I love music, I just don’t LOVE music festivals.
Admitting this will not go over well here in the music capital of the world of Austin, Texas.
It’s about as popular a sentiment as a Californian saying they don’t like avocado, or a parent saying they don’t like, well…that they don’t like children.
By the way, I am from California and I don’t like avocados. HA! But, I digress…
When the lineup for ACL, or Austin City Limits, was announced this week, all I could think was, “Oh gross!”
Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to live music around town.
Additionally, I’ve been known to lust after a fine, hunky musician or two like the rest of ‘em.
But a music festival?
Well that’s a completely different, sweaty beast.
Which brings me to reason number one why I’m not a huge fan of music festivals:
I’ve never been to a musical festival that wasn’t sticky — as in swamp-ass, nightmare festering beneath your polyester romper, sticky!
I’m not sure exactly why it is, but regardless the weather forecast, when the festival finally arrives, temperatures rise, leaving mammary glands with no other option than to secrete. Ewww. Or should I say, “Ooze?”
So there you are, smack dab in the middle of hundreds of thousands of sweaty people, shoved together on a tiny patch of dead grass; clamoring for shade or shelter from the relentless heat while all your festival neighbors drip and splash their smelly perspiration on you.
I literally want to run home and bathe in a tub filled with hand sanitizer and potpourri after a day at a music fest. Listen (pun intended), extreme body contact with strangers is just not my type of sexy.
It used to be that people would attend music festivals to leave social snobbery and inhibitions behind. There in the middle of the mud and the madness, everyone is made equal.
Second to baggage claim, the music festival was the greatest social equalizer on the planet.
But these days, with the huge corporate sponsorships and the hoity-toity VIP tents, the more you pay, the “cooler” you are. Literally.
A badge equals bragging rights.
Bragging rights means you’re a Douche “Badge.” HA! Okay, that was a joke. Kind of.
Truth is, the reputation of a festival is far more important than the acts who are playing. Case in point (this is hilarious!):
If it’s not bad enough to be standing inches from a sweaty guy in a tank top fist pumping to your favorite song, you do so while marinating in a consistent and heavy cloud of smoke. Cough, Cough! Puff, Puff!
Sure, the “rules” clearly state that there is no smoking allowed. But this is a loud, drug-fueled, overcrowded, clothing-optional carnival of irresponsibility, so rules will be broken, my friend.
Yep, music festivals are filled with hundreds of stubborn walking disciplinary problems known as teens, in a constant state of rage and rebellion because they’ve never seen so much boob.
Smoking is just a side-effect of the rebellion.
Granted, unless someone gives me a free ticket, I’m probably not going to spend a lot of time or money trying to track down a wrist band (AKA a “Douche Badge”) to the next music festival.
But, that doesn’t mean there’s not still some aspects to the event that make them amazing.
There is denying that there is something liberating and inspirational about being around people who share your same taste in music with no assigned seating and no shortage of people-watching.
At the end of the day, you’re paying for the memories. So if you do attend a music festival, soak it up my friends, because come Monday morning, it’s back to reality we go.
This blog won’t win me any popularity contests, especially here in Austin. But someone please tell me I’m not alone in not loving music festivals?
Joy @ Yesterfood says
Yep, the sweat factor can get bad. In addition, us pale redheads don’t do well out in the sun! 😛 Only the very best acts are worth it. 😉
Joy @ Yesterfood recently posted…Sante Fe Chili Bread
I’m with you! I am not a fan of festivals. I’d rather just download the music and rock out in the comfort of my own home.
Helen- Life in Random Bits says
I went to ACL for the first time last year. And I loved it! I’m not crazy about this year’s lineup, but I’d definitely do ACL again. Not SXSW, though.
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Debbie Smith says
I love ACL too, but festivals remind me of Vegas: You never know what’s around the corner. You must be ready at all times to see a man in a gold lame thong riding a pony. 🙂
Bailey K. says
Haha! I live in Austin, too. I used to ADORE ACL fest. But that was when I went 8, 9, and 10 years ago, when there was still room on the ground to sit and not everyone came dressed like faux-hippies or hipsters pretending they know every band. Back then, it was still relatively small for a music festival, and I loved it. I wouldn’t go now unless someone paid me. 🙂
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Debbie Smith says
Agreed, Bailey. A free ticket and a paycheck would get me there! 😉
I love live music but I also am not a huge fan of festivals. I just assumed it was because I was too old to have the patience to put up with the crowds and other downsides of the festivals. I think they are great for college kids, but I’d rather go to an intimate show to see my favorite bands.
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You are definitely not alone! I can hardly even stand a concert. I’d much rather be at home listening to my music at levels that won’t damage my hearing!
I’m with you and I’ve always been like that. I’ve always preferred the small venue to stadiums and festivals. I don’t like the pushing shoving, the over-priced food and water. The heat, the crowds, the parking! lol. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. The only way I go to stuff like that is if I can go VIP, and not the VIP that’s really just over-priced GM, but actual air-conditioned VIP (which is to say I rarely go to these things).
I’m from Cali (San Francisco born) and moving to Austin later this year!
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Ronda Chesser Porter says
I love this! What a beautiful writer you are. I adore live music and have been to many concerts but never a festival – I am NOT a fan of the sweating and possible sunburn! Well once, a jazz festival in Edinburgh Scotland, but there definitely was NO sweating going on! Great Kimmel video!
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Oh, I remember those days – crowds galore…and I don’t miss it at all. I’d rather watch on TV. Well thank goodness they are outdoors, as the smoke would fill the room and be really bad!
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Lizzie Lau says
So funny! I live a few blocks away from the polo grounds where Coachella and Stagecoach are held and haven’t been to either of them.
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Debbie Smith says
I’m from SoCal so have attended Stagecoach twice when I still lived there. Never again. I call it Ragecoach. 🙂