having so much energy when they threw you in the air during a performance. It’s those moments when you look back and know it was all worth it, and that everything is good.
Some of the luster has finally worn off after essentially 3 and a half years of nonstop concerts and festivals- seeing Tyler the Creator 3 times in 2 different countries will do that to you. But when you look back at those memories, those one-in-a-million memories, it makes you just want to do it again and again and again. If you’re still reading this, I challenge you. I challenge you to get some friends, buy some tickets and go see an artist that you’ve always been a fan of. Make those memories, become a member of that community, and watch the time fly. If you’re an avid concert-goer like me, I hope you too enjoy the ride. Fast forward to the present and I’ve spent around $1500 on raw concert and festival tickets, another $1000 on plane tickets, hotels and transportation to all of these events, and around $400 on drinks and food at venues. This doesn’t include the multiple days worth of time spent sweating in crowded concert halls. I’ve learned that you can’t get time back, so I’m glad I spent it doing something I love: and that’s priceless.