Being alone at Block Party

Sometimes friends cancel on you. Sometimes you’re just awkward. Sometimes you get a last minute media pass and the event sold out weeks ago and no one can get time off work, so you have to go it alone.

I wasn’t even planning on going to Block Party, but there I was watching the rain come down hard on the bus windows as I rode to the parking lot on Agronomy road, one beer and one cooler in. I felt a vague sense of dread: I would be alone, but it was also raining, which meant that perhaps everyone would leave and there I would be, standing in front of a huge stage, soaking wet, tipsy and all by my tiny self.

When I got past the fence, I wove my way into the VIP section, furiously texting a friend who said that she might be there. This is nearly impossible at Block Party because you can say “the tent” but do you mean the first aid tent? The beer tent? The sound board tent? I couldn’t get ahold of her, the other impediment being borderline inebriation on both our parts. I grabbed another beer and stood shyly with some people I recognized and made small talk.

A disgruntled acquaintance poured his beer into mine and went home. Suddenly, Tokyo Police Club struck the first few chords of their opening song and everyone crashed towards the stage, hands in the air. It wasn’t hard for me to squeeze my way in to the very, very front, pressed tight against the barrier, a whole sea of people pressing on my back.

I’ve been waiting to see Tokyo Police Club since I was 13 and I was not disappointed. The two girls next to me were clearly just as enthralled. They sang every song to each other at the top of their lungs even though they were at the mercy of the heaving crowd. TPC didn’t hold back. As the drizzle continued to pour, their passionate performance kept everyone dancing and singing along. David Monks, lead singer and bassist called out a guy in the front row on his tank top. He was bringing us the sun, we should all try to be more like him, and the crowd erupted in an impromptu chant “TANK TOP GUY.”

I watched a girl lose her shoe as she was lifted into the hands of a waiting security guard, and a dude in a safari hat float over the crowd. I hated to hear Monks say that they only had one more song for us, I wasn’t ready to leave my cozy spot at the front of the stage, I wanted to feel the energy of the crowd forever.

I pushed my way back out of the crowd just in time to get a FaceTime call from my friend who I was supposed to meet. I couldn’t hear a word she was saying, but just behind her was the purple Super Thai food truck. Once we’d hugged it out and purchased some food, we wandered back over to the stage. That Thai food was so delicious that when a random girl passed me in the crowd and asked for a bite I was obligated to say yes. Everyone should have tried that Thai food.

The sky was turning to peachy sunset and suddenly it was dark and it was raining hard and Chromeo was on and everyone was dancing in one rain-soaked wave. Plastic ponchos didn’t stop people from tangling themselves up in one another. My glasses fogged up and I couldn’t see anything but the coloured stage lights reflecting off of the raindrops as they drenched the crowd. I quickly lost my friend in the frenzy and, of course, my phone died. It wasn’t hard to find other people to dance with, everyone was all smiles and shouts and open arms. Chromeo even played their hit “Jealous” twice, although don’t quote me on that because by that time I was too wrapped up in dancing as hard as I could and screaming lyrics to the blue and red illuminated sky.

I was genuinely sad when the crowd dissipated, the way home was the worst part of the night. “Jealous” was stuck in my head for the rest of the night. As the streetlights passed on the bus ride back, I realized that this was the only time I felt alone all evening.