Spring is here, and with that comes the beginning of music festival season. Music festivals used to be under-the-radar experiences that only those in the know witnessed. Now, festivals have become commercialized, and people pay ridiculous prices to spend hot, sweaty nights raging with performers and seeing who wears the least clothing.
Festivals like Coachella, Outside Lands, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza create a stir on social media, causing the best of us to immerse ourselves in jealousy as festival-goers see big names such as Kanye, Paul McCartney and maybe even Beyoncé herself.
Big-name brands such as Red Bull, Spotify and Heineken encourage this behavior and sponsor various tents for people to chill and party in at their leisure. Clothing brands such as H&M have even started creating spring lines called “Music Festival Chic.”
Colleges get into this spirit as well, and Brandeis is no stranger to this tradition. Brandeis’ much-anticipated “Springfest” is coming on April 26 and transforms Chapels Field into the ideal location for a music festival.
What makes these festivals special is the music. Yet festivals have now become commercial locations for social interactions, drug and alcohol experiences and merchandising instead of focusing on the music.
If I could go to any music festival, I would have gone to Woodstock from August 15 to 17, 1969. I would have not cared about the facilities or activities. I would have wanted to see the Jimi Hendrix Experience; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Joan Baez; Janis Joplin; Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Who. Woodstock was a place where now-legendary artists came together for the purpose of bringing a culture of peace and love.
One of the most popular music festivals is Coachella. This year, Coachella wanted to bring in more artists and more money. The festival expanded, and they now have two weekends for “wanna-be indie folk” to live this instantly gratification-style cultural experience. Located in Indio Springs, California, two hours away from Los Angeles, Coachella has become the quintessential music festival experience. Dedicated festival-goers buy their tickets a year in advance and eagerly anticipate the line-up announcement.
This year’s lineup was unimpressive. Sure, headliner AC/DC is a great band, as is headliner Steely Dan, but Drake and David Guetta are the most famous artists this year to be present at the festival. Here’s hoping for a Beyoncé/Jay Z surprise appearance from years past.
Another one of the largest music festivals is Outside Lands. The San Francisco-based festival always manages to score incredible headliners. This year’s festival is taking place Aug. 7 to 9 and has an incredible lineup that includes Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Elton John and Sam Smith. Located in Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands is not just about the music but features food, wine, beer, art and comedy. As city festivals go, Outside Lands is one that has an epic lineup and gets significantly less publicity than Coachella.
I would prefer going to a more intimate festival like Outside Lands than Coachella because, after all, it is about the music. So, my fellow Brandeisians, get pumped for our school’s own intimate music festival: Springfest!