[Hooping.org columnist Lara Eastburn reminds us what hooping at music festivals is all about.]
Music Festival season is upon us, my friends. And my guess is that there will be more hoopers on-site than ever before (YES!). While it would seem to us that hooping and open-air music festivals should go together like sunshine and smiles, festival hooping can sometimes be stressful or even meet resistance. Whether you’re a festival-veteran or just learning the ropes, here are a few things to be prepared for when hitting the gate with your hoop.
Getting In: Hoopers have reported in recent years that festival officials have asked them to stop hooping or not to bring hoops into the festivals. This is a rather rare occurrence, so don’t fret. Just be prepared. In general, I like a hoop that coils down for convenience. But it will also attract less attention at the gate.
Hoop Haters: I know, the idea of folks who are not friendly to hoopers seems ludicrous, but they exist – like Jackie Briggs in Salt Lake City for example. Take a quick look at festival discussion boards and they often tell us otherwise as well. The majority of complaints though come from festival-goers who deeply resent the amount of SPACE that hoopers take up. Looking for your fellow hoopers? Look out in the field behind the crowd. No matter how much you’re feeling it, my hooping friend, in front of the stage is not the place for you and your 4-foot wide hoop.
Hoop Magnets, Hoop Hogs, and Hoop Thieves: Be prepared for a hundred people to ask to use your hoop. And be prepared for some of them to use your hoop without asking you. While I’m normally happy to share, this personally stresses me out at festivals. I don’t dig having to ask for it back when I want it, nor do I enjoy watching the borrower out of the corner of my eye to be sure they don’t run off with it. I admit that I’m the gal who is either holding my favorite hoop or standing in the middle of it at all times. My job and life are dedicated to teaching and spreading the hoop-love, but sometimes I just want to go and dance, y’know? That said, I simply CAN’T bring myself to turn down somebody who wants to hoop. I used to take a pile of hoops to shows, but that became cumbersome and tedious. So these days I just bring a spare. ONE extra hoop. One that I can bear to lose. If someone is using my spare, I tell the next person while pointing, “That’s my lender hoop. You’re welcome to ask them for it.”
I’m sure everyone who’s taken a hoop to a festival has some kind of wild story and I for one would love to hear them. So before you decide how best to handle all the attention, let’s just take a moment here to remember that MORE people are introduced to hooping at a festival than in any other situation. The music is on, the weather is perfect, and you look irresistibly awesome and happy throwin’ down in your hoop. It’s not surprising that folks are drawn to Your Hoopiness. I literally cannot count the number of stories I’ve heard about the incredible impact a festival hooper had on them. How you’re moving in your hoop will likely be remembered by someone around you as the most downright beautiful thing they’ve ever seen.
Keeping this in mind is phenomenally useful when dealing with difficult situations. Like the adorable child who just rolled your hoop down the hill when you weren’t looking. Or the guy who calls you a bitch because you won’t let his drunk girlfriend have your hoop. Or the “do something cool” folks, who I like to think of as the ones commanding me to “Dance, Monkey, Dance!” These are momentary and silly annoyances, so just HAVE A PLAN that suits your personality. We all know you never argue with a drunk. Just walk away. Children who take my hoop hostage can usually be swayed to trade it for the bubbles I keep in my bag just for that purpose. When folks demand that I perform for them impromptu, I ask them to dance for me first, which proves infinitely entertaining! And I answer all questions (Where do I get a hoop? How can I learn to do that?) with three magic words. HOOPING DOT ORG.
Specialty Hoops: One last word about LED and Fire hoops. Don’t lend your LED hoop to anyone, for any reason. You wouldn’t hand over your iPod, phone, or any other electronics, would you? “It’s a $200 hoop; I can’t,” will usually dissuade the asker. Your fire hoop is not welcome at a music festival unless you are a performer that has been approved by the festival officials. There are public safety and venue liability concerns involved with fire play. “Rogue” fire performers, as they are called by festivals, make it harder every year for fire professionals to get permits and pay their rent. Fire performance without permission is not cool, legal, or professional.
Alrighty then. Let the festival season begin! And let your hoop-freak flags fly high and proud my brothas and sistahs. I think I can hear the sound check starting now :-).
Got festival stories or tips? Share ’em here!
Lara Eastburn has been dancing in meadows and singing with the moon while spinning in circles for eons at Superhooper.org. Beyond commenting here, you can also discuss this and other topics related to the Hooposophy for living in Hooping.org’s Hooposophy Group and Gorum. Lara is also the planting and gardening force behind discovering our hooping community roots at The Hooping Family Tree Project.