My favorite part of the music fest is never the music.

Have you ever gone to, say, Six Flags over Texas, but you get bored of the lines and all the roller coaster queasiness, and you end up spending an hour shooting hoops at one of the carnival booths, or playing Street Fighter II in the arcade? You’re at a special place, but you’re doing something you could basically have just done at home?

I had a great time this weekend at Growlers Six, and saw a lot of amazing bands for the first time, including the Weirdos and Bad Brains, with H.R. singing (for most of the show)! The Warlocks played an awesome set, too. And I loved seeing the Tommy Chiffon Trio get a huge crowd of folks watching them, who hopefully will go on to see them at upcoming shows around town.

Plus, it was kind of a Halloween-themed fest, and some of the costumes that people in the audience were wearing were F-ing AMAZING.

This is Klaus Nomi!

But I think the most fun I had was just chillin’ with the folks at Burger Records and Gnar Tapes, who both had booths in the little merch section of the festival and both sold me some amazing music (with a lot of cool free gifts thrown in!)

True, GnarBurger is super near my house, and I could hang out there anytime! But there’s just something particularly fun about hanging out with cool people at a fun event, being goofy while everyone else around you is obsessed by some performance.

Plus, they let me grab the mic for a bit on the live feed of Gnar Tapes Network! It was a cool backdrop, especially when I was (poorly) freestyle rapping with Skinny Jesus and Unkle Funkle!

We also got to expound upon the homophobia in old Bad Brains lyrics, chat with Burger Patty about whether Moon Pies are vegan (they’re NOT?!?), and even figure out live who had an extra car to bring stuff back to the store in after things closed.

This is probably why I’m a journalist, because I can’t just enjoy things. I can’t just be some dude holding a ticket. I have to be part of things to enjoy them, but I don’t want to be a part of them, because that might mean I have to be judged on my sincerity. So I sit off to the side and watch things from a distance and get snotty.

Glad I’m not totally alone!

D. M. Collins

D. M. Collins is a journalist and writer based in Los Angeles.

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