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Festival Season begins

| Monday, March 30, 2015

festival-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara | The Observer

Nothing screams, “Festival season is back!” quite like Killer Mike being attacked by a rogue fan on stage during a performance at South by Southwest music festival. Ah yes, the wonderful time of the year — where neon clad, bandana-sporting young people flock to the nation’s biggest festivals in hopes of catching unforgettable performances via the world’s biggest names in music — is here once again.

Despite an injured Killer Mike, 2015 marks a big year for music, as attendance for festivals across the nation is on the rise and new festivals are popping up in almost all major cities. With more than 80 U.S. major music festivals from Boise, Idaho, to Savannah, Georgia, you don’t have to live near L.A. to have a Coachella-like experience. Diversification in terms of genres is also becoming apparent, allowing festivals to accompany to any music fan’s taste. Yet if just can’t see yourself making a festival this year, whatever the reason may be, concerts like Coachella and Ultra are beginning to offer a live streams for fans away to partake in all the festival fun.

While every festival offers a unique lineup, many of the big festivals this year like Bonaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza and many others will be sharing a few big headliners. Appealing to an older demographic, AC/DC, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Billy Joel are featured. As far as rap, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Run the Jewels, G-Eazy and Drake will all be gracing the stage at different festivals. Other big names this year include Foster the People, Sam Smith, Wilco, The Killers, Modest Mouse, Jack White and Tame Impala.

While many festivals may share headliners, they do all not capture the same prestige concerts like Coachella and Bonnaroo have attained over the past couple of years, which just isn’t fair. Newer festivals like Alabama’s Hangout Festival, San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival and the festival I will be attending this year, Delaware’s Firefly Festival, all boast impressive lineups despite their recent inceptions. One of the aforementioned festivals, San Fran’s Outside Lands has even outdone others festivals with a hilarious “Too Many Cooks”-esque lineup announcement video. Accompanied with The 49ers’s Aldon Smtih, the lineup video is both funny and impressive. Well done Outside Lands; step it up, every other festival.

But what exactly does a typical festival experience entail? A quick visit to any major festival’s website will bring up a myriad of packages, price levels, camping options — and it doesn’t even end there. Many festivals are beginning to offer “glamping” options. The days of a gritty festival experience marked with an abundance of dirt, stains and B.O. are no longer, at least for those willing to pay. For a pretty penny one can find themselves “camping” with full amenities. Coachella, for example, offers a “fully furnished Shakir-style tents with air conditioning” for a mere $7,000.

While the rough-and-tumble camping experience is available for us plebeians, it undoubtedly takes a bit of saving even for most base-level festival experiences. Between camping, ticket price and those god-awful fees, three to four day festivals will, in most cases, run around $350 to $400. For a college student, that is nothing to scoff at; however, I was okay with sending in half my savings if it means four days of nonstop great performances. Yet with attendance rising, do not wait to buy. It seems like price packages increase with the days.

Despite not being able to check my bank account without cringing, I look forward to my first festival experience with giddy anticipation. However, with a lineup saturated so heavily with great acts, the biggest problem is really that I will be forced to miss some, and that’s upsetting. Well, I guess I will survive.

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About Adam Ramos

Adam is studying international economics in the class of 2018. He hails from beautiful New Jersey and says "draw" instead of "drawer."

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