It’s the morning after Common Ground’s closing night, and the post-concert depression is already starting to set in. I attended five of the six nights of the festival this year, and one’s days just aren’t as exciting without the knowledge that they will end with live music.
This summer was my first spent in Lansing. I attend Michigan State University throughout the year, but, having grown up in Metro Detroit — and returning there every summer before this — Common Ground was never on my radar.
However, I must say this: I’m glad I went.
Evacuations, hail storms blowing through Adado Riverfront Park, artists smashing guitars for charity, crowd surfing and Jason Derulo’s abs — these are all things I will never again get to witness in the same week again.
Here is what a week spent at Common Ground taught me about life, love and music festivals.
1. Variety is the spice of life. One of my favorite things about the festival was that each day featured a different genre. This made for very interesting cultural whiplash, as each day drew its own set of fans with very different, well, demographics. It was like sampling Greater Lansing one piece at a time.
2. Have ambition. This is what I learned from A$AP Rocky. How else am I going to acquire enough real money in order to print enough fake money to make it rain on a crowd? As I mentioned in a previous article, it’s still a goal of mine to achieve this.
3. Rap fans love Nirvana, I guess. A$AP Rocky also taught me that to get people really hype mid-show, play some Nirvana. No one can resist the wailing guitar and vocals of Kurt Cobain, nor can they resist the classic “Jump Around” by House of Pain. Not only did the song play during A$AP Rocky’s show, but I heard it at least three more times throughout the week by various DJs.
4. I hate the pre-cheer, and I always fall for it. Ah the pre-cheer. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. The crowd believes they see the artist set to perform and starts cheering, only to realize it’s just a crew member on stage to adjust a microphone stand. Not only does this give that employee setting up the stage delusions of grandeur, it makes you drop your lemonade. (Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m still bitter about it. It was a really tasty lemonade.) And it happens often. I counted at least three of these a night before main stage performances.
5. Look before you sit. Speaking of wasted lemonade, I learned that people drop a lot of food at music festivals. The grass at Adado Riverfront Park got more saturated with trampled food as the days went on. Of course, this is to be expected. But if you’re planning to sit on the grass at any sort of music festival, be mindful of where you rest.
6. Comfortable walking shoes are a must. After five days of trekking between the three stages, I marvel at the women who were even able to make it through one day at Common Ground in high heels.
7. Artists are people too. This year’s Common Ground was a really positive place. Everyone who performed this year was very gracious and encouraged others to do the same. For instance, Adam Sanders suggested the audience call their loved ones because of the tragedies which occurred this week.
I saw over 40 acts perform, and each one thanked the audience and the crew for helping them make the show possible. This gave the whole event a really nice tone and made Common Ground more enjoyable. Based on my experience, I plan on attending at least one night of Common Ground next year.