Festival Epiphanies: Unveiling the Magic of Music and Self-Discovery

Author: Beth Flory, Co-Owner, Pole Kisses LLC

September 26, 2023 

Dazzling lights, captivating melodies, and stunning artworks – music festivals are an electrifying journey into a world of boundless positivity and contagious energy. In the past two years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending three major music festivals, and this year’s Life is Beautiful in the heart of downtown Las Vegas was an unforgettable experience. While we often associate festivals with mesmerizing art installations and an array of talented bands, it’s equally important to recognize the physical exertion and the potential for personal growth they offer.

This year, my dear friend and exceptional yoga instructor, Joanne, embarked on her maiden festival adventure. Before the event, I affectionately cautioned her, saying, “Get ready, Joanne, because this is a marathon!” Three days of exuberant dancing and continuous wandering can truly take its toll. Fortunately, my trusty Samsung watch diligently tracked all our movements. Friday’s tally: 21,705 steps. Saturday saw us amassing 27,396 steps, and we capped off the weekend with an astonishing 32,551 steps on Sunday. According to my health app, we covered the equivalent of nearly 35 miles!

Music festivals have been the backdrop for some truly transformative moments in my life, leading to profound improvements in my physical well-being. My inaugural festival experience was Coachella in April 2022. As we mingled with seasoned festival aficionados, they casually mentioned the considerable amount of walking involved. It was a time when Pole Kisses had yet to open its doors, and the pandemic had just begun to recede. My fitness routine for the past couple of years consisted mainly of dog-walking sessions lasting a mere 30 minutes a few times a week.

At Coachella, my first epiphany struck me like a bolt of lightning—I was startlingly out of shape, and this was a problem in need of immediate attention. Thankfully, our Airbnb boasted a relaxing hot tub, and I had the foresight to bring my trusty percussion massager. However, by day 3, my body was in agony. I endured a week of post-festival soreness and even had to take several days off work to recuperate. This revelation spurred me into action.

Furthermore, I’ve grappled with persistent sciatic pain for over two decades. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when my back pain escalated to excruciating levels, I pleaded with my doctor for an X-ray. I was convinced a bulging disk was the culprit, as my previous encounters with healthcare professionals often led to referrals to a chiropractor along with a sheet of generic stretches. This time, however, they complied with my request.

Upon visiting the chiropractor, I received the revelation I’d longed for – there was indeed a minor issue with my back. It was a eureka moment for me. I pointed to a precise spot on my spine and asked, “Is it here?” The chiropractor confirmed that the L3 vertebra in my lumbar region, precisely where I’d indicated, was slightly misaligned, a mild form of scoliosis. My follow-up question was straightforward, “Alright, how do we fix it?” To my disappointment, he replied, “There’s no magic fix. These things tend to worsen with age. You’ll have to stretch diligently.”

During one particularly agonizing moment at Coachella, I dropped into a Malasana, a yoga squat, while waiting in line at an art installation. I remained in that position for nearly a minute, and when I finally rose, the pain had miraculously vanished. It got me thinking about anatomy, specifically the psoas muscle, which is interconnected with the lumbar region. Since that festival, I haven’t experienced sciatic pain, thanks to my commitment to stretches targeting the hips, back, glutes, and psoas muscles.

My third revelation occurred during the Life is Beautiful festival in 2022, unveiling the remarkable impact of Bungee fitness on my overall well-being. Just before we launched our gym in July, and shortly after Coachella, Rosy and I practiced our bungee fitness routines using an outdoor aerial rig. Subsequently, we found ourselves leading classes three to four times a week. As September drew to a close, despite only shedding about 5 pounds on the scale, my cardiovascular health had undergone a remarkable transformation.

In our bungee fitness classes, we not only executed physically challenging routines but also had to vocally guide participants through the moves. This dual demand instilled in me the profound significance of breath work in enhancing endurance. The second festival was a breeze in comparison. Each day, I prioritized stretching, both at home and on the grass amidst the event’s festivities. As I danced the night away, I conscientiously practiced controlled breathing. By Monday, I felt mildly fatigued from a lack of sleep, and my feet were a bit sore. However, a revitalizing Epsom salt bath and a good night’s sleep completely restored me.

My final epiphany came to light during a conversation with Joanne before and after Life is Beautiful this year, underscoring the crucial role of proper footwear in one’s physical well-being. My foray into bungee fitness served as a stark reminder that what you wear on your feet can make a significant difference. Initially, I laced up an old pair of tennis shoes at former festivals and for bungee classes. My father, a former marathon runner, had always emphasized the importance of replacing running shoes annually and being discerning about the brand. These words resonated in my mind when I felt the pain in my feet, legs, and lower back.

Shortly after opening Pole Kisses, I embarked on a footwear quest, heading to Nordstrom Rack with a mission to find the perfect pair. Historically, I’d grappled with the challenge of discovering truly comfortable sneakers, often due to my tendency to be overly cost-conscious. However, this time, I approached the store with a different mindset and a willingness to invest in the best pair I could find. As I perused the options, my discerning eye and open wallet led me to a stunning pair of purple Sauconys. (Rosy and I love purple, which is prominent in our logo and studio decor. It is the designated color for domestic violence awareness, a cause in which we are both highly involved.) The cherry on top? They were available at a reasonable, discounted price, making it a win-win situation.

Prior to the festival, I thought considerably about footwear. This year’s festival saw me donning a different pair of tennis shoes each day – two from Saucony and one from On. Not only did these shoes complement my vibrant festival attire, but they also offered remarkable support and subtly varied pressure points on each day. Thanks to this footwear upgrade and improved cardiovascular health, I achieved my highest step count on day 3 and experienced even greater post-festival recovery, with reduced fatigue and soreness. Inspired by the revelation, Joanne embarked on her own quest for a new pair of tennis shoes.

My profound appreciation for music festivals has truly blossomed. Beyond serving as an enchanting escape from the humdrum of daily life, these festivals immerse you in a vibrant tapestry of art and music while offering a unique gateway to self-discovery. Amidst the festival throngs, you encounter remarkable individuals within an uplifting atmosphere, all the while pushing your physical boundaries to the limit.  The series of festivals I have attended over the last two years have helped me measure the status of my physical health.  It’s an exhilarating journey, and if you prioritize self-care, there’s no need to heed the call of “Dance Dance till your Dead” (as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would have it)!