Our theme for the month of October is “flash nonfiction.” Writers were asked to submit pieces that were 250 words or less.

As a twenty-something with some disposable income, no real motivation to leave the house, and a small martyr complex when it comes to their job, I decided to go to a music festival in early September. What began as a screenshot of the musician lineup turned into taking my first personal day in over a year and stuffing a Chicago sub in my face as I fumbled to show my vaccination card.

In retrospect, I’m glad everyone else bought out the three-day tickets because I’m not sure I could have dragged myself through two more days.

We had mainly bought the tickets to see Big Thief and Phoebe Bridgers. Economically, I was ecstatic that I could see one of my favorite artists and see a bunch of other bands—best bang for my buck. There were a few gems—music festivals are the best place to listen to funky electronic music, and I liked Dogleg (Michigan-grown talent) despite the maskless moshers—and I didn’t expect to love everything.

But beyond the physical demands of standing all day in the beating hot sun, you’re battling band FOMO, eying the twenty-minute line to fill up your water bottle, trying to ignore the smoke constantly wafting by. Distant bass jars you from Adrianne Lenker’s sweet crooning. The woman in front of you keeps making fun of her boyfriend for dancing while you’re just trying to soak in the songs that got you through 2020

Truly, truly, I say to you: buy the concert ticket instead.


  1. Jill Geyer

    I just appreciate the first sentence so much. P

    • Alex Johnson

      Thanks, I thought it summed me up pretty well

  2. Phil Rienstra

    I had always suspected that a music festival would probably be an unpleasant experience – good to know that my apprehension was not unfounded.

    • Alex Johnson

      You are a smarter person than I, sir.

  3. Laura S

    A few years ago I stood at the front during a concert and my back hurt by the time the opener was done. I’m not even that old and I’m too old for concerts that don’t provide comfy chairs for me to sit in. I appreciate your un-recommendation, because festivals always sound so fun in theory!

    • Alex Johnson

      Right? They seems too good to be true, and turns out they are. Now I guess we can be mad that we have seats at a concerts but never get to sit down in them (unless you want to watch people’s backs for an entire concert—ugh).


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