Put Your Fucking Sunglasses On And Roll With It

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MANCHESTER, Tennessee — Squish, with his two front baby teeth stowed away in Tooth Fairy land, broke a Guinness World Record at Bonnaroo, a festival nearly twice as old as he is. The 7-year-old boy, whom Haim memorably brought on stage in 2013, returned to Bonnaroo this year and claimed the record for most high-fives in an hour with 2,392 on Friday, eclipsing the record of 2,181 high-fives set by Ram Kadam and V Generation in India in 2012. Thousands of people signed up, lined up and, like a well-oiled machine, smoothly, but enthusiastically gave high-fives to Squish, who stood on a pedestal on Friday because each high-five was required to be performed above all participants’ heads. At any given moment at the four-day music festival, someone will raise his or her hand to high-five a fellow festie. The event’s culture made Bonnaroo a prime time for Squish to attempt the record, a feat he didn’t take lightly. Squish trained for this moment with his mom, Amy Spears, who has been documenting his Bonnaroo experiences on social media for three years.

And this is why you should go to a music festival at least once.

I’ll leave it to everyone else to praise Squish for his effervescent coolness and his mom for her whole funky, freewheeling—but undoubtedly whacked—disposition.

They are awesome plain and simple.

However, the importance of this story stems from its inadvertent commentary on music festival culture.

Festivals are easy targets for haters, but for all the criticism they get—from their transparent, capitalistic commercialization to the insufferable, hypocritical hippies that attend them—there’s one point you can’t argue: They will always be once-in-a-lifetime experiences thanks to characters like Squish and his mom.

NOW, as a veteran of multiple Bonnaroos, this is the part where I’m supposed to regale you with stories of my own wild and crazy adventures in a direct attempt to convince you to attend a festival (you should) and in an indirect attempt to convince you I’m cool (I’m not.)

Instead, let’s keep it simple: I’m hardly the first person to articulate this, but we live in a world where people go places and do things for the wrong reasons.

More specifically—and don’t expect anyone to actually admit this—the motivation for many behind having “life experiences” is the thought of sharing them on social media. People want everyone to see how happy they are and how great they look and how overall super their life is.

I can only speak off of my own life and times, but music festivals don’t attract this kind of behavior. It exists, sure, but it’s more the exception than the rule.

To be fair, it’s likely the combination of illicit drugs, sleepless nights, and nonexistent showers that leaves no one wanting to have her picture taken, but festivals are as genuine a social environment as we have left.

So do yourself a favor and buy an overpriced ticket and make that too long of a drive. I can’t offer any tangible return on your investment, but I can guarantee your experience will be entirely what you–with a little help from the Squishs of the world–make it.

Until then, don’t criticize what you can’t understand.

(The title of this post, courtesy of Ron Bennington, is possibly the best advice I’ve ever heard, and not only for trips where shit starts to get too weird too quickly. “Put Your Fucking Sunglasses On And Roll With It” are words to live by. For example, use it during your next conference call when the boss begins to worry about hitting this quarter’s numbers.)

((There is no way this kid gave 2,392 high-fives without the Guinness World Record for the most time this joke was made in an hour getting broken, too:))

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