Creation Fest. Lifest. Atlanta Fest. I've hit a lot of the festival highlights over the past ten years, traveling all over the country to spend a couple days getting sunburned and sleep deprived in the name of good music. Wherever I am, whatever the festival name is, there are a couple types of people who are always there--and these are a few of them.
The Human Noise Maker
This guy is most likely to be found in the crowd for either rock or hip-hop acts at the festival's designated edge stage. Maybe he has an air horn or whistle. Maybe he's relying on the power of his inexplicably high-capacity lungs. Either way, he's making so much noise that he actually drowns out the 120 decibels coming out of the nearest speaker. You might want to admire this guy's incredible enthusiasm from the other side of the crowd.
Chances are high that this person is a parent who was forced to stay out just a little too late at the festival's dance party the night before. He or she can be found napping literally anywhere: a lawn chair. A plot of grass that is questionably bug-free. A miniscule patch of shade beside a stage. Festival-goers usually weave around them with respect: they're doing what all of us want to be doing by day two, after all.
Usually this is a teenager, but not always. It might be a giant, fake mohawk that they're wearing. It could be a plush octopus hat. Whatever it is, chances are high that it obscures the view of every small child in a ten yard radius, and you'll be left impressed that they've managed to defy the basic laws of physics to keep the thing on their head through so many bands' sets.
The Signed T-shirt
They bought this t-shirt the first day of the festival, and now they're determined to get the signature of every single band present scrawled across the back--even if that means missing said bands' sets. They wait for hours in autograph lines. They wear the same shirt three days in a row. And they may or may not sweat off five or six of the signatures by the time the gates close.
The Free Hugger
Depending on how edgy your festival of choice is, this person will have "FREE HUGS" advertised with either a sign, or with paint across their skin. Either way, they'll be somehow omni-present throughout the entire festival--and strangely, very rarely seen actually hugging anyone.
"Come See My Band"
You can spot this guy in any crowd: he has tattoos, a cardboard sign, might be wearing his own band's merch, and may or may not have entered the festival legally. His set is usually on the stage way out on the border of the festival grounds, and probably happens before you're really fully awake, but he'd really love it if you came to check it out.
The Enthusiastic Mom
She brought a minivan with six kids, and she's determined that those six kids will do literally everything. Early morning bible study? She's dragged them out of their sleeping bags to be there. Q&A session with Skillet? She's front row, asking questions loud enough to make her teenager cringe. You're pretty sure she's running on pre-packaged Starbucks double shots and a prayer by the end of day one.
The Super Sunburn
You can't tell for sure, but you expect that sunscreen might be against this bro's theological beliefs. He wore a tanktop the first day and achieved a shade of red so vibrant that Bob the Tomato will probably be calling him up for copyright infringement. The second day he's wearing a tanktop with a different cut, and his two-toned striped shoulders are so distinctly reminiscent of the American flag that you have to stop yourself from saluting as he passes by.
This person looks at the usual bounds of societal norms and laughs. They're at a festival after all, right? They're brushing their teeth with a water bottle and a twig outside the porta potties. They're taking a shower using a rusty spigot beside the campground. They're applying deoderant between bands' sets. And they have a point: every time you see them, you just shrug and say "festival life, am I right?"
The Veteran has seen it all. They were at Ichthus as a teenager back in 1970. They helped set up the mainstage for the first Creation in '79. And now they're here, wearing comfortable shoes, deliberately moving from stage to stage like they've done this a hundred times before--because they have. Lightning cancellations? They're not worried. Surprise guest features on stage? They smile at all the screaming young people around them. They've seen it all, and they're here to help initiate everyone else into the wonderful world of Christian festivals.