Festivals have created their own culture, fashion style, and following in the last few years is an almost resurgence of the hippy movement from the 70’s. Each year the dance world sees a host of new music festivals added to the circuit. It’s nearly impossible to pick a weekend between April and September that doesn’t have a major, multi-day event going on in the US or Canada. Certainly EDM has made its way into the mainstream, and at times feels like more and more businesses, venues, or promoters are trying to cash in on the rising popularity. One can’t help but feel like we are being sold the “festival experience” as something almost like an adult summer camp.
Before we go any further, we’d like to mention we are not bashing any festival, but simply making an observation as someone who’s attended festivals across the country for several years. Each festival has its own vibe and its own message, and we leave each and every one with great memories. This article is simply addressing the idea of “the experience” as a marketable item being sold to its attendees that sometimes feels more important than the artists themselves.
Some of the largest events in North America are drawing crowds of nearly 100,000 people. These events bring in a massive infrastructure of stages, rigging, lights, sound, and staff larger than most state fairs and traveling circuses. Amongst the temporary population, each event brings those who seem more interested in showing off their latest tank top or flower head band than experiencing the music. This isn’t to say that people aren’t there for the music, but certainly with some events, messages like PLUR, or the joining of a community in the name of music lose themselves in madness.
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