The sound of freshly twanged guitars in the air! The flocks of floppy hats! The smell of sunscreen, and uh, other stuff, wafting on the breeze! It can only mean one thing, friends — music festival season is upon us.
Music festivals are more than just opportunities to see your favorite bands and discover new ones — they're also an ideal location to meet all different kinds of people who may not look, talk, or bathe like you, but all of whom speak the same universal language of music fandom. With some help from AT&T and strategic use of the Beats Music app, you can walk among them, partake in their customs, and maybe even make a lifelong friend (or at least one who can hold your place in line at the food truck).
Far hipper than your average hippie, these neo-flower children have managed to turn the festival circuit into a lifestyle, dividing their year up between hitting every festival on the map, building a robotic centipede sculpture for next summer's Burning Man, and work (theoretically).
The Look: A "use every part of the buffalo" aesthetic — old jeans upcycled into mini skirts, suede scraps upcycled into cute bracelets, old fannypacks upcycled into medical marijuana cozies.
The Entourage: Hip midwives, organic farm entrepreneurs, and at least one person who used to be a Wall Street trader but is now a street juggler.
How to Connect with Them: As these folks are all about setting a mood, show them how Beats Music's The Sentence function allows them to create an instant playlist that captures the perfect vibe for any occasion, just by plugging in a location, who you're there with, what you're doing, and what genre you'd like to hear.
You know, that one show on cable? The show that's like, set in space, or during the Prohibition era or something? And he plays a cop on it, but like, a corrupt one? He won an award! You know who I'm talking about! Fine, whatever, Google him, but he's in line by the taco tent right now.
The Look: Leather jacket that once belonged to that guy who played a dockworker a long time ago, bespoke jeans that were gifted to him by the guy from those pirate movies, sunglasses handcrafted in Paris by the guy who manufactures Daft Punk's helmets.
The Entourage: A flock of ambiguously Norwegian model-types, a few straightlaced movie producers out for a lost weekend, and that one actress from that movie with the super-smart baboon in it.
How to Connect with Him: Beats Music suggests all kinds of new music based on your unique taste, so be sure to change the settings on your customizable music feed to keep it from suggesting anything by that singer-songwriter he dumped last year…who then wrote that award-winning album about him. Your loyalty will touch his heart, and if you're lucky, you'll get invited into his private tent to have dinner with him and the Tupac hologram.
These cooler-than-cool kids aren't here to do anything as tame as check out exciting new bands that you've been hearing about all year. They're here to see the secret side-stage show, where a band whose name you can't pronounce is doing a four hour-long avant-noise jazz-drone show. Oh, you're here to see the Outkast reunion? That is adorable. They remember when they were into Outkast…oops, wait, they mean they remember when they were in Outkast. That André! What a character!
The Look: Haircuts so sharp and asymmetrical they seem to defy the very laws of physics, jeans from the '80s that cost $400, a surprisingly sexy leather cape.
The Entourage: Is that the kid from Jerry Maguire???
How to Connect with Them: Show off your own insider expertise by making covert use of some of Beats Music's expert playlists, compiled by tastemakers like editors from Pitchfork. Pass off their inside knowledge of this year's best under-the-radar music as your own, and maybe the Insiders will take you to the real after-party (not the one with all those Hollywood doofuses, ugh).
This budding music obsessive isn't there to pose — he's there to soak up every glorious second, from the first note played to a completely empty field at nine in the morning, to the last feedback drone of the final, final, final, final, final encore. Every moment of the festival scene is thrilling to him: the wall-to-wall performances, the terrible porta-potty situation... it's all magical. And because he can't partake of anything harder than an energy drink, he's remembering (and taking pictures of) every magical moment.
The Look: Army shorts with tons of pocket space for tons of new merch, T-shirt from one of the day's first bands to play, signed by their drummer (the Rager cornered him by the chicken kabob cart).
The Entourage: Best friend (with Dad following at a discreet distance).
How to Connect with Them: Geek out together about how Beats Music uses knowledgeable human curators, instead of just computer algorithms, to suggest new bands and song from its 20+ million song library for you. As if a robot could comprehend the miles of psychological difference between Lou Reed's Berlin and Transformer! I mean, come on, now you're just making me laugh.
The Old Pro has been doing this since you were begging your mom to buy scalped Spice Girls tickets, so don't get in his way — he has a highly developed system for making the most out of a music festival, and he'll be damned if he's going to change any of it now.
The Look: T-shirt purchased at one of the original Bee Thousand tour shows, not one of the reunion concerts, okay?
The Entourage: Other Old Pros, children wearing industrial ear protectors and Psychocandy onesies.
How to Connect with Them: Friend them on Facebook immediately, so that you can see each other's Beats Music playlists and activity, and get into some heated debates about what you have been listening to, what you should be listening to, and what you shouldn't be listening to — before you even leave the festival grounds. These kind of philosophical music arguments are as dear to the Old Pro as his original Nirvana 7-inches, which you can't touch, so don't even ask.
Want unlimited streaming and downloads to listen to your next favorite band? AT&T's exclusive family plan gives you access to over 20 million songs via Beats Music — and it's $14.99 a month. Data charges & other restrictions apply. Learn more here.
Gabrielle Moss has written mostly funny stuff (but also some serious stuff) for GQ.com, The Hairpin, Nerve, etc. You can follow her here.