By Brent Ramirez
Blog Content Contributor
I went to my very first music festival and I can honestly say that it was a pretty neat experience. At the ripe age of 21, I still feel like I was a bit late to jump on the music festival scene, considering I’ve been scrolling past Instagram images of my friends at things like ACL, Coachella or Something Wicked for years now. I’ve always wondered what the experience was like, yet I never bothered to ever go out and see for myself.
Rewind back to three or four months ago when a large portion of my friends decided to buy tickets to a completely new music festival called Mala Luna, the first of its kind to be held in San Antonio. I was a bit caught off guard at how quick they were all to get tickets. The lineup for the two-day festival featured a large group of artists that I had only vaguely heard of, so I wasn’t too excited or intrigued. A week later, my friends urged me again to go, and considering my girlfriend was going too, I knew the FOMO would hit me hard if I didn’t tag along. So I shelled out $100 or so for a music festival that I had never heard of with artists that I barely knew.
It took me a bit of time to actually get excited for the festival, but I eventually came around. I was ready to experience my first music festival with people I enjoyed being around, which I figured would be the best part. For the most part, I was right. On day one of Mala Luna, we got to the venue at about 4:30 p.m., maybe a little more than halfway through the day’s lineup. The venue was the Lone Star Brewery in San Antonio, a wide open parking lot type venue with some grass bordering the right edge of the area. There were vendors with tons of options. My only gripe was that they were mostly all cash only and I only had card. This may be a noob move on my part, considering this was my first festival, but I figured they would at least have Square in some places.
Going into the crowd was a pretty hectic. People would not let you get anywhere unless you really asserted yourself. My group of friends wanted to be up front for when Steve Aoki went on, so we set out to get to the front as early as possible just to be safe. Big mistake! All of the artists prior to Aoki were rappers and trap artists, so a majority of the front crowd were all moshing and shoving. Moving in, we had to deal with people constantly rubbing up on us and the occasional person talking smack. Yeah, forcing your way up to the front is obnoxious and only makes you seem like an ass. But I guess they could’ve done them same thing to avoid loosing their spot. That might be flawed logic, but that’s just my mindset when it comes to concert crowds.
By the time we made it up to the very front, it was like standing in a rowboat with 40 people in it, constantly swaying back and forth and nearly tipping over. It was pretty bad at times. It didn’t help that festival staff was throwing water bottles out to the crowd. People really wanted to catch those water bottles, so once again, the pushing and shoving ensued in a space where you were pressed against four people at a time. I even took a water bottle to the face and ended up bleeding from a little gash on my nose. I looked like a fool so I kept my sunglasses on the entire night.
The night only got better once Tory Lanez started his set. Never in my life had I ever felt so helpless. The mosh was so terrible that I nearly fell underneath the crowd and probably wouldn’t have been visible until after the concert ended. Lanez began a pretty cool crowd surf, but by the time he got to my side of the crowd, the shoving got to a point where I had lost my girlfriend and my other newbie friend. I did my best to get people off of my friend because she wasn’t taking it well, but I could barely keep myself up. Lanez actually got to us and I’m not gonna lie, amidst the utter chaos, it felt pretty cool to hold him up. Even my friend who was getting trampled on held him up, probably just so he wouldn’t kick her in the face again.
We eventually had to escort my newbie friend out of the crowd so she could gather herself. It was a shame we had to leave the front right before the one artist we were most looking forward to was going on, but our friend’s well-being was definitely more important. We ended night one watching from outside the crowd on the grass and it was pretty enjoyable, despite bleeding and being covered in, mainly other people’s, sweat.
On the second day, we didn’t end up going until the last two artists for the night. Some of us were still a bit shaken up from the night before so we started out a bit towards the outside near the grass, but we eventually worked our way towards the crowd. The crowd was nowhere near as bad the second night, so I had a pretty good time.
I’m not going to lie, a good majority of the situations I was put in were completely miserable. If you told me any of the things that happened to me were going to happen, I probably would not have bought my ticket. However, I’m glad I did go. In the end, I think experiencing something like that with my friends was something that needed to happen. Being at Mala Luna was an experience that ultimately enjoyed because of the people I went with. Sure, we got beat up pretty good, but we got beat up together! I’m not entirely sure if I’ll go to next year’s festival, but if the line up looks promising and my friends are in, then you can see me at next year’s Mala Luna wearing a water bottle proof helmet while eating some chili cheese waffle fries.