When I first saw the YouTube video of the Dancing Guy at Sasquatch Music Festival last year I had my doubts about whether or not it was real. But then I soon learned what I was watching was in fact real, organic and completely spontaneous. After I had my story straight, it was then time to talk to the Dancing Guy himself to see exactly how and why he started the massively joyful and inspiring swarm.
Through my follow up posts questioning and then discovering the truth behind the “Dancing Guy’s” YouTube video (above), I learned that his name was Colin Wynter and he that was from Vancouver B.C and that he loves live music.
In tribute to Colin’s virally famous dancing display, and since the “Dancing Guy” posts have been some of your favorite all-time Live Fix stories, I contacted Colin so we could learn more about about his inspirations and motivations for starting the dancing swarm.
And even if you aren’t going to this year’s Sasquatch Festival that kicks off at the end of May, I’m sure you’ll enjoy what Colin has to say, because he does a fine job of both challenging and inspiring his fellow live music fans by sharing his thoughts about the struggle many fans face to either freely expressing ourselves or give into to peer pressure when we’re caught up in the moment of sonic and rhythmic pleasure at concerts.
Colin tells us why he chose embarrassment over regret and how he didn’t succumb to the peer pressures around him and just let the flow of the good-times goofiness takeover during Santigold’s and Gogol Bordello‘s set. He also told me what it was like for him before, during and after the swarm, and how marketing companies like Ted.com have even used his “Dancing Guy” video to explain marketing techniques.
I hope you enjoy this chat with Colin, and as always, let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.
Interview with Sasquatch Festival’s “Dancing Guy” Colin Wynter
Live Fix: What was it like before, during, and after the dancing swarm?
Colin: What was it like? Hmmm…odd question. I mean, everything was great; sun was out, Santigold was playing, I was on a giant hill overlooking a beautiful view of the Gorge…Heck, half the time I wasn’t even looking at the band; what was the point? They were waaaayyyy down there. So I listened to and felt the music wave through me, and checked out the beautiful experience I was given.
I guess I just thought everybody was silly, sitting there just chillin’, so like close friends (that they were not), I started yellin’ at them to get off their lazy asses.
Now it’s a fine line between freedom of your own expression and inhibiting others’, so you try once, twice, thrice, then you chill out and let others do their thing. At the same time, if I was bothering anyone, well, it’s a pretty big festival; move over a few feet. That’s half the reason why I went way back, up onto the hill: seriously, I think there were two people behind me. Yup, [the] two that had [the] video cam, hahahaha.
During the whole dance shebang, well, you know what happened. I jetted out [from] under the feet of this mob that surrounded me (I’m a little claustrophobic). I know I was having the time of my life, but didn’t really think much of anything—like that I did it. At the time, I didn’t know that I did anything special really; all I did was self-express… Maybe that’s all you have to do, sometimes.
Afterward…It was Gogol Bordello, so I rushed my fuckin’ ass down to the stage area, where I danced like mad; and when their song “Wear More Purple” came on, I stripped off my shorts [down to] just my purple underwear I was wearing and danced like mad. At one point some people came up and praised me, bowing to me, and I was disturbed; and I let them know the ones they needed to bow to was Gogol Bordello themselves. They were the true artists that started this mad frenzy of movement.
What inspired you to start dancing?
I dunno, it’s just who I am. I learned to let myself be free—yes, drugs and alcohol are a part, and I have no qualms saying that I was drinking liquor and ate some mushrooms. I wasn’t pissed drunk, nor did I eat a pound of mushrooms; just little nibbles here and there. It’s part of festivals for some people, and there is nothing wrong with using hallucinogenic and alcoholic substances if you do so properly. Would I have behaved in the same manner without? It’s pointless to ask a questions like that since I did use them. But what was the actual inspiration—why, the music, of course!
What did you think when you saw the video of yourself dancing and the reaction of the other people?
My reaction to the video….well, to be frank I was quite embarrassed, thinking, omg! I am such a dork. Then I got over myself and realized how much fun this was. I guess I was super surprised to see what happened from that angle, because from mine I was dancing, and then I was surrounded, and then I ran outta there!
Have you ever done anything like that at a concert before?
Hmmm…danced like that at a concert…I guess…the most accurate comparison was when I used to frequent this after-hours club in my home town of Winnipeg, and I would dance in the back, open space all by myself, and people would just stand there and stare. It certainly creeped me out! Made me really nervous—but I learned to ignore them, and just allow my mind to drift, and let the vibration of the music go into my subconscious to affect my bodily movements.
It’s been almost a year since last year’s festival. What do you think about it when you look back on it?
I think, holy shit, people are still talking about this. I still get friended on Facebook with comments of much I affected them. [So much so] that now there are people on news shows using what I have done to explain marketing techniques, the latest being ted.com. Which certainly bothers me. They are not specifically talking about me but they are talking about a situation that I was directly involved in, and they are wrong on certain points…of their grand ideologies. In fact, you were as well, but you corrected yourself on several accounts, and hopefully this interview will make things even clearer.
Have you started any other dancing swarms since?
No, I don’t think I’ve started any since; what I did was not intentional, and I certainly am not going to put on one of those staged dance events (good for those who do, and those who participate, though), but that’s not really my thing.
What do you think stops people from dancing and expressing themselves like you did?
What stops people from freedom of expression[is] they’re too inhibited [due to] social conditioning by their peers, and all they need is a little liquor to break them outta that. Perhaps it’s just not for them; some are doers are some are observers. Perhaps the timing is not right, and they just haven’t yet had the chance to free themselves.
Will you be attending this year’s Sasquatch Festival, or any other summer music festivals?
I plan on going to Sasquatch—they gave me two free tix! Also I plan on Shambala again; it’s by Nelson, B.C., and Burning Man in Arizona.
Has Sasquatch ever contacted you about last year’s festival?
Yeah, Sasquatch sent me some schwag, got me free tix; I also did a promo video for this year’s festival.
What would you say to other future or aspiring Dancing Guys?
Who am I to give advice, or say anything to anyone about this or that? Am I wise, do I have experience, am I knowledgeable? All I can do is just let everyone know that it’s okay to be themselves. It’s okay to do something that is not normal and become embarrassed. Trust me, embarrassment wears off, but regret is much harder to shake. Exist for the moment through focusing your mind; worry not about the future or the past. Through movement you can evolve your mind, and become transcendental. Practice yoga—start immediately, or when best you feel like you can. Read. Read as much as you can. Love. Love everyone and everything. Be understanding, compassionate, determined…You know all that moral crap…But most of all: have a smile on your face, be pleasant and polite, and if you’re bothering somebody’s “personal space”, tell them you’re existing beyond the material world right now, so they can go fuck themselves—Hahahahaha, just kidding…Swoop behind them so they don’t see how much fun or whatever goofiness it is that you’re doing, and then their own personal world of social conditioning or peer pressure and that there own box like mold will never see a crack in it[?]. Have sympathy for them, but never pity the poor folks; one day they might understand.
Thanks again to Colin for taking the time to share his story.
If you have any comments or questions about this interview or have specific questions for Colin, please leave them in the comment section below.
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