There's this weird thing that happens after you turn 25: For the first time in your young life, you start to realize that you will age out of things. Certain behaviors, dietary freedom, and not exercising ever all start to become problems — and not because some internet list that tells you you're supposed to be a grownup now is winning, but because your body will actually rebel against your youthful flippancy. That's to say that at 27 — my age, so watch it, youths — you are suddenly old. That is categorically absurd. But I've noticed a common phrase among my over 25 friends has become "Maybe I'm too old for this," especially when it comes to music festivals. I'm here to tell you (in my whole two years of after-25 wisdom) that this is not only BS for folks in their late 20s — it's BS for anyone who wants to do whatever they're supposedly "too old" to do.
There are lists that spell out 17 Reasons You're Too Old For Festivals; there are 20-somethings throwing in the towel in personal essay form; there are 25-year-olds asking NPR for permission to still go to festivals. Since when did we all get so judgy? Hell, I can't judge anyone for going to a festival, no matter how old they are. You do you, everyone.
However, I recently fell prey to the "I'm too old for a music festival" trap when attending New York's Governors Ball this past weekend. You see, the Governors Ball crowd tends to skew rather young, like, surrounded-by-teenagers-on-all-sides-where-the-hell-am-I young. But beyond that, my muscles, which are used to sitting in a comfy office chair all day, were not responding well to all the walking and standing for hours on end. My patience, which has not been tested by screaming 16-year-olds talking about home room and swiping their parents' liquor since I was also in home room, was disintegrating. And my ability to push up to the front of a festival crowd was totally gone. But then I realized that I was leaning into this absurd notion that after 25, I was too old for this s**t. These things have always driven me nuts, even when I was 15 years old. And I always found a way to enjoy myself in a way that made sense for me, back then, so I decided to enjoy myself that way now: With a beer in hand, chilling at the back of the crowd, and not trying to see every last thing at a festival. That being said, I still had those chicken fingers for lunch. YOLO.
Luckily, I wasn't the only one who thought that notion of aging out of festivals wasn't really a thing. I spoke to these awesome ladies (and one dude) who whole-heartedly agreed that while the Governors Ball crowd skewed young, there's no such thing as being too old for this stuff. Here's why:
Heather, 27: "I can actually afford to go to [festivals] now. Because I have a real job."
Praise. Being able to afford your ticket, plus a ramen burger, plenty of water bottles, and a few Tito's cocktails on your own dime is pretty priceless. When most of us were under that 25 mark, I'm pretty sure we were trying to live off the free Kettle Chips and just going without water because we could.
Java, 26 (Middle) & Nancy, 27 (Right), In Unison: "Because actually, anyone under 21 should not be at a festival."
To their credit, there is alcohol literally everywhere. So being of age is probably your best bet at a festival.
Krystle, 31: "Everyone loves music. No matter what age you are, music brings people together."
Iva, 25: "You can be any age and enjoy music."Andy, 28: "I saw this group earlier, all like proper dads, like five or six dads. [Festivals] are really for everyone."
Preach, guys. Preach.
Jayne, 27: "As long as you hang in the back, you're fine. Plus, there's good food and a good lineup."
A woman after my own heart.
Sara, 27: "You're never too old if you enjoy music."
And while flower crowns and cheap beer that costs 13 dollars are fun, isn't music the real reason we're all here?
Gabriela, 26: "Music is universal. Everyone needs access to music and getting together. Also, I'm from Puerto Rico and I love to do the tourist thing, so I'm here."
So do what you want, folks. Go to that festival. Drink that Miller High Life. And eat those chicken fingers. Age ain't nothing but a number.
Images: Rosanne Salvatore/Bustle (7)