Photo by Rachel Lehman

I don’t remember what I wore that day. I’m not sure of the date. I’d be hard pressed to even remember every band that played. But I remember one thing for certain: Edgefest ’06 changed my life forever.

Edgefest 2006 was my first concert. Tagging along with my brother and his friend on a hot summer day, I was excited and nervous for my first live music experience. I’ll never forget the first time I heard the amplified guitars screech into tune; it was my first introduction to illScarlett, as they opened the show with a palpable drumbeat. I can still smell the sweat of hundreds of strangers making more physical contact with me than I had had with some of my closest friends. I can still relive the incomparable natural high as my brother and his friend threw me overhead, sending me crowd surfing to the stage in what would become a mandatory element of each succeeding concert. I can picture the face of the complete stranger who sang with me just as the chorus dropped. I still recall my new appreciation for Story of the Year, who electrified the crowd as soon as they took to the stage. Above all, I remember leaving with an insatiable thirst for more. A thirst that will keep me buying concert tickets until I die.

If you love music – and I mean really, listen-on-repeat, savour-the-breakdown, feel-like-it-was-written-for-you, know-what-song-is-coming-next love music – you have to go to a concert. The moment the drumbeat you’ve been tapping in class drops, with a new dimension and immediate intensity, you’ll understand why. It’s the indescribable energy you share with a thousand somebodies, jumping and singing in tune to a song you thought only you could love that much. It’s one of the few places where you leave more excited than when you came. Attending is the only way you’ll hear that impromptu Top 40 cover you never would have imagined your favourite band knows. It’s one of the few places pushing and shoving people you’re not related to is socially acceptable and your heartbeat races while you’re sitting completely still. It’s the place you get chills in 30 degree weather. If you’re lucky, you might even experience the rush you get from having the flesh and blood talent, who has only existed as an image on your wall for the past year, respond to your screaming declarations of love. All these and a million more experiences combined have made concerts some of my most cherished memories.
You haven’t heard a song until you’ve heard it live.