I have a very severe love-hate relationship with music festivals. On the one hand, I love live music, and festivals provide the opportunity to enjoy several of my favorite bands all at once. I can binge-watch show after show, one after another without having to walk more than ten minutes between stages.
On the other hand, nothing ruins a good show more than the realization that your ten-minute walk actually took you 30 because you had to push through crowds of screaming teenagers dressed in fringe.
Full Moon Festival has all of the former attributes that I love about festivals without the headache of any of the latter.
Knockdown Center, where the festival takes place, is gorgeous. A sign up front twined in yarn and dried flowers loudly proclaim the name of the festival and ushers you into a what looks to be a world plucked straight from the mind of Lewis Carrol. Hammocks are strewn from a wooden bridge while glitter-clad patrons lounge on white, wicker furniture. Bottles of lemon infused water are free for the taking.
There are three different stages at the festival, those being Jungle Ruins, Full Moon Stage, and Solar Stage. Headlining electronic-rock band Metronomy kicks off the late night line up at the Full Moon Stage, playing a few of their top tracks from Summer ’08 including romantic, upbeat “Love’s Not An Obstacle” and the club-worthy “Old Skool”. The band keeps up a flickering light show that only serves to invigorate an already manic crowd.
By the time Metronomy gets around to some of their older classics like the psychedelic “Do The Right Thing” and 70’s-esque “Heartbreaker”, the citizens of Full Moon Festival are running around as if possessed. And, not in the way that the screaming teenagers do at say Governor’s Ball, this feels more like being a guest at a fairy revel.
At one point, I visit the “Replica” room, an art installation created partially in celebration of Maison Margiela’s new fragrance. The room replicates a variety of different scents and moments from disaprate time periods and locations.
Essentially when you walk in, there is an abandoned bar, a piano next to a divan scattered with polaroids, and an empty Karaoke stage.
I am pulled up on this stage by three strangers who encourage me to dance as a shaggy haired man films us. I have the strangest inkling that my image is floating around somewhere online but I can’t be bothered to care.
James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem, is now holding a late night DJ set at the Full Moon Stage, and the combination of flickering, colored lights and only adds to the otherworldy sensation which has been created by the waning moon (no there was no actual full moon that night), and the fact that most people have been here for more than 10 hours.
I took advantage of this strange opportunity to ask a few artists about some of their favorite Full Moon rituals.
DJ Gui Machado told me that the Full moon is [his] favorite time to go out. “We say in Brazil ‘Full moon, the witches are loose’ (Lua cheia, as bruxas estão soltas). I feel like it’s the best time to make new connections and meet special people.”
When asked about his favorite Full Moon sounds, and whether he thinks his own sound speaks to the Full Moon, he told me “Eumir Deodato- Also sprach Zarathustra was the first song that came into my mind. I love blending different styles of music so it does match! BTW that whole album by Deodato is a masterpiece.”
GE-OLOGY was also kind enough to tell me about a favorite Full Moon ritual: “I always remember my ex girlfriend. She reminded me of the Full Moon, because she was so beautiful.”
I ran into another artist who had played earlier on who declined to give me his name (I knew who he was anyway) and told me he never really thought too much about the moon in general. To each their own.
As the night wound down, after a couple Kirin Ichiban beers, I was blessed to have proximity to the Radtimes Pizza stand. I enjoyed my food at the top of a grassy hill overlooking the entire space. It felt like coming out from underneath the hill as the New England Folklore tells it. A human who gets lost under the hill, taken in by the fair folk. When they come back to their daylight lives, they are left with the dizzying sensation of being awoken from a dream, as the vibrant colors and scents wane with the disappearance of the moon.
Maybe I was just overly tired, but that is what it felt like.