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Can You Find Love at a Music Festival?

Two sexy sweaty singles investigate.

by Kim Taylor Bennett and Annalise Domenighini
26 July 2016, 2:18pm


Annalise and Kim hiding in the air conditioned cool of "The Lab" at Panorama Festival

Annalise has been to about five music festivals in her life. When she thinks about festivals she thinks: sweat, dirt, and porta potties. I, on the other hand, have been to two or three festivals a year since 1995, which is exhausting to even contemplate. When I think about festivals I think of the aforementioned ick, but I'm also reminded of seeing a person canoeing through a river of mud at Glastonbury. I remember my friend telling me she got fingered by a very famous actor while watching The Killers at V Festival. I remember that time I woke up to a couple fornicating in the gap between my tent and another one… and then had to listen to them have awks post-coital chit-chat (Her: "This isn't going to ruin our friendship is it?" Him: "Hrrrmmm…").

I remember meeting my first serious boyfriend at Reading Festival and staying together for two years even though he lived in Wales and I lived in Oxford. He got me into The Deftones. I remember watching people push over porta potties, sometimes with people in them. Sometimes they'd set them on fire. I remember one Friday of a festival when I ended up spooning in my tent with a boy who was also called Kim. He wore a Swervedriver t-shirt and introduced me to the genius of the Pixies and by Sunday night I was nonplussed to find him in my tent making out with my pal Natasha. I remember another friend who took MDMA for the first time at Bestival and while being high as a kite and trying to pee in a dark wooded area fell backwards, mid-squat, right into another person's poop. Talk about a brutal way to kill your buzz.

All of which is to say that although I was born in America, I spent my formative years in the UK where festivals are filthy in every way. You inevitably end up with trenchfoot or scabies because of the interminably bad weather and someone stole your wellies, so all you have is garbage bags over your sneakers. Plus, at British music festivals getting fucked up and fucked are the primary concerns. If you happen to catch a band, great, but if you're listening to Radiohead while boinking behind a bin—even better. GO ON: DO IT FOR THE LOLS might as well be the sting for every festival around Britain.

Anyway, from what I have deduced after living back in the States and attending festivals here for the past three years, in America people are really interested in having a great time and getting wasted, yes, but also dancing, and also looking good for Instagram and the myriad of photographers snapping for blogs. Us included. It seems no one here would be caught dead having sex on a picnic table. This headline started off as a joke in the office after one too many coffees, and turned into Annalise and me heading to Panorama to find out what New York music lovers think about dating, deal breakers, and porta potty pounding.

ANDREW AND ZACK


Andrew, 28, works in finance, Zack, 23, "fucks shit up"

What's inspired your outfit?
Andrew:
I like going to festivals and drawing attention to myself. It's fun. This is my second festival ever. I went to Firefly before this.

Have you ever found love or had sex at a festival?
Sadly no. But I think festivals are fucking awesome. I've never been into live music until this year.

Are you into dating apps?
Yeah! I got out of a relationship a year ago and all the girls I've had sex with since have been through online dating. Tinder is awesome.

What would we do on our first date?
Here's my thing, I would never buy you dinner on first date. Ever. I've been on too many Tinder dates where, like a fucking idiot, I spent 90 dollars on a goddamn date and there was no interest there. So I realize the best date, and the highest chances of me sleeping with [a girl] on the first night is going to a coffeeshop and sitting next to her so I can hug her etc… Have I blown your mind?

Uh. Yeah kinda. That's an interesting technique… [At this point his friend comes up and they embrace.]
Andrew: Dude what's up! You want a cigarette?

Zack: Nah, I'm 11 weeks clean. I quit.

Andrew: Dude, what's your number? Let's fucking hang out!

Zack: We're going back to Rhode Island this evening, but we found molly. I'm so stoked.

Andrew: Dude! That's awesome! [They embrace again and then exchange numbers.]

Zack: We met crossing the bridge. I went to Firefly with my friends and everyone is loving and friendly and like family. Everybody's approachable and super cool, and here, yesterday, we were not really feeling it.

Have you ever had festival sex though?
I have not. This is what happened: I met this girl she was in my campground and I had been doing a lot molly so I was really emotional I guess. So we made a really cool connection and we slept together rather than had sex.

Aw! You spooned. That's cute.
Zack:
Yeah but then when I came down I was like, WTF!

Will we ever find love?
Zack:
Uh, I guess, if you're searching for it I'm sure you'll find it, but it's gotta fall in your lap kinda.

Are you searching for it?
Zack:
I'm searching for myself right now. I'm young and beautiful, I want to travel the world and see shit and meet people, and try new foods and shit. Like Action Bronson. I love him.

JOSH, JOHN, AND JONATHAN


Josh, John, and Jonathan, all 24. We forgot to ask them what they did.

Is fesitival sex ever acceptable?
Josh:
I don't see why not.

Jonathan: If it's consensual, and it's not in the open, and the kids can't see it.

Who on the bill would you most like to have sex with?
Jonathan:
Killer Mike! [Laughs.]

That would be tender.
Jonathan:
The Julie Ruin. Sia maybe, why not? I don't know what she looks like, but if you're into the hair…

John: The girl from Oh Wonder.

Have you seen anyone having sex yet?
Jonathan: No, I feel like you wouldn't see that at a commuter festival like this one. Maybe Bonnaroo. But then people would go back to their tents. Here people would just go back to their apartments.

What would we do if we went out on a date?
Josh:
Mini-golfing. That's just what I do. Then we'd take a walk in the park, go for a swim, the possibilities are endless!

BRIAN


Brian, 21, student at Columbia

Have you ever had sex at a festival?
Brian: I have not. This is actually my first festival. I've been to a lot of concerts and comedy shows and what have you, but this is my first festival.

Seen any ladies so far that you'd like to chat to?
Brian:
Well I'm in a relationship at the moment, we've been together for three years, but I will say, a lot of my friends are here and they've managed to not necessarily hook up, but they've scooped a lot of females along the way.

Woah. We can only hope to be scooped one day.
I've seen girls do it too…

When does the scooping start? Later in the day? Or is the scooping already happening?
Well he's not here, so I'm assuming it's already happening.

What's a great date for you?
I'm a big fan of dinners. That's a nice way to get to know someone. See what their food options are. What things they like to wear, what they're picky about.

What's a deal breaker for you?
If you're boring. If you've had dinner and you're just sitting there on your phone, not trying to make conversation. That's automatically not happening.

If you were single would you make people register to vote before you had sex with them?
Yes! It's your civil duty.

COREY


Corey, 31, in digital marketing: "I hate it"

If you hate your job why do you do it?
Corey: Because it pays the bills and I don't have enough initiative for what I want to do in life. I really wanna own my own sandwich shop.

That seems realistic. I think you should go for your dream! What's your speciality sandwich?
Great question! My best hot sandwich would be a buffalo chicken cheesesteak. My best cold sandwich would be an Italian hoagie.

What if you met a girl you really liked but she didn't eat bread?
That happened to me this past winter. I dated a girl and she had a gluten allergy and it was troubling to go have dinner with her, but [she's a] lovely lady. I just realized I couldn't commit to a relationship when I wasn't doing what I wanted to do.

So this career issue is actually impeding your love life.
Yes! I met a girl that I could have committed to and she wanted a commitment, but if we moved forward with it, I have a certain paycheck right now and it makes me unhappy, and if I committed to her, I would commit to this lifestyle, and I'd blow my fucking brains out. So I had to say, I'm sorry toots, I have to find myself and figure myself out.

Have you ever had sex at a festival.
Define sex. P and V, no. Fingers in places, yes.

How many places?
There are three holes to a woman and I put them in two. Well there's more holes if you include nostrils, but I've never put my penis in a woman's nostril.

That would be unfortunate for everyone involved if you had…
You've never smelled my dick, so… This happened at Coachella. I was fingering a girl in a tent and she told me to put my finger in her asshole. I called it spinning her on the ones and twos.

And finally what is your…
Drug of choice? Cocaine.

SADIE FROM SPEEDY ORTIZ


Sadie, 28, singer or Speedy Ortiz / "I have a bad time at musical festivals for free"

How do you feel about festival sex?
Sadie: I don't know if I've ever had festival sex. I've never been to a festival where I wasn't getting paid or going as a hanger-on with someone else. I don't really overnight at a festival and if I ever had sex at a festival it was probably with someone I was long-term dating and it was probably horrible because, sweat, you know? I'm going to have very uptight, uncool answers.

Do you believe in finding love at festival?
I believe it can happen. One time I ended up back in a hotel room at Primavera and we ended up watching System of a Down videos. That's how I usually get laid.

Do you say: Do you want to slip into something more comfortable, like this System of a Down video?
How did you know my line? Did I use it on you once? Usually I'll put on "Aerials" and it's smooth sailing from there. No one can resist it.

What's a deal breaker?
Disliking Incubus. They should at least like 311.

What if they don't like to listen to songs with words?
Instrumental Incubus would be OK I guess. If I fell in love with someone who only listened to Incubus cover bands, I feel like we could make it work.

So if someone reads this and they're in an Incubus cover band, would you accept their proposal?
Maybe it's too close for them to be in the Incubus cover band. I just want to find a nice Incubus fan to get matching rocking chairs and stare into the sun.

Have you been using dating apps at the fest?
I have not been using any of my dating apps today. But I will tell you that I tried to get on the celebrity dating app [Reya] and I've been wait-listed.

They rejected me [Annalise].
See I didn't even know you could get rejected. It's like when you get wait-listed for Harvard: it means it's not happening. Well if I get on there I'll use all of my dating app capital to get you on there.

I appreciate that. True friendship.

TARYL, AUGUSTA AND ANTONIA


Taryl, Augusta, Antonia, all 18, all in high school

Have you ever hooked up with anyone at a festival and if so how was it?
Taryl:
I have actually. It's interesting when you hook up with someone at a festival because it's on a whim. It's why not, you get their number, and they might not text you back, but they might do. It was very fun.

Were you seeing a specific act when you hooked up?
Taryl:
It was at Governor's Ball last year and I was watching Drake. That was probably one of the best times I've ever had!

What's the best music to have sex to?
Taryl:
I would say calm techno music. But then, I feel like whenever you're in the moment, that's what the best music is.

Antonia: I would say slower, sensual music.

Augusta: Roy Woods.

What do you think about Gov Ball versus Panorama?
Taryl:
I think Gov Ball is way more hip. It's way more up. Panorama's more artistic and chill.

Antonia: This has a more diverse age group.

What's your deal breaker?
Antonia:
If a guy's aggressive at all. That's a no. I just want respect honestly, so if someone comes up to me and grabs me, I'm like, no, I'm a human not a toy for you to just play with. If I find someone attractive and we click, then that's great, just come up and talk to me.

Have you dealt with aggressive behavior at a festival before?
Taryl:
Absolutely I've had a guy come up to me forcefully and try and do things I don't want. I told him, sir please stop, and he said he wasn't going to stop. I was like, you need to calm down, you're under the influence. I've had to walk away from situations I don't want to be in.

DOREHN AND ARMAN


Dorehn, 24, consultant and Arman, 27, TV producer

Have you ever made out with anyone at a festival.
Dorehn:
Yes.

Arman: No.

Dorehn: Lame!

Arman: I'm lazy sometimes. I'll talk, I'll get phone numbers… I follow up, but just not at the festival.

So you like to keep it classy and off the grass. So what happened when you made out?
Dorehn:
It was my school's festival so it was chill, I already knew him

Is festival sex ever a good idea?
Dorehn: No. What! No! Where? First of all.

Arman: How do the logistics of that work? If you're in a urinal, that's gross. Are you trying to get a reach around in the crowd? That's gross.

Dorehn: No porta potty pounding! Nasty!

Who would you most like to hook up with on the bill?
Dorehn:
Well I know Kendrick has a long-term girlfriend so I would say. Anderson .Paak. He's dope. I like his beard and he played the drums yesterday and it was sick!

Arman: SZA! She's got it going on. Amazing hair. Her voice too. She's got it.

What are your deal breakers?
Arman:
If you have a bad laugh. You tell a joke and you're like, I'm gonna regret this.

Dorehn: This is going to be kind of shallow, but when guys don't wear a shirt but they should. Belly bumping and then they walk by and they're kinda sweaty and they get it on your arm. Ugh.

DELICATE STEVE


Steve Marion, a.k.a. Delicate Steve, 28

What's the best music to have sex to?
Steve:
I have a Rolling Stones record on at almost all times. I've only had sex to one Stones album, the album I have on at all times: Exile on Main Street. There's probably better albums for having sex, but it sounds so good.

Do you ever get distracted?
Maybe not while having sex, but during making out, I'm thinking, oh, I love this song, and then I get back to it. Where were we?

Deal breaker?
Steve:
Music tastes clashing. It's not a deal breaker, but it's a turn off. There was one girl I knew was interested in me and she was kinda cute, but maybe not my type to begin with, but she was a musician and she was like, I really The Band. I was like, this is great, I love The Band. Then she said Incubus.

Out of everyone on the bill who would you like to date.
Steve:
I'd like to take Kurt Vile out on a man-date. We'd talk about music.

What do you do apart from music?
Steve:
Exercise. I do all kinds. I like to run and do pull ups. I'm really good at them. It's not a lie, I can take anyone at the festival at pull ups. That's my favorite body weight exercise.

What would we do on a date?
Steve:
Rolling Stones would be on no matter what. Maybe we'd go for a ride, put Exile… on. I actually haven't been on a lot of beach dates because it's a commitment.

Yeah and you're almost naked in front of your date.
Steve:
Right well that's OK, it's more that you're going to drive 45 minutes to be in the middle of nowhere for a while, but it's the summer so we'd drive to the beach in the Subaru, in the babe-mobile, and listen to Exile.

Have you found love?
I think I've experienced that. I don't know. Talk to me in 20 years.

LULU


Lulu, 21

What's your ideal date?
Lulu: I'm an artsy person so I would appreciate going to a museum, be normal, not too crazy. Also food! I like exotic food and burgers, but if it's a fancy cocktail bar, it also works for me.

What's a deal breaker?
Lulu: I'm a picky person. I'm fine if the guy's technology savvy, but not if he's continuously bragging about how good on social media he is, you have to be on this website or that. I've had guys say, what's the coolest Instgram photo of you, how many followers do you have. I'm not spending my whole day on Instagram! If he keeps bragging about himself and telling unreal, but cool stories, I'll think he's kind of fake. Or if he can't handle dirty jokes or if he can't handle me making fun of him.

Do you think it's hard to find love?
I think it's really hard to have a serious relationship in New York. Everyone thinks they can do better, there's always cute girls, cute guys, you have so many options. I'm a rational person and I don't really buy into true love forever, so I'm good!

Kim Taylor Bennett and Annalise Domenighini did not find love or sex at Panorama but you can find them on Twitter.