The evolution of a concertgoer

As I lounged on a beach towel sipping a particularly energizing beverage at Pitchfork Music Festival this year, I came to a shocking realization. I was perfectly content in the back.
There’s a certain thrill associated with muscling a path up to the front of the concert, just close enough to get spit on by your favorite grimy musician. This thrill, however, inevitably fades with an influx of irritable crowds and the realization that jumbotron screens and colossal speakers shrink the differences between front row and back. After years of pseudo hairline fractures and numerous screaming matches, I finally understand the lesson that all concertgoers must learn: sometimes the front is more hassle than it’s worth.
I’ve had beer spilled down my back, cigarettes burn my arms, gotten bruised, yelled at, beaten to a pulp and stepped on, but Pitchfork this year was unlike any other. Thanks to some minute planning, friends brought a tarp, beach towel, plenty of sustenance and extra toilet paper. After seeing plenty of mud caked bodies after !!! performed, I knew we made the wiser decision. It was relaxing to be able to bunker down in the middle of a field and see The Hold Steady and Jarvis Cocker back to back. We bypassed Vampire Weekend for a back row seat at The Ruby Suns and Elf Power, and King Khan’s sparkly gold cap and Viking hat were just as visible from mid-crowd. It didn’t take a nation to hold me back from the front row at Public Enemy, where Flava Flav was surprisingly agile and smooth.
Another reason to stick to the back row is the outrageous muddle of people. Animal Collective played an amazing set Saturday night, but almost equally amazing was the global mod podge of fans surrounding us. The cooler-than-thou sparrow tattoos and Crayola assortment of crayons was not as impressive as the Animal Collective die-hards from Ireland and England.
There are certainly a number of bands I would still take some bruises for, but for now I vow to keep my distance and enjoy the show.

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