All years prior leading up to 2014, I had the worst New Years experiences. That year, all my friends had plans I had no interest in and the prospective events looked slim in Eugene, Oregon. Nonetheless, I was determined to have a decent NYE for once. My favorite Aunt, Uncle and a good friend live in Denver, so naturally, I scoured the internet looking for an event (okay, that's pretty much an exaggeration. When you google "edm +nye +denver", you basically get the first page of results to say DECADENCE) I was a new EDM fan and had never been to a festival, but it sounded magical. As soon as I made a quick text and asked my friend if he'd go with me, I bought the tickets.
For months before the show, it was all I could talk about. I actually wished Christmas would go by faster so I could get out to Denver. Finally, the weekend arrived! I diligently overpacked and headed out to the airport.
While some of my friends and family were convinced that going to an EDM festival meant that I was going to overdose on drugs and pick up an STD, the Uncle I was staying with never said one negative word about it. He encouraged me to go have fun and be safe. That's what kind of person he was. He never judged and always pushed me to be a badass individual. Although he didn't particularly love EDM music, he was one of the most PLUR types of people that I had the pleasure of knowing.
Saying Decadence was actually magical is an understatement. I had the best time (despite losing one friend for a good two hours and playing a seemingly never-ending game of phone tag.) While my friends were in the bathroom, this guy came up to me and grabbed my hand. At first, I was freaked out and then he said, "you are the most beautiful girl here." It sounds creepy but the compliment literally seemed genuine and not like a skeezy pick-up (at least at the time). And from that moment on, that's how most of the interactions went. Everybody was SO nice, especially when they found out it was my first show. Hearing Pretty Lights play while the balloons dropped at midnight literally felt like real magic and I never wanted the night to end. And to this day, it's one of the best nights of my life.
I spent the next day with my uncle and one of my friends that I went to the show with. While most people spend New Year's Day hungover in bed, I was still buzzing from the magical world I'd stepped in the night before. If my uncle understood one thing about me, he knew my love and appreciation for music (when I was 12, I got a drum set and wanted to be a rock star. He encouraged my dreams by nicknaming me LDG, little drummer girl. And yes, he still called me that long after my rock star dreams were crushed). That being said, he was a good sport about my dramatic retelling of my first festival experience. He even got down to some Pretty Lights and we spent the rest of the day listening to good music and drinking Budweiser (the only beer I ever saw him drinking). Little did I know that would be one of the last days I ever spent with him.
A few months ago, I got a horrible phone call and learned that my Uncle had passed. It was one of the worst nights of my life. For weeks after, I felt like I was living a bad dream and felt like a real-life zombie. In the midst of my sadness the other day (and approximately my 100th Budweiser in his honor), a Pretty Lights song came on and I felt like that was a sign. I dug up the playlist I made from that magical weekend and now I can't stop listening. I know listening to Pretty Lights can't actually fix a heartbreak, but it seems like a good place to start. Looking back, I'm so glad that my love for EDM and festivals is so closely associated with that New Years Eve and time spent with great friends and the best family.
In my experience, EDM has only been associated with happy moments but now I understand why people say it's healing. Every song on that playlist is pure magic and when I listen to it, I'm transported to happier times. Some say that memories fade over time but I'm convinced that with that playlist, I'll always feel like every magical moment of that New Years weekend will be preserved forever.