la union Surfing

Surf and Music on the Beach

Monday, November 05, 2012Ryan Mach

Rock concerts aren't my thing. This I realized after spending the night on a beach in San Juan, La Union where the recently concluded 3-day Surf and Music Festival 2012 took place. While my friends rocked the night away by singing along with Franco and Urbandub's fresh tracks, I had a me-time drama at the far end of the beach, watching the waves crash the shore and occasionally glancing up at the bright moon above, all the while wondering why I came there in the first place.

The bands' music that night was anything but melodramatic so I didn't understand why the hell I went emotional. It must have been the fatigue. Could be the effect of tequila too. You see, I haven't slept for more than 24 hours. I took the bus to La Union from Manila early morning on Saturday, straight from work, sleepless and a little tired. But then again, my friends who I was with the whole time hardly had any sleep either, and yet their electrically charged enthusiasm didn't seem to wane.
I'm not saying that the concert was no fun, it was awesome to be honest (I took nice photos of the performances with dramatic lights in the background! - fun). But after 3 sets of sheer rock bliss, I felt out of place. I simply didn't belong there. It was 10 in the evening, night was relatively young. Basty of Wolfgang was creating havoc, sending the crowd to music cloud 9 (if there's such a thing), thanking the audience for being great. Apparently, I wasn't part of the audience he was grateful of. And it hit me. Everyone in the crowd knew his music, each one around me was singing with him. And I was just standing there like a lost little kid. Except for the opening number (Beatle's Come Together), his songs were alien to me.
So when his set ended, I found a perfect cue to bolt out. I had to get away from all of it. I spent the rest of the concert inside a small tent that our group had pitched in front of San Juan Resort, one of the few posh beach hotels around half a kilometer from the concert ground. Except for the occasional wanderers and curious passers-by, I was virtually alone. Exactly what I needed. In between thinking whether I should go back to the concert ground or spend the night alone, I dozed off, only to be woken up half an hour later by the presence of my friends who were still drunk from fun. The concert was over. I glanced at my watch, it's 1:30 in the morning.

None of them asked me what the hell I was doing inside the tent when I should be partying with them. Who knew, they must have decided to sweep it under the rug to avoid any awkward confrontation. In any case, I was thankful because I didn't have any valid answer other than the fact that I was dead tired. I'm pretty sure that one of them thought I was a complete buzzkill. I felt like I was.
Earlier that night, toward the end of Wolfgang's set, my friend Erpe who was a bit drunk tried to make me loosen up by pushing me from behind albeit jokingly. He obviously wanted me to rock, or move or just quit being a total killjoy. It was the exact moment when I stopped bobbing my head and stomping my feet. I could no longer act that I was enjoying the show. I was tired and hungry and the most frustrating thing of all, I didn't know the lyrics, for Pete's sake! Erpe's attempt proved futile. Despite the constant teasing, I remained immobilized.

Another thing that strengthened my resolve to leave was when a bemused, young pretty girl sitting on the ground shot me a disdainful look after I unintentionally sent sands flying over her. Wolfgang had just finished their set for the night and I was contemplating on whether I should go out to get some fresh air when a bug crawled on my foot - understandably I panicked, stomped my feet quizzically, and danced around, just to get rid of the silly thing. I profusely apologized but the look of contempt was still apparent on her (cute) face. Before she could think of a way to get even to me, I beetled off.
But I returned, during Pupil's number (I didn't know Ely Buendia's part of Pupil - I'm a loser I know), after taking a quick nap at a vacant chipped bench near our tent. But this time, I stayed at the back area of the venue. My distance from the stage provided a different perspective toward the event. I got to observe the crowd freely. Especially, the wasted ones who couldn't care less about their silly actions. The audience was mainly composed of young people, city folks and some foreigners. They came in droves from Manila and occupied all hotels fronting the surfing beach in San Juan. Before the concert, we saw them lazing on the sand, drinking booze, surfing or just fooling around. They all looked like they were having the time of their lives.
And they should be. After all, it's the purpose of the event - to give people fun. Music and the beach are a perfect combination for having good times. Add an exciting activity such as surfing and the fun gets doubled. But beach for me is a place that offers peace and quiet. When loud music booms and people crowd the beach, even the soothing sound of lapping waves looses its serenity.
 A few days ago, I asked a friend who frequents in La Union (she surfs a lot) if she's going to the event. Surprisingly, she said no. It's crowded, she simply told me. She went to Baler instead. I didn't quite understand why she'd skip on a fun festival like this - Surf and Music should be perfectly fun - but now, I completely get it.
Rock concerts aren't my thing but I love the beach, and surfing too, so I won't say no to next year's Surf & Music Festival. Perhaps that time I won't be too tired to enjoy the show.

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