Stendhal syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.
Writer and music aficionado Aine Cronin McCartney takes a look at the five stages of Stendhal Syndrome at Stendhal Festival. Visit https://ainecroninmccartney.com/ for more of her work.
While I had always thought that Stendhal was a good name for a festival, I had never put too much thought into the meaning behind it. So imagine my surprise to find the fact that Stendhal is possibly the most fitting name for this festival ever.
For all those who have been wondering where exactly the name has come from, it has actually been named after a very infamous syndrome. Stendhal syndrome famously documents the psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art.
Having experienced a few of these symptoms throughout the festival before, I thought I would document the five stages of Stendhal Syndrome at Stendhal Festival.
1: Getting your ticket:
Nothing is more exhilarating than when you finally purchase that festival ticket you’ve been planning to get for months. Growing excitement over committing to a ticket can cause breathlessness and the sudden urge to buy unnecessary amount of camping gear and clothes. Prepping and planning with your friends for weeks before makes waiting the whole way to August worth it.
2: Hearing the lineup:
Realising you have just bought the best damn festival ticket going after hearing the lineup will cause a rapid heartbeat. You spend the summer anticipating what acts you are going to see by making Spotify playlists with all your fave local acts so you can learn all the words and blasting them at any possible party opportunity. Frantically searching for all your old band tee’s and merch so you can look the part will ensue.
3: Discovering the site:
After months of anticipation you have finally arrived on site. With so much to take in spells of dizziness can be experienced as you try to decide where to start. Stendhal syndrome can also be triggered by beautiful imagery such as discovering the Woolly Woodlands and the Karma Valley stage. Make sure to take your time walking around to discover all the sites hidden gems, every year there is something else to find.
4: Watching the acts:
While usually very composed in a gig/concert situation something strange seems to happen while at Stendhal. As a surge of energy comes over you as you allow the music to take over as you relish in the experience. You may find yourself uncontrollably dancing and unable to stop as you move from stage to stage. With such an amazing array of music and genres it’s hard not to become frenzied when witnessing it all.
5: Embracing the syndrome:
Don’t fight the syndrome embrace it. Weather this is your first experience of a music and arts festival or your tenth make sure you are open to everything that happens. Allow yourself to fully enjoy new experiences and get involved with as many new things as possible. Go see that wacky band, get your face painted, dance in the mud and enjoy everything that Stendhal possibly has to offer!! If you do that you’re in for the best weekend of your life.