Chances are, if you follow Live for Live Music, that you’re also a part of a devoted fan base community for one – or many – beloved bands. Though bands like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin were among the first to spur massive legions of devotees, there was a noticeable shift when the Grateful Dead took their turn in the spotlight.The Dead inspired something in their fans like no artist had ever done before. They completely threw out the rule book for the music industry, letting fans bootleg their live performances for free. In turn, the fans travelled with the band across the country and around the world, trading art, food, drugs, or any other commodity just for another opportunity to see their favorites up on stage.Since then, countless bands have followed that model, inspiring new and exciting communities surrounding the almighty musical expression. Lots of these are direct jam descendants – like Phish, The String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, moe., Umphrey’s McGee and countless others – but even groups like Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem and more instill the same feeling in their fan groups.Without further ado, here are five reasons that finding these fan base communities is greatly superior than any other fan experience.1. You get to be a part of a community that just gets “it” – whatever that it may be.It starts when your favorite band announces tour dates. Even if they aren’t nearby, you instantly feel the compulsion to hit every stop along the way. Though money and time are limiting factors, you find yourself booking flights and hotels to visit new parts of the world for this musical experience. You make plans with friends, face off against Ticketmaster, and count down the days until this magical show. You can face all the ridicule in the world from family members, coworkers, etc. Once those lights go down, it’s all worthwhile.It’s an indescribable feeling when all of these plans and workings come to fruition. Fortunately, you’re in a crowd of thousands, and everyone has been through the same experience together. As the Dead sang, “strangers stopping strangers, just to shake their hands.” There’s no better feeling than being in a crowd full of people who just understand.2. You can express your creativity within that community.When you’ve found such an understanding group of like-minded individuals, naturally you want to share your passion with them. Fortunately, there are so many creative channels to share in the groove. Artwork is perhaps the most obvious form, with some bands even encouraging live painters to create mid-performance. Some make clothing, jewelry, and other graphics, supporting their community all the while. Some of us even write articles to support our favorites bands! Even the names that spring up within these groups are creative – the Deadheads and Spreadheads and Phans and moe.rons and beyond. The love is limitless.Chances are, if your enthusiasm for the community shines through in your creativity, others will immediately identify with it. It’s a blessing to belong.3. The artist will almost always interact and foster the community’s growth.As people continue to find themselves in these loyal groups, the bands themselves often acknowledge and encourage its growth. The wholehearted appreciation from these groups naturally spur from a like-minded appreciation from the musicians, and gratitude is the name of the game. Whether its the bands allowing tapers to distribute their music, or even the family-style festival events that these bands create for their fans, there’s a certain validation in loving something that loves you in return.With social media bringing people closer together than ever before, the possibilities for real connections between artists and fans are endless. Thank you to everyone who helps foster this love!4. You can do really great things as a group of people.With these groups full of encouraging people, it’s no surprise that many of them organize philanthropic events. Many artists get involved themselves, helping to lead their fans to charitable acts. A great example is The Polish Ambassador, a musician who regularly organizes “Action Day” outreach programs in various communities. Saxophonist/producer GRiZ runs his annual GRiZmas benefits, and groups like Phish, Twiddle, Widespread Panic and countless others all have fan-based non-profit groups. The Mockingbird Foundation – associated with Phish fans – has raised nearly $1 million for local music education programs in its twenty year existence.As Mickey Hart regularly says after performances, “all of this good energy that you feel, take it and bring it into the world.” I’m paraphrasing, but the message is truly important.5. Concerts are just better with family.At the end of the day, one of the main reasons we love live music is because it is a shared experience. There are countless musicians who are extremely talented, but it takes time, creativity and desire to spark a full-fledged community of fans. With the right dedication, the experience for fans is truly an elevated one. There’s nothing that compares to sharing in a magical musical moment with the complete stranger standing next to you. Over time, these groups feel more and more like family. So don’t be shy about your love for an artist; get out there and dance! There ain’t no place I’d rather be.