We Cannot Let the Terror of Violence Destroy the Joy & Freedom of Live Music

Family members have always called me fearless. Fearless for moving across the country on my own—more than once. Fearless for putting my words into writing for the world to see. Fearless for all the stage diving and crowd surfing and sleeping on city streets in front of music venues across the country.

I was taught at a young age that you can’t live your life in fear. My dad is terrified of heights, but jumped out of airplanes for years. There’s so much life out there to experience, but you can’t do that living in a box. You can’t protect yourself from everything all the time, so why not make the finite days you have count?

I’ve found my home through live music. Home is less of a place and more of a feeling, and there’s no greater feeling than screaming your lungs out alongside hundreds, or even thousands, of other people feeling all the same things you are. Concerts are a safe place for people to let loose and be themselves without fear of judgment. It’s a place to celebrate life, and for just a few hours, to really live without thinking about daily concerns.

But recently, concerts have become a target for senseless violence. Gunmen killed 89 at an Eagles of Death Metal show in Paris in 2015, a suicide bomber took out 22 at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May of this year, and a few days ago at least 59 were killed at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Each attack has felt closer and closer to home, and nothing hurts my heart more than hearing the fear in friends’ voices talking about no longer wanting to attend those concerts that allowed them to feel free not so long ago.

Vegas was tough for me. I had to reassure myself that none of my friends living there like country music, so they must be safe. But that doesn’t diminish the tragedy. It could have been any show. I went to Vegas for a concert just a few months ago. I couldn’t help but picture that venue filled with gunfire. How my friends and favorite band would have reacted. How I would have reacted. This attack felt personal.

But I can’t let it deter me from my home. I refuse to let a few psychos with guns take that from me.

We can’t let fear win. Now more than ever we need that community the music provides. We need to band together and love each other despite all the hate so ever-present in the world. No amount of ammunition can destroy the pure unadulterated joy and camaraderie live music brings.

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The attack on Manchester brought the music community as a whole together. Just two weeks after the attack, Ariana Grande went back to the city to lead a benefit concert for the victims featuring a huge variety of other artists, including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Niall Horan, Justin Bieber, and Pharrell Williams. Around 14,000 people who had attended the tragic concert two weeks prior received free tickets to the benefit show and proved their bravery and resilience by coming together for this show as well.

It’s only a matter of time before our own country comes together to prove our bravery against these senseless acts of violence. The music is stronger than this and so are we.

Photo credit: Anthony Delanoix

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