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Going to a music festival after the Las Vegas shooting

A+group+of+us+are+waiting+for+The+Killers+to+perform+on+the+last+night+of+the+music+festival+in+2017.+This+was+the+biggest+crowd+of+the+weekend%2C+so+I+was+aware+of+my+emergency+exit+just+in+case+something+happened.+
A group of us are waiting for The Killers to perform on the last night of the music festival in 2017. This was the biggest crowd of the weekend, so I was aware of my emergency exit just in case something happened.

A group of us are waiting for The Killers to perform on the last night of the music festival in 2017. This was the biggest crowd of the weekend, so I was aware of my emergency exit just in case something happened.

A group of us are waiting for The Killers to perform on the last night of the music festival in 2017. This was the biggest crowd of the weekend, so I was aware of my emergency exit just in case something happened.

Kayley Boan, Literary Magazine Editor

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A group of Dakoda, her friends, and I are in the thick of the crowd, waiting for Young the Giant to perform. Since this was ACL in 2016, I had no fear of an attack on the crowd.

After waiting a full year for October to come around again, the excitement I felt for the Austin City Limits music festival diminished after hearing about the 58 people who died at a music festival only 1300 miles away from where I would be in less than a week.

Last year, while attending my first ACL music festival, my only worry was getting close enough to the performing artists. Throughout the three-day weekend of non-stop music, I had some of the best and most memorable days of my life with my best friend who had recently moved to Texas.

It took a great deal to convince my parents to let me go. Once I consented to be on my best behavior and they knew a parent would be attending as well, the arrangements were made and I was off. So when ACL rolled around this year, it was given that I was going again- I bought my tickets and booked my flight without thinking much about it besides who all I was going to see.

My dad called me on the way to school early Monday morning, two days before I left for Texas. He asked if I heard anything about the Las Vegas shooting (I had but I was not aware that it happened at a music festival) and then proceeded to shout about me going. My dad wasn’t angry but worried about my safety. I was too and considered backing out of the experience I had been talking about nonstop.

The more I thought about it, the more torn I was. While I was worried about my safety, the thought of missing something I enjoyed and looked forward to because some sick person was terrorizing people made me mad. This is not the life I wanted to live- one full of fear and regrets. I didn’t want to be afraid to have fun or be happy, no one should.

That’s the real goal of terrorism, not to harm people but to frighten them in a way that even the most mundane activities are feared.

I decided to go, and somewhere along the flight and the car ride to Dakoda’s house, I forgot about my fear and got excited instead. It all came back to me a few days later, the morning of the concert when the chaperone set our big group of girls down to talk about an exit strategy.

“Don’t run to the exits, they could be waiting to hurt as many people as possible. If something happens, try to get behind the stage or over behind the food stands and wait there until someone finds you.”

The excitement I felt vanished, suddenly being confined in a huge crowd in a big open field sounded too vulnerable. We went with about 7 girls. We didn’t split up, ever, and anytime we were in a crowd for a concert, we made sure we were close to the stage and off the side so we could exit as quickly as possible.

As soon as I entered a crowd, I made sure I knew where the emergency exits were (7 new ones were added after the Las Vegas shooting) and pointed them out to my friends as well. I was aware of my surroundings so that I was safe but it took away from the experience as a whole.

The year before none of this was in my head. Safety for me was trying not to get crushed by the 10 people crowd surfing, now I was fearing for my life at a place that was supposed to bring me joy. In the middle of the Killers concert, one of the biggest crowds and the biggest stage, I had a thought that terrified me. If gunshots were to go off right now, there’s no way I’d hear them. The music was so loud and the crowd was so thick that by the time an attack was registered, I would have either been shot or trampled. I can’t image what those people in the Las Vegas crowd went through, but just that little bit of fear of the possibility made me want to get out of there.

These possible circumstances should not keep people from experiencing life. It should make us more cautious and careful but if we allow ourselves to give into fear then the terrorists have won. I do not regret going to the music festival. It was suspenseful and I felt like I was always on edge but the memories and friends I made were worth the fear.

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