If you’ve been to a decent amount of concerts and music festivals, you’ve probably witnessed someone crowd-surf. If you’re lucky, you’ve crowd-surfed yourself.
Crowd-surfing is a phenomenal experience. There’s nothing quite like floating above the crowd and being passed from hand to hand. However, crowd-surfing is not a great experience for the people who have to lift you above their heads. Although I definitely went through a crowd-surfing phase when I was younger, I have no interest in lifting someone up at a concert or music festival now, nor do I want to force someone else to lift me up. That being said, I don’t regret any of the times that I’ve crowd-surfed and highly recommend it to everyone, even if it is just once.
The first time I crowd-surfed was at Girl Talk’s performance at ACL in 2009. My friends and I had shown up late to the set and were standing on the outskirts when we ran into my now good friend Cassie. Although I only knew her by name at the time, she came right up to us and asked if we wanted to go with her to the front of the crowd to meet her friends. As we tried to move through the crowd, it quickly became apparent that there was no way that we were going to make it up to the front. It was then that Cassie suggested that we crowd-surf up there, and of course, we said yes. We asked a guy standing next to us if he would start us off and he did, picking us up one by one and literally tossing us on top of the people standing in front of him. Only about a minute later it was over, but we had all made it to the front of the crowd and went on to have a great time at Girl Talk’s performance and at the rest of ACL 2009.
For the next couple of years, I crowd-surfed many different times. Most of the time, it would end with me falling through a gap in the crowd and landing on my back. Nevertheless, I continued to crowd-surf, loving every single time I did it, even when it ended badly. Perhaps the most amazing experience I’ve ever had crowd-surfing was at Arcade Fire’s performance at ACL in 2011. My friend Amanda and I were extremely close to the front of the crowd and wanted to leave early. Instead of struggling to make a path through the thousands of people that were in the crowd, we crowd-surfed out, and it was unreal. There were so many people packed into such a small area that it was the smoothest crowd-surf I’ve ever had. Being able to watch Arcade Fire continue to play while crowd-surfing away from them, and not being afraid for a single second that I was going to be dropped, was an unbelievable experience. In fact, it fulfilled every expectation I’d ever had of crowd-surfing, and since I was so satisfied with this experience, I never crowd-surfed again.
Although my crowd-surfing phase only lasted a couple years, I crowd-surfed more than enough times to get my fill of crowd-surfing. Like I said earlier, I have no interest in crowd-surfing now, but I look back on all the times I crowd-surfed fondly and can’t help but feel nostalgic every time I see someone crowd-surfing today.