Currently, I am sitting at my work desk peeling flakes of burnt skin from my forehead; it’s a battle scar from a weekend that will leave many memories.
If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written for Respect My Region, you would know that some of the most common elements of my EDM-related posts are “ratchets,” “rave booty,” “twerking,” “booty bouncing,” etc. While I indeed love all of those things, this year was too special for me to chalk it up to good ol’ ratchet times.
I mean, yes, I did have to shower two feet away from someone else’s used tampon, and yes, from 6am to 8pm both Friday and Saturday, that 110-degree heat was brutal. By 2am on Sunday, my makeup had melted off my face, I was caked in dirt and sweat, the bass coming out of the speakers had made me nauseous, and I was exhausted from a severe lack of sleep. Still, I know when I look back at this year’s Paradiso Festival, that’s not what I’ll remember.
I’ll remember when my grandma’s Jehovah’s Witness friends stopped by my house before I left to give me pamphlets about living a chaste and wholesome lifestyle. Now I don’t ascribe to anyone else’s idea of how I should live my life, but I assure you, especially after this weekend, I know I’m #blessed.
I’ll remember being welcomed to camp by none other than my home-girl Cail, aka Leafy Greens. I’ve been raving with this girl since New Years out at Resolution and I always look forward to seeing her face. Whether it be lettuce, romaine, or kale, it is always a pleasure to see Leafy Greens.
I’ll remember blunts and bacon in the morning that helped to make waiting in the 100-degree weather just a little more bearable. Shout out to Jake aka Scotty Wing for making breakfast and most importantly for introducing me to beef jerky with peanut butter. Yes, it’s a thing and yes it’s delicious.
I’ll remember when this girl with a red-white-and-blue cowboy hat asked to use my phone because she dropped hers in vodka and lost all 18 of the people she came to Paradiso with. It happens. She ended up spending the rest of the day raging with me and my friend, Krista. One of my favorite things about rave-culture is how easy it is to become friends with someone after something as simple as letting them borrow your phone. Esperanza, if you ever get your phone working again and you wanna hang out with those two classy young ladies from Paradiso, hit me up!
I’ll also remember when Krista turned to me and said, “I keep seeing pregnant girls here.” Okay, yeah, that one’s pretty #ratchet.
I’ll remember watching the sun go down behind Armin van Buuren, and having an intense bonding moment with Krista as we took selfies and ate chicken tenders. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve never left a Paradiso without having one of those genuine, heartfelt talks. Maybe I’m melodramatic, but I think being faded and sitting on that hill overlooking the Gorge might have saved my life a few times. If you’ve ever sat atop that hill with a close friend, just taking in that view, I think you’ll know what I’m talking about.
I’ll remember walking through the crowd at Yellow Claw and seeing a girl in tears. I asked her if she was alright, and she said, “Yes, I’m just happy.” Okay, maybe that’s melodramatic. I mean, I’ve never seen anyone get emotional over filthy/twerky bass drops, but I’ll let it slide because I also love Yellow Claw.
I’ll remember how I felt during my volunteer shift on the main stage. The view of the stage was epic. But that view of the crowd was perfect. It was one of those things where you pause for a second and ask yourself, “how is this my life?” I remember my homie Joey looking over at me and saying “I’m so happy right now.” In my head, I was like, “You have no idea.”
I’ll also remember how sick I felt as the sun was going down. Being in front of giant speakers for hours in the unwavering heat after not getting sleep takes a toll on your body. You literally can’t breathe properly. They took me away from the madness to let me cool down and puke. Then one of the USC’s staff members tells me, “You’re gonna hate me, but I’m gonna send you back to camp.”
I’ll remember begging her to let me stay. “I swear to God, I’m fine,” I said over and over again. I mean, I definitely was not fine. But you don’t go home during Skrillex. You don’t turn down for Skrillex. (And I really wanted to hear that one Jack U + Justin Bieber song, because it’s the only time my Bieber-fever is deemed acceptable.) It was like 40 minutes of begging before she let me go and I’m so grateful to her that she did. I got my Bieber moment and everything.
Now that it’s over unhappy festival-goers have taken to Facebook to complain that they were too hot and that they had to wait a whopping 5-10 minutes to get water. Listen here guys and gals, USC Events does anything and everything possible to keep you guys happy at every point in their festival experience. As much as we try, we can’t make everyone happy.
From me there will be no complaints because it was the best Paradiso Festival I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. It was probably the best USC Events festival I’ve been to and although my sunburns will fade, I will have this weekend permanently etched into my memory.