The snow has melted and calves are cropping up everywhere. Questionable cutoff denim articles of clothing and aggressive long-boarders are steadily emerging from hibernation. With warmer weather comes, among other things, concerts: annual events, pop-up shows, world tours. In other words, “festival season” is upon us.
The festival experience is many things – exhilarating, moving and, at times, sticky. While the event itself is likely to be unforgettable, the equally important pre-show process is often overshadowed and forgotten.
The emotional roller coaster that is planning for and purchasing a ticket to a festival can be draining – the highs are high and the lows are low. Through careful observation and the personal experiences of many, a distinct pattern of behavior, occurring in the months before the big event, has come to light. It is known as the Five Stages of Buying Festival Tickets.
1. Excitement: Categorized by an overall feeling of well-being, this phase is the easiest to get through, and often the longest lasting. Common side effects include a quickened heart rate and light sweat when thinking of the upcoming event. Thoughts along the lines of, “This is going to be the wildest, most inspiring, epic concert experience of my young life” or “I cannot believe I get to see *insert favorite artist here* in the flesh” can become pervasive.
2. Planning: This phase causes the future festival-goer to heavily strategize the purchasing procedure of his/her ticket. Looking ahead to the date and time of the release, it is not uncommon for the subject to blow off previous engagements and obligations in favor of securing the cheapest passes possible. Behaviors such as scoping out the best Wi-Fi locations and enlisting friends or family to assist with the purchase may occur.
3. Anxiety: Though the shortest of the five phases, the third is often the most stressful. It is in this period that the festival-hopeful actually goes through the purchasing process, often causing increased tension and perspiration. Behavior may become erratic, as options such as multiple-day passes often sell out quickly, but should return to normal post-purchase. Bargaining (with oneself, others or a higher power) is common, as well as fervent refreshing of various web pages.
4. Post-Purchase Shock: After dropping what is likely to be some serious coin, a period of denial is likely to follow. Bank account balances are usually at record lows, causing ticket holders to rely on their frugality – taking on more shifts at work, skipping the guacamole at Chipotle, etc. It is possible to slip into a state of denial, characterized by thoughts such as, “If I just don’t look at my account balance, it’s like the money is still there” and “I don’t really need to buy food this month, anyway.” The duration and severity of this shock can vary based on the ticket holder’s financial stability and emotional predisposition.
5. Acceptance: With the passage of time, the future-festival goer is able to come to terms with his/her purchase. It is likely that the lineup has now been released and more concrete plans are being made, allowing him/her to return to their initial, excited mindset. The thought of the musical euphoria to come soothes any and all previous inhibitions. This period of peace continues up until the event, allowing for full emotional closure – leaving the lucky music junkie free to take in each magical moment.