Life is Beautiful 2

An auto-tuned voice is pushing its way through the crack in the frosted window.
Below the sounds of a Neil Diamond-esque song play just loud enough to be recognized.
A group of younger people shuffle by the door, expressing their wishes that the night would last forever.

Because life is beautiful.

The bracelets on my wrist are beginning to itch. I’m not sure if it’s in relation to them being on too long or the knowledge that the festival is only one more day.

Today wasn’t just about music.

After pouring over the acts we decided to focus on two things until the music of the night: art and learning.

The Life is Beautiful Ideas series is a great investment. Quick talks by brilliant minds that almost all condense into one lesson: love the you that you are.

RuPaul stood on a bare stage and commanded the attention of hundreds. “I love you!” He said, wearing an immaculate suit and his trade mark glasses. “But how can you love anyone if you don’t love yourself?”

Next there was magic and the art of asking the right questions followed by how to take creative risks from a former Cirque performer.

The audience was captivated. Their heads, hearts, and souls open and ready to learn.

Wandering through the Crime on Canvas exhibit. Exhausted revelers lounging on blow up sofas or against walls. The artist Shag at a table with fellow artists, trading stories. A girl in a peach dress sashayed around the room. Paintings from some of my idols: Greg Simkins, Brandie Milne, Shag, Shepard Fairey, etc…

A room full of neon words. Iggy Pop on the wall. It was beautiful. It was sad. It felt dirty and rotten with a twist of sex appeal.

Outside a sculpture made of trucks, twisted. The night grew darker and I became more uncomfortable. Screams from the giant water slide and beach game area (where there was free wifi). Three dancers dancing alone in front of a smoke machine covered boat playing out the same beat over and over.

Leon Bridges took to the stage with an old school funk and soul sound and moving like the lost cousin of James Brown and Ray Charles. Trying his best to hype up the Life is Beautiful people. It had been a long day, most people sitting and listening. Dancing was not happening at that stage.

A quick exit. Chicken on a stick. A long wait at the hydration station and the best latte I have ever had. Vanilla. Honey. Makers & Finders. I will be back tomorrow. Oh yes I will.

Loud. Bright lights. A voice that sounds like a murderous doll. Die Antwoord on the stage. Kill like a ninja. Die like a ninja. Kids around me singing along and my group looking on in horror. Are we that old?

Throwing found playing cards into the mass dancing mob. “Find some disrespect.”

A moment of quiet as Die Antwoord exits. Punk and alternative rock pumped through the speakers. The crowd shrank then grew again. This time by an older group. Parents. Dads with garage bands. Moms out with friends. Jane’s Addiction hits the stage and the parents go semi-wild, dancing in their flowing skirts and cargo shorts.

With enough 90’s nostalgia flowing into our heads for the night we exit the festival.

Back to the small room. The confusing blends of dance and casino music. The smells of an entire day surrounded by people clinging to clothes.

An air horn.

A drum beat.

My eyes are heavy.

Headphones in, I shut off the light. I scratch under my green bracelet. To sleep. To wake up and immerse myself in experience one more time.

Life is beautiful.

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