As I sat on the grassy lawn section of the Cruzan Amphitheater watching some of my favorite bands play at a recent music festival, I stared ahead at a sea of raised smartphones.
While sitting through an anti-climatic yet spastic performance by Matt & Kim, I pondered the generational progression of the habits of festivalgoers.
In the sixties and into the seventies, crowds of music lovers connected with their favorite bands by standing in a crowd with two fingers raised as a sign of peace.
I imagine there was a common wave of peace, love and happiness that surged through crowds of hundreds, maybe even thousands at that time.
In the eighties, hard rock music was on the rise as bands like Def Leppard, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses gained a respectable following. At these concerts, I am led to believe that the hand symbol for rock and roll (the extension and the pointer finger and the pinky) was the common trend among concertgoers.
Then of course comes the nineties, a decade of alternative rock. Fans at Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Green Day concerts could be seen with their fists held high as they jammed along with their favorite grunge, alternative bands.
That brings us to the twentieth century. Technology has most definitely taken over the masses. At first it was cameras, then digital cameras, and now the smartphone and tablet phase.
But what does all this mean, and is it significant?
For me, I attend concerts for the atmosphere. There is no better therapy than live music. Live music never fails to give me the reality check I need when I find myself wrapped up in the intricacies of my hectic lifestyle.
Of course, if I’m standing under the nose of a band like Fitz & the Tantrums, Capital Cities or Passion Pit, I can’t help but take out my phone and capture a video or snap a few pictures – because pictures and videos are tokens that I can look back on and remember fondly how much I love music.
However, there are some major drawbacks to having those subconscious notions to pull out a device to watch a concert for you. Void of technology, concertgoers are fully immersed in the music and the atmosphere. They connect with the bands they love, and they don’t worry how many likes their super cool video of Passion Pit’s “Carried Away” will get them on Facebook.
I plea to concert and festival enthusiasts like myself to put away the smartphones, the cameras, and the tablets, and once again enjoy the atmosphere of music. Remember that technology should not be an extension of the hand, and live music should never be seen or heard through a screen.
Jamie Servidio is a sophomore majoring in journalism.