Opinion: Festivals are the new concerts

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at nhardma1@kent.edu.

Neville Hardman is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected].

Neville Hardman

If the idea of enormous crowds, all-day music and pleasant surprises enamors you, then consider heading out to a music festival this summer.

The festival will be flooded with hundreds of people, and you might spend a third of the time ducking from stage divers threatening to crush you and knock over that T-shirt you just snagged from the merchandise table.

You’ll become extra close with the people beside you, probably more than you wanted, and they might accidentally get to second base reaching for their cellphone. Your ears will be ringing, and you’ll have no voice from screaming at the top of your lungs, but it’ll be worth it.

It’s not surprising how many people are hesitant to attend a festival but are more willing to go to a concert. Festivals can get expensive, and many students are already facing loans, so they don’t want to drop a few hundred dollars on passes. Lollapalooza tickets go for $100 per day or $250 for a three-day pass. Bonnaroo admission costs $284.50 if you decide to go last-minute, according to its website.

It can be hard deciding whom to attend a festival with because someone who doesn’t want to see the same bands and endure the heat will kill your experience. The weather can be brutal, but if you’ve lived in any residence hall without air conditioning at the end of August, then you’ve gone through worse.

Weather will be unpredictable, though, and while this outdoor event will not provide a roof over your head or AC, venues get hot inevitably, so this can’t be your excuse. Sometimes the rain even makes for epic endings, like when sheets of it poured down during the last bit of Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender” at Lollapalooza in 2011.

There are many upsides and genuine, unexpected perks that come with going to a music festival instead of a concert. Rallying the right group of friends or family will result in a weekend of good feelings and sweet musical content. You’ll get the advantage of spending time walking to different stages and experiencing an all-day sensation instead of just the few hours a normal concert gives.

Festivals also offer a more diverse line-up, which is a great opportunity to see who’s worth seeing again while you’re there. You might even wind up discovering a new band that catches your attention immediately and makes you listen to their songs obsessively when you’re going through post-festival depression.

This energetic environment is not something to pass up. There’s a reason these events sell out so quickly and people keep coming back for more each year. The Chicago Tribune reported that Lollapalooza three-day passes sold out in an hour once they were available for sale. Start planning early and research a festival that matches your interests.

Spend a day delving into punk at Warped Tour or go hard and celebrate music for 11 days at SummerFest. Either way, remember to hydrate constantly and have a beautiful time exploring the scene. You’ve earned it.