First of all, it’s still about the music (for most):
Sure, there’s a lot going on at festivals that have nothing really to do with music. Some specific festivals have even included tech platforms showcasing new innovations, guest speakers that stem from actors to political leaders, as well as intense advertising.
Whatever the draw is, music still remains on the big stage. It’s easy to label certain festivals as “selling out,” but if you’re going for a certain band or artist, it’s easy to ignore the rest. Once your band is up on that stage, nothing else really matters. You simply get lost in the music, the vibe, and the revelers who share the same passion with you. Music really is the number one attraction, everything else is pretty much a bonus.
And if it’s not all about the music…that’s not necessarily a bad thing:
Art, comedy, food…music festivals can be described as an adult Disney Land. Not only does it market to a certain generation, most festivals include various artists that draw a diverse and dynamic crowd.
Festivals that once catered to certain music genres, now include all kinds of musical acts from the spectrum. It brings various people together in a hub of creativity, passion, and positive energy. It’s a pretty awesome experience being able to see a classic rock band, the latest hip hop artist, and a comedy act from the likes of someone like Aziz Ansari or Craig Robinson while eating a five star dish served from a food truck.
Plus, you meet people who are almost exactly like you:
My friends and I make it a point to go to at least one music festival a year. A lot of it has to do with seeing our favorite artists and bands perform all in one weekend, but another large part of it, is escaping the 9-5 routine and having something amazing to look forward to. Once that Thursday or Friday of work is over, you suddenly enter a new world where your inner child comes out once you step into the festival grounds.
The notion that anything can happen takes over. Whether it’s meeting new people, checking out new art, or trying out amazing eats, festivals help you escape the weekly rut most of us are so accustomed to. Even though it’s an experience that usually only lasts a weekend, the memories you make and the people you meet stick with you for a life time.
And it’s not all about rich kids – we save for this shit.
I remember telling a friend about my upcoming plans for San Francisco’s Outside Lands, and I couldn’t help but notice the cringe on her face. She told me she had no interest in going. “The festivals changed. It’s all trust fund kids with mom and dad’s money.” For some reason, I took her comment to offence. Maybe there are people attending just for the scene hand in hand with their parents credit cards, but there’s a large portion of us who save for months in order to attend.
Just like people save for vacations, cars, and materialistic things, there’s a large number of us that will do whatever it takes to see their favorite bands and artists perform on one stage. Musical Festivals have become such a happy place for me that I’ve travelled to different states in order to attend to them. A lot of us do not purchase tickets on a whim. There’s heavy planning that goes on and a lot of saving in order to make the festival an experience you will never forget.
In all reality, the festival is about the experience and the environment.
The location speaks for itself.
It’s great seeing a band or artist at a club or venue but there’s something to be said about being in a crowd overlooking the Chicago Skyline at Lollapalooza, being in the desert at Coachella, or feeling like you’re amongst nature at San Francisco’s Outside Lands. I remember the luck I had singing “Hey Jude’ along with Paul McCartney at Golden Gate Park amongst the thousands of other Beatle fans.
It’s a moment that has stuck with me forever and can be easily said to be one of the happiest moments of my life. There’s something magical about being under the stars while hearing your favorite artist of band play your favorite song. As a floating meme has said, “Life’s too short, buy the concert tickets.”
Even though music festivals have evolved in both bad and good ways, the music is what keeps them alive. As long as legends like Radiohead and Paul McCartney perform alongside future legends, music festivals are here to stay.