Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Selling out within days, it’s easy to say that festivals such as Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Austin City Limits have acclimated themselves into the clutches of America’s mainstream culture. Once used to be about leaving the humdrum and ostentatious snobbery of life behind, is now (in some cases) becoming a business driven tycoon.

“I often make the point that people don’t go to festivals for the music, which is a secondary attraction,” said Casper Smith, editor of the Observer Music Monthly Magazine, to BBC. “They go because of the mass experience, the event itself.”

At these festivals, money can now buy things that would probably be deemed as hedonistic luxuries by the past festivalgoers of Woodstock. Coachella and Lollapalooza both offer hotel packages with Coachella also offering a safari tent with the same amenities of a hotel at a hefty price of $6,500. Bonnaroo also offers a Roll Like A Rockstar package that allows main stage VIP, airport transportation, onsite catering and more for nearly $4,000.

Not only that but festivals are still growing to appeal to a wider audience of musical backgrounds- electronic, rock, punk, hiphop...etc.- even if it means to abandon their roots and following.

Although tickets have remained relatively the same throughout the years ranging from 70-300, scalpers have increased, making it harder to actually procure a ticket. Scalpers often scoop up massive amounts of tickets and inflate the prices to outrageous rates that are nearly unaffordable. A $285 Electric Daisy Carnival ticket becomes $1,000 and $185 Austin City Limits ticket becomes $700.

With all this emphasis placed on the consumer and paying for extra expenses, it’s no longer a simple joy to go to a music festival but an intrinsic struggle.

And with festivals losing their certain endearing aura because of their sponsorship by corporate brands such as Hyundai and Heineken, the prestige of the festival is beginning to matter more.

“The reputation of a festival is more important to some people than the acts who are playing,” says Jarvis. This trend is bringing in new attendees that fake sentiment which can sometimes prevent genuine fans from attending.

Music festivals are changing and will continue to do so, but I just hope music festivals still maintain the promise of youth and relaxation in the years to come.

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