Leading up to the concert, I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect. In my mind I pictured thousands of people pushing and shoving me. I was told to do a YouTube search of the "Wall of Death," which is this thing that sometimes happens at heavy metal concerts. The Wall of Death consists, basically, of the crowd separating into two sides, with an empty space between them. Then all of a sudden, and for no apparent reason, they start to run and crash into each other. None of the above things happened at Heavy TO.
In fact it was quite the opposite. No one seemed to bother me, or even pay attention to me. And if they did it wasn't to crash into me or scream, but to politely ask a question or make a funny comment. Aside from the ridiculous amount of mud, the off and on rain showers, my feet being horribly uncomfortable in my Steve Madden combat boots, my pounding headache, and the fact that I was nearly freezing to death, I might have had an awesome time.
One thing I did get to enjoy was people watching. As an "outsider" I was interested in observing the sub-culture of Heavy Metal Lovers (which by the way is also the title of an amazing Lady Gaga song). I had always thought that the reason people listened to metal was to reject the mainstream culture of popular music, and the whole idea of conformity all together. Well from what I could see last night, metal music is all about finding a place to belong. When you feel like you don't match what is deemed as popular, or wrongly considered normal by the majority of society, metal music can provide a place that feels safe.
The Heavy TO festival was just one opportunity for metal lovers to come together and feel like they belong. I felt like the outsider there, and I couldn't help but think that this must be what it feels like for some of these people when they go to a shopping mall, or a place where everyone else is the same, but they're the odd one out. It was a very eye opening experience for me, as I don't usually feel out of place. It felt somewhat liberating to be there with a group of people who didn't care what I looked like, where I came from, what my race is, or why I was there. It felt liberating to not feel like I was being judged by anyone. And now I can see why so many people flock to the heavy metal music scene. It's almost as if you can finally be your true self there, and not have to worry about what anyone thinks of you, because they just don't care.
I must say, that while I might not actually enjoy the sound of the music, I would definitely consider going to another one of these music festivals. And were it not for the inches of mud that I had to trudge through, and the rain, I might have actually had the best time of my life. Until next time, have a nice day,