We recently stumbled upon an article that offered “3 Reasons You Should Ditch The Music Festival Lifestyle In Your 20s.” Although the views reflected in the article are strictly those of the author, its title made us feel like it was offering advice that we hadn’t necessarily asked for. Though some points were valid, we don’t think anyone should be telling anyone else how to live their lives, so here are the reasons we think festival life is totally appropriate … and why we think you should make the call. We can and should each decide for ourselves when it’s time to cut back or quit.
We happen to be under the impression that our 20s are the perfect time to attend festivals. We have stable jobs to fund the experience, our frontal lobes are fully formed so we’re capable of better decision making than teens, and we’re responsible enough to be safe at the events and take care of each other. Later in life we may or may not have the same amount of freedom and not-so-many responsibilities that allows us to just get away for a festival weekend.
Clearly author Dia Becker wasn’t necessarily saying everyone should stop going to festivals forever; it was more about her own decision to stop, save one per year. Just as we feel that she shouldn’t tell us how to live our lives, we’re not going to tell her how to live hers. There’s no shame in finding that perfect event that you want to attend every year until forever and committing to that. Upon finishing her piece, we felt it appropriate to write a rebuttal of sorts. We’re not saying that no one will agree with Ms. Becker, but we think that quitting festivals forever is a bit extreme. So here’s our take on these issues:
They’re as Consistent as You Want
Whether you choose to attend the same festival over and over as a yearly tradition, attend festivals by the same event company (which will often ensure a more consistent experience), or step outside your comfort zone to try something very different is all up to you. Sure, there are often many similarities between festivals put on by different promoters, but if you’re sick of that then seek out a different kind of festival.
If you’re over the typically commercial EDM festival, then maybe try out Shambhala, What the Festival?!, or Atmosphere Gathering. We’re not denying that many festivals are similar, we’re simply saying that you don’t have to continue attending the same type of event over and over again. There are other festivals out there waiting patiently to earn your love, trust, and loyalty.
They’re as Substantive as You Make Them
When Ms. Becker presents this point, it’s a little confusing. She describes festivals as such an incredible experience in the introductory paragraphs, then goes on to say that they lack “substance (and I don’t mean the illegal kind).” Again, perhaps that’s been true in this particular person’s experience, but that doesn’t mean that other people don’t find substance and have life-changing moments at festivals.
It’s a widely expressed sentiment that festivals are where people feel free to be who they are and even more importantly, feel accepted for who they are. Whether the attendees are going it sober or partaking in other activities isn’t even a road we want to go down. Actual substances aside, being at a festival for a few days away from your typical daily life, when your only worry is how to settle that set-time-conflict is a surreal and sometimes spiritual experience. You get to spend time dancing, playing, making kandi, camping, and watching amazing music with your friends.
Our point is, there is as much substance as you seek. If you let go of your daily worries and open yourself up to just enjoying the moment with your friends, you’ll find all the substance you could ever need. This is a factor that may also be influenced by who you surround yourself with at events, so maybe Ms. Becker just needs to come out to a festival with the DMNW crew.
They’re as Expensive as You Let Them Be (To a Point)
Sure, you can’t make an EDC ticket any cheaper than face value (unless you find yourself in some uncommonly fortuitous circumstances). But there are ways to make that trip a lot less expensive, and there are ways to budget the money so you’re not sacrificing your rent or grocery budget to ensure your rave slave status.
You can assemble your own costumes instead of buying fully made ones, you can stay with a giant group in an Air BnB, you can even save the money for your ticket in change and Coinstar it. Even if there are costs, there are ways to budget it and either slim down or eliminate costs along the way.
There are also tons of festivals that are available to you with a lower price tag. Seattle’s Bumbershoot 2015 was around $200 for a 3-day pass. That’s no chump change, but it’s less expensive than some of the other multi-day festival options out there. Even if you snagged the earliest of Early Owl tickets, you still end up spending about $380 on EDC, for comparison.
It’s YOUR Decision
It’s quite simple: You should stop attending music festivals when you feel you have gotten all you can get out of them, when you don’t enjoy them anymore, when you’ve seen every artist you possibly could have imagined, or whenever you just plain think so. You should stop attending when YOU think it’s time to stop attending. It’s all up to you. Don’t let some list article (even this one) tell you when to stop going and doing the things that you love. Don’t let that article tell you that it’s time to stop playing.
At what point, if any, will you stop attending music festivals?