by Victoria Simpson
I need playtime. I think all adults need playtime. As psychiatrist Dr Stuart Brown put it in a Ted Talk on it’s importance, “The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.”
Dr Brown spent decades taking “play histories” from patients, and found it to be one of the common elements absent in a group of homicidal young men. He concluded it was essential for brain development.
“Nothing,” he says, “lights up the brain like play.”
Play, in children and adults alike brings joy and stress-release. According to Brown it “builds complex, skilled, responsive, socially adept and flexible brains,” and, above all, it brings us together.
we don’t think it’s weird- we recognize it for what it is. Total playtime. The gathering sounds fun-it sounds cool. It sounds amazing, and we wish we had the chance to be there. We want to take it all in and do our part.
But why such a strong turn out, for one band?
Music as an emotional tool is muscular and holds just as much power as play in engaging our minds and souls. Listening to a favorite song or album fuels the brain’s pleasure centers and builds arousal.
Valorie Salimpoor, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal says, “”It’s like a temporary roller coaster of emotions, with no severe consequences. The intensity of the feelings the music evokes is highly reinforcing.”
And live shows with lights and choreography can intensify these feelings much more. Some concert goers attain an almost religious experience, at a loss for words to explain their emotions, as detailed in one Swedish study.
When developing a taste for a favorite group or genre in our formative years, identifying with a certain type of music can help to answer the question, “Who am I?”
And so when Fabio Zaffagnini created Rockin’ 1000 to entice Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters to come to Italy and put on a show in his town, it’s my guess that the opportunity for multiple healthy highs, the chance to meet a thousand other like-minded souls and to re-affirm one’s identity through public, directed playtime created just as strong a pull in people as about a 1 in 20 chance at winning the lottery. Or better.
Zaffagnini’s project has been in the works for almost a year with a crowd-funding video calling musicians to action on Vimeo.
The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl is currently mending a broken leg that he suffered on-stage while rockin’ out in Sweden but this hasn’t stopped him from performing.
Not only did he keep playing while having his leg splinted in the Nordic region mid-concert, he cranked out a solo with his cast at a show in New Jersey earlier this month.
Cesena is a lovely city of about 97, 000, people give or take, set at the foot of the Apennines, close to the beautiful Adriatic Sea. Sounds like Dave’s up for the party. People will come in droves. Everyone will love some time to play.
Let’s hope the Foo Fighters can band together and make it happen. May the power of music play out.