When I think of summer, watermelon and music festivals come to mind, if I can experience both at the same time I am in heaven. For years, House In the Park (HITP) and One Music Fest (OMF) were my festivals of choice. HITP was my favorite because I could bring my watermelon. Of course I would attend Dogwood and the Jazz Festival, but HITP and OMF would allow me to let loose and dance like I’ve lost my mind. At least that’s how I felt until this year.
Let’s begin with House in the Park. For me, it has been the event of the year every Labor Day weekend. I have arranged all travel around this event for the past 6 years. Not only will the music blow your mind, if you like house music, but the community vibe is like nothing I have experienced at any other festival. Majority of the people who attend are there because of their love of the music and the rest are there for the sense of community. It’s a vibe thing.
I am serious about my HITP experience. I have a grill and tent. I wear semi-workout cloths and probably wear the same outfit every year or rotate every other (you will notice in the photos below, judge me all you want). I never try to look too cute, because by the third dance I am drenched in sweat and my hair reflects the mood of the day, carefree. This year, me, Karie and Sinead blessed the dance right at noon with the very first song. I was in a state of bliss. With Salah spinning on the ones and twos the music kissed my soul and nourished my broken heart. I danced with my all-time favorite dance partner James and we rocked it out for about an hour. I had reached my peak and the day was complete, I should have left. As my crew and I hung out in our tent the crowd and attendees grew beyond belief. At about 4pm, from our tent, which was a one minute walk to the dance floor, it took about ten minutes to get to the dance floor.
The secret is out, with an estimated 15,000 attendees the experience has changed. This was the last year we will do the all-day experience of being there for first song to last song. Karie (K-Boogie) is moving out of the country, so that’s a major change for me! Next year, no K-Boogie, no tent and no grill. I might bring a chair, but most importantly I will bring my dance moves and they will only be displayed between the hours of noon -3pm. So you if you want to groove with me you know where to find me, on the dance floor between those hours. If the spirit moves me I might stay until 4! With this approach I will avoid the crowds and will leave on my dance high.
Now for OMF! I went to my first OMF event about four – five years ago. It was small, with one stage and I could vibe out in one spot for the whole event. I loved it, we used to have a ball!!! The event has grown significantly with much bigger acts and two stages. This year I realized I don’t have the energy to run between two stages from noon -9pm. I am middle aged and need to sit down during some performances. My feet and knees hurt! Also, it seemed as though one stage would play commercial music and the other more neo-soul or “conscious” music. They wanted me to choose between Too Short and Jidenna. That was a hard one for me, so I had to run between stages like a mad person. Every year I say this will be my last OMF. I won’t say that this year, but OMF is no longer an event I look forward to attending. It’s taken off of my summer fav fest list.
I’d be the first to admit, I like my events small with an intimate feel to them. I am happy for the promoters of these events, they have a large following and hopefully that means more financial support. As my circles grow smaller and the crowds grow larger I realize that this is the end of an era for me. These festivals marked an important season of my life. I will continue to feed my soul at HITP, but will approach my experience differently. What I love about Atlanta is there is always something new popping up and trust me I will find it and hold on to it for a season or two. I am looking forward to seeing what next summer brings. Whatever the case, I need small crowds, my watermelon and more music and dancing please………….