I remember that day so well, May 30th, GRADUATION! I could not believe it; I just could not believe that my high school career was over. I was elated and scared at the same time, not knowing if I was every truly happy or sad, but of course the fact I would be leaving for college soon had not even kicked in. I knew I wasn’t ready to leave, and I knew exactly how leaving would go. But instead of focusing on that date oh so far in the future, I embarked on what would be the best summer of my life. Now I know it sounds kind of strange, reminiscing about high school when I’m in college. Some would say college is the best time of our lives, but for me I’m not so sure.
My friends and I have been attached at the hip since we were all little kids. Girls and guys, we would be seen everywhere together. They weren’t ready for August either. The day right after graduation we were off for our first adventure, Senior Week. Early in the morning we had the car packed and were ready to make the trek to Ocean City, Maryland, where we had all rented a house for the week. 16 people living together could never go well, and it certainly was not an experience I will ever forget.
Things ran smoothly for maybe four days, until one of our friends decided to tackle another into a hurricane-proof window, shattering the entire thing. You could say things got completely insane after that… I ended up driving my close friends, Gabe (the tackler) and Luke (the tackle victim) to the emergency room at 2 a.m. Luke had a gash as long as my pointer finger going across his forehead which I had attempted to patch up to stop the bleeding. My amateur efforts proved to not be nearly enough when blood began to pour down his face. Then just my luck, through my sobs you could barely make out the sound of police sirens. I did not even make the connection that they could be signaled at me, I hadn’t done anything, I had actually never been pulled over in my life until just then. After this realization, I pulled over and figured out I had a broken tail light. This minor offense didn’t stop the cop from bombarding me with questions about the two drunk idiots in the back of my car. Some miracle must have occurred to bring us all to that hospital without any legal trouble.
32 stitches later, the two drunk idiots were cleared to leave, but little did we know this would not be the last of our troubles. You could say the landlord was not too happy about what happened. We were evicted the next morning, and had one hour to clear out our stuff AND clean, which meant the numerous blood stains from the night before. I think telling our parents was the worst part. Nevertheless, they did not stop us from continuing our adventures.
Before we knew it we were there, June 17th, Firefly Music Festival. This trip has been a year and a half in the making. We each made Firefly Jars to collect change over the year for the many expenses of the festival: the admission ticket, the camping, food, and gas. Our jars filled up over and over, and finally we could pay for the trip entirely on our own.
After the many meetings, group messages, and shopping trips, we were on our way to Dover Delaware, despite some reasonable hesitation from our parents. We were dabbling yet again with another newfound sense of freedom. Out campsite had no electricity, no running water, no toilet, and no shower. This certainly was a different kind of adventure, and we were boiling with the same excitement we had for senior week.
In lieu of the living arrangements, we came fully prepared with solar showers, solar chargers, a ridiculous amount of non perishable food, and lots and lots of bottled water. There were water filling stations and spot-a-pots for our daily use. Driving through the campsite to our spot, the energy in the air was like nothing before. People were cheering, dancing on top of their RVs, waving at us, and welcoming us into our new home for the next five days. Our neighbors were wonderful and inviting. Since there were no shows on Wednesday, we spent our time playing Giant Jenga and Frisbee with our neighbors.
We attended maybe 15 shows the entire festival, and were among 100,000 concert goers. Included in these shows was Paul McCartney,
Cage The elephant, The Kooks, Chiddy Bang, Kid Cudi, Sublime, Zedd, The Chainsmokers, and The Killers.
On Sunday night we went to see Kid Cudi, one of the biggest shows yet except for Paul McCartney. Right as he was about to play, there was a giant bolt of lightening, and it began to pour down rain. Announcers quickly cancelled the show, and we felt a forceful shove from behind. The mass group of 100,000 people was trying to flee the festival at the same time. Already drenched, my friends and I began to sprint towards the exit, seeing it as our opportunity to beat the rush. Our efforts proved worthless after we got close enough, there was a traffic jam crazier than we had seen all week. People were crowd surfing out of the venue and going crazy screaming. I turned to my best friend and actually started laughing. It was ridiculous! We had never seen anything like this, and just stopping and watching how everyone else was reacting was the most interesting but preposterous thing in the world. Some were genuinely scared, others didn’t seem to care, some were pushing others to the ground, and the rest — like us — were holding hands trying to squeeze through all the madness.
When we got back to the campsite, the rain got even harder. Some people just showered outside in the rain, it was the best water pressure we had gotten all week. Others sought refuge in the car, while I along with a couple other people waited it out in our camper. The thing was made of steel, it barely even leaked! We chose not to mention that detail though, if all 8 of us had been in the camper we would have killed each other in that confined space. In the morning the scene was crazy, we learned the storm had been from hurricane Bill, which we had no idea about conveniently. All of our clothes were mud stained and our shoes were almost unwearable. The camper was darkened with dirt and grime along with our beds. Nevertheless, we continued on with our day, focusing on the bright aspects rather than the… lets say “brown” ones.
The day consisted of mud-sliding and lots and lots of dancing. The rain couldn’t ruin our experience. We chose to walk around and explore before we left, which might have been the most interesting aspect of the festival, to see the different outfits and personalities. We could people-watch for hours from the tops of our cars, in between shows. We would guess which shows others were attending, where they were from, and we would comment on their outfits. Laying down in the sun, with its rays beating on our faces, we were soaking up the last of our time in Dover. Although this did not conclude the rest of our summer adventures, it was the last trip we would make together until the winter. We drove off, not ready to go back to Baltimore, with the music still on our mind and freedom vibrating inside. We still had a few concerts to attend, such as Slightly Stoopid and Jack Johnson, but nothing like this was left for us to conquer until next time.
This senior summer was filled with good food, good company, love, music, laughter, fun, and most importantly, FREEDOM. This was my first taste of being on my own and living in different cities with my friends. This is just what we needed to be able to move on to new schools, cities, and friends. Braving the elements of Firefly and the craziness of Senior Week, we felt like we accomplished something amazing. The memories made here are priceless, and will bring us back year after year to the Woodlands of Firefly and to the shores of Maryland.