To Dance or not to Dance?

Hey festifolks,

As many of you know, my husband and I are almost always dancing at any live show or festival. We enjoy it so much that we avoid all sit-down shows. We get very little pleasure from sitting and watching. We always respect the customs at a festival however, and this is why we generally don’t attend Rockygrass- because the custom to sit down at all times is so prevalent. And the designated dancing areas at Rockygrass are so rocky that it’s generally painful on bare feet, and any flat-footer knows that flat-footing is best done barefoot. We generally have more fun at Telluride since the designated dancing area is enjoyable enough and for the really danceable sets and all nighttime sets, we all stand up.

So, that said, we went to Rockygrass yesterday for the first time in a while, and I was once again amazed by the strong custom to stay seated. But what I found even more fascinating was that most broke custom for the Yonder set- young and old alike, but then for Hot Rize, which is equally and similarly danceable, after dark, and the very last set of the festival, we went back to sitting. I thought for sure we’d keep dancing for Hot Rize, and with the opening song being a very fast one, my little group started dancing on our tarp, but as custom prevailed, we were quickly asked to sit down, by someone using his age as his excuse for needing to sit, which of course is curious since some in my dancing group were actually older than he appeared to be. Of course we sat, as we are respectful people. But then for the very last few songs, most people stood and danced.

OK, so the reason I’m sharing my innermost festivarian feelings with you is that I am very curious about this custom. I’d love to hear your thoughts on why you are a dancer or why you are a sitter? And while you are sitting, are you at least tapping your feet? What is going on in your mind and with your feet while you sit through a song like “Radio Boogie”?

I don’t want to start a discussion as heated as the tarp line discussion tends to get, but I just want to hear from the heart of your feet… to dance or not to dance… and what is it like to not want to shake your booty?

Love to you all!


I love you all

I think the main reason that there was so much dancing for Yonder was that their fan base provided enough critical mass to overtake the militant sitters. A lot of their fan base left before Hot Rize so there were fewer dancers up front. We were right at the soundboard and during Hot Rize we noted that we were right on the line between dancing and sitting. Everyone behind us was dancing and everyone in front was sitting down. We felt like we were in the perfect sweet spot as we could do whatever we wanted as far as sitting / dancing and the sound was mixed just right for where we were. I was glad to do some of each.

Personally I’ve never minded going behind the soundboard or over to the left to dance at RG, but I do wear shoes.

I’m one that prefers to dance/stand - but don’t mind a ton when I’m sitting. Also, as I’m getting a bit older, it’s changed how much I prefer to dance. At a 12 hour festival, I doubt I’ll be dancing more than 3-4 hours. I can never imagine asking someone to sit down and stop dancing during a Rockygrass show though.

Now, when I’m sitting, I’m enjoying the music just as much as if I was getting my groove on - sometimes more. I can concentrate on the musicianship much more when I’m stationary. If my view of the stage is blocked by dancers, I’m really not that concerned. I’m never close enough to really see much anyway. It’s not like these performers are creating a visually stunning stage show. This isn’t Pink Floyd - it’s Rockygrass! Hell, the dancers are often more fun to watch than the pickers.

I wasn’t there on Sun (just went Sat), but know what you’re talking about with everyone sitting. What a bummer that you felt uncomfortable dancing.

Yes we find that an oddity of Rockygrass as well, and have been told to stop dancing even when there is nobody behind us… (really, we just ask ‘why’ and were told it was the rules)

When we run for seats in the morning we run not for the best viewing seats, but with the help of trees, the fence and other items there are some spots you can find where you really don’t block anybody’s view… and so we dance

But it can be a hassle; there appear to me more anti-dancers at Rockygrass than other festivals, but we’ve been told to sit down at Telluride as well.

And if you can’t dance to Yonder, you just can’t dance (as a person with a sprained ankle seated is where I stay of late)

It’s the rules, huh? Never realized is was more official than a custom! Some people do love the rules, don’t they? :wink:

I’ve never been to RG but I am interested in this topic since I am also a dancer (makes me think of Mike in Dazed and Confused :lol). :hop :hop :hop

I guess there’s a fine print for a reason. I went to Planet Bluegrass’ site and sure enough it’s in the rules:

Well ain’t that a whole in the head? :rolleyes

“And the sign says you’ve got to have a membership card to get inside”…

Well, there’s standing, dancing and then DANCING. When I’m not seated, I either stand or dance - but normally don’t DANCE. I can’t even imagine how shocked I would feel to have someone ask me to sit down and stop moving to the music.

You damn sure better not be dancin in the tarp line! :lol

I am also a dancer… Not a fabulous one or anything but I do like to get my boogie on, especially to some great bluegrass. I never understood why there seems to be so much sitting down at bluegrass events.
For instance… In May of 2007, I was in a nasty car accident that landed me in a wheelchair for several months. During that time, I went to see David Grisman play at Pickin In the Pines Festival, in Flagstaff. Since I’m friends with the crew, the head of security (who knows I love to dance, especially up front) literally told me to get up to the front and dance. I of course followed his ‘orders’ and proudly rolled myself down to the front, where the seats are. I had the most fun gettin down that day, spinning and dancing in my chair right in front of the stage… Afterward I actually spent a good deal of time thinking about the fact that the only reason I was sitting down was because I wasn’t able to dance normally and that all these other people had paid a decent amount of cash so they could just sit there. I just couldn’t help thinking that something was wrong with the picture… They shoulda been dancing too!
I’m not sure I’m gettin my point across here, but I just wanted to say that I truly believe the musicians enjoy performing more when they can tell that the audience is actually having fun too.
~ As for Rockygrass, I don’t think my ankle would agree with the rocky dancing area very much… In fact, it makes me wonder if I should try to make it to that fest at all… Maybe I outta just stick to the more dance and bubble friendly TBF…
:bubbles :peace

I think ya’ll know my opinion on this matter :dancing I’d prefer dancers in front of me than :talk in back of me.

I’m with ya there Cindy Lou.

As for dancing - We were dancing up in the front for Yonder and I too was surprised that the dancing didn’t continue for Hot Rize.

But… I do think we (you, me, whoever?) should really resist the urge to conclude that someone isn’t having a good time or as good of time because they aren’t enjoying the festival in the same way that we/I am. I’ve had a great time hanging in the very back with the kids listening to the music, maybe someone’s looked at me and thought I was not having a good time because I wasn’t way up front? I’m guessing (hoping?) that the “sitters” are doin what they love to do to enjoy the music.

Maybe PB could extend the dancing area? I didn’t notice a rocky area but the area to the right of the stage was pretty muddy and I was looking at it thinking that the fence could be moved up to the stage and open that area up, ya know, for the people.

a-MEN Cindy Lou!

I went to the back quite a few times and the sound from there was great! There’s really no bad spot in the whole venue for listening while sitting, standing, dancing, and especially, smiling. :flower

I’ve been waiting to weigh in on this one as I know I’m going to take a lot of flack for it - I’m not a dancer.

Music doesn’t really make me want to get up and move about… I’ll bob my head, I’ll count rhythms with my fingers, but thats about the extent of my dancing at a festival when I haven’t been drinking a whole lot. That being said, some people enjoy it and I understand that, but dancing in front of people that chose to sit down rather than in the designated areas off to the side where you aren’t obstructing anyones view is just rude. (Of course, that is assuming the majority of people are sitting. When in rome…)

When I’m at a show I’d personally rather focus on the music that I came to see and hear. Dancing completely ruins that for me… if i wanted background music to dance to I’d just put on the cd. I’m at the show because I want to watch them perform, I want to see how they communicate, watch the expression on their faces when they surprise themselves with a particular run during a solo. As a musician, I want to watch their fingers, I want to notice what positions they chose to play out of, I want to see little details like the posture of their hands on the fret board, or their interaction with the crowd. If I was dancing I’d miss out on all the reasons I might go to see a particular show because there is no way I’d be able to focus with that kind of intensity while dancing about.

That being said, I don’t like having people dance in front of me either because you are directly impacting my ability to enjoy the show by obstructing my view. Just picture going to the movies and having someone who “paid for the space around this seat” decide to stand in the row in front of you. However, I’m young and somewhat considerate, so I’d choose to stand along with them rather than make the people in front of me sit down, but only if in doing so I wasn’t further obstructing the view of those sitting behind me.

In conclusion, it all comes down to being respectful of those around you. If the people around you want to sit, thats their choice, but just keep in mind that while them sitting in front of you doesn’t at all impact your enjoyment of the show, the inverse is not always true.

Well said Banjomatic. :thumbsup

Just have respect in front. That will solve most problems like this.

The more I think about it the more I like the idea of moving the fence to allow a big dance area on the right side of the stage.

There must be times you care about others feelings and times you don’t. You have to pick where to take your stand. There was no way we were going to sit for Yonder, even though we may be getting older. Thanks for dancing.

So true Garry. When you get to be OUR age, and you’ve lost friends far too soon, and some of those surrounding you have almost been lost to you too, to be able to be up dancing with them, having them here with you, instead of crying because they’re no longer here, is just something these youngin’s will figure out when they too know what it is like to lose them. To have you there, healthy and alive, and Richard, who we almost lost in '06, healthy and alive,was enough to make me cry out of joy to still have you here to dance with. And because we are ALIVE, we DANCE to celebrate and show our joy for the gift of yet another day here on the Planet. It’ll all be over way too soon, so dance like no one is watching, sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, be the friend that you’d like to have. We are all very blessed, and I thank God every day for this fantastic life I have, and for all the wonderful friends I’ve had and for those I still can dance with. I look forward to our next dance session.
Peace friends, be blessed and joyful, and above all, be grateful.

Cindy Lou, I don’t believe we’ve met but I do know Garry and know what he’s been thru the past few months. You post rings so true and I got a lttle misty eyed reading it. When I was younger I might have been one to yell at someone dancing in front of me at Telluride or Rockygrass. But as I got to be “our” age, I’ve certainly mellowed and there are more important thing to worry about. Like, can I hold it and not have to go to portapotty until after someone’s set is over? Seriously, it is great to be alive and it’s lucky to be us. Screw the rules and if a song moves me and I want to dance, I’m getting up and dancing for the tune and then I’ll sit down or probably hit the portapotty. Garry, Have fun on vacation!.

[quote author=TheBanjomatic link=topic=6897.msg48199#msg48199 date=1248988470
but dancing in front of people that chose to sit down rather than in the designated areas off to the side where you aren’t obstructing anyones view is just rude.
I agree it can be rude, but note that the “designated areas” at Rockygrass are dirt and dust. Not a place to enjoy dancing. Put in an area where you can see the stage and not end up with lung filled with dusts I’d be happy to dance there.

I never dance in front of somebody who is already sitting down, and as I said before the back fence to stage right and the trees you find places where nobody is behind you. The only people who complain are people who are… well a bit anal.

And dancing to me is a way to count the measures and the beats, only I do it with my feet. Bill Monore loved clogging and dancing. I 100% agree. No sense of music moving you if you don’t move.

Last year I just had knee surgery berfore Targhee so I appreciated being able to sit and still see the stage. I too enjoy dancing but now I will always try to do it off to the side- having worn both sets of shoes.