“Enjoy your day at KAABOO!” an employee warmly greets as I enter the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Walking beneath a massive turquoise, orange and red archway I catch up to my fast-moving friends, Jasmit and Kristen. Together, we pace down a paved road, catching glimpses of vendors selling food, distributing alcohol, raffling off prizes and giving away free samples between throngs of energetic bodies. As we round a corner, music tickles our ears and a stage comes into sight. Our pace quickens as we weave between groups dancing to the beat. The song concludes, the crowd claps and the band transitions into their next hit. Over the next three days, more music and friends will factor into the equation for an amazing weekend. One that provided countless laughs, music discoveries, memorable moments and valuable lessons. Here’s a few things I learned from KAABOO.
- Awkward dancing (a specialty of mine) not only is incredibly fun but also fashions a necessary personal bubble amid a sardine-like crowd. Do people really want to stand next to the weirdo flailing his body back and forth not in rhythm with the song (though he desperately tries)? No. Go ahead and dance awkwardly to make space for oneself. Even better, grab fellow awkward dancers to create a space so large one can inhale fresh air during that really popular set.
- Friends, both old and new, make one feel glad to be alive. From screaming that chorus everyone knows together to reveling in a newfound common interest to discovering that someone has changed for the better, sharing experiences, words and moments with friends ultimately validates our own existence and happiness. Take the risk of branching out to someone unknown. Be honest and open with those already in your life. Surround oneself with individuals who make you glad you’re alive.
- Passion is both infectious and attractive. It’s the fuel that propelled men and women to perform at KAABOO. It’s the reason why thousands and thousands attended the Del Mar Fairgrounds this past weekend. For these artists, creating music and sharing it with the world is their passion. Grasping the joy these individuals receive from pursuing their life’s work as well as sharing it with others was simple. During any given set, I turned around in every direction only to see a sea of smiles, all emanating from the stage to pour over those awaiting a chance for happiness. Noticing this has been a wake up call. A chance to refocus my passions, develop them and share them with others.