Spring has sprung and the season of music festivals is upon us! With SXSW just behind us and both weekends of Coachella coming up in April, tons of music fans are taking advantage of warmer weather to enjoy days and nights packed with performances by artists ranging from Tegan and Sarah to Wu Tang Clan. But before you get out your plastic and splurge on that weekend pass, take a moment to consider some of the ups and downs of the festival experience.
Without a doubt, the opportunity to see dozens of great artists in the span of a few days is what drives so many fans to music festivals. Star-studded line-ups pack the big tents and it’s easy to discover great up-and-coming artists at the various stages. Additionally, music festivals provide the opportunity for fans to forget about their usual worries and instead focus on enjoying the music they love for days on end. Huge festival audiences also bring together fans from across the country who might not otherwise have met. Many people form lasting friendships at music festivals, bonding over their favorite performances and commiserating about some of the not-so-great parts of the festival experience.
Festivals often cost fans a lot more than just the price of the ticket. Between travel, lodging and the high prices of necessities like food and water inside festival gates, heading to a music festival can really hit wallets hard. Also, even the most dedicated music fan can only see so many bands before sensory overload sets in, leaving attendees tired and overwhelmed. Sadly, it’s not even possible for fans to see every act on their wish list. Conflicting set times and running from stage to stage can contribute to disappointment and fatigue. Bands also tend to play different sets at festivals, tailoring their song selections to appeal more to a wider audience. Big crowds and safer song selections lead to less intimate, more generic performances.
The festival experience can be great when done right. Set reasonable expectations for the real cost of the festival before purchasing a ticket and shop around for deals on hotels and transportation. I like to find ways to split some of these costs with friends by carpooling or sharing hotel rooms. Next, accept that it may not be possible to see every great artist’s performance that you want to see. Instead, commit to fully enjoying your “must-see” performances and be open to trying new things. Avoid fatigue by finding ways to take breaks when you need to; there’s no shame in an afternoon nap. When I go to a festival, I actually schedule time for myself to just relax. I usually bring a copy of the set schedules and plan downtime when artists I’m less interested in are performing to eat and rest in the shade. Above all else, if you do choose to attend one of the big festivals this year, don’t forget to have fun! After all, having a great time and enjoying the music is what it’s all about.
Do you have a favorite music festival? Will you be heading to Coachella or another festival this year? Let us know all about it in the comments!
-Megan L. TakeLessons Staff Member and Blogger
Photo by jamonitmack