Spring and summer are defined by hot weather, new opportunities, and concerts and festivals. The decision on what festival to attend preoccupies the mind of many hyper-active music lovers. Their choices include: the Warped Tour, SXSW, Coachella, Bamboozle and Lollapalooza. I intervewed some festival lovers from accross the states for their imput and personal experiences with some of these festivals. The interviewees shared stories of first kisses, celebrity encounters, and musical euphoria.
SXSW (South by Southwest))
Dates It Takes Place (2012): March 11-13
Ticket Cost: Prices vary. Some artist and bands do free shows, others charge.
Spending Range: $0-$750
Type of Artist that Play the Festival: All types: indie, techno, jazz, rock and punk.
What to Wear & Bring: ID, water bottles, cash. Dress for the Texas heat so wear loose and light clothing: shorts, tank tops, dresses, etc.
Atmosphere: Toni Sanchez, 24, of Waco, Texas, described it as a “free atmosphere.” She continued to say, “I don’t feel judged when I go. I feel very welcomed. It’s like a feeling of comradery there.”
Ms. Sanchez described her encounter with her crush, whose band was playing the festival. She had never been kissed and, “after he got done with his show I went up and talked to him. I decided that I probably would not see this guy after this concert, so I decided that I was going to ask him to be my first kiss. While we were talking I asked him if he would be my first kiss and before I could finish asking the question he leaned in and kissed me. Greatest moment of my life,” Sanchez enthusiastically recounted.
Dates It Takes Place (2012): April 13-15, April 20-22
Ticket Cost: $285 for wristband without shuttle.
Spending Range: $285-$600
Type of Artist that Play the Festival: Popular artists like Kanye West and Jay-Z, but also smaller bands, like LA Riots, and artists of all types of genres.
What to Wear & Bring: Shorts, dresses, etc. Bring sunscreen, chapstick, cash, ID, a sealed plastic water bottle (they take opened ones) or an empty refillable one. You also need a camera, aspirin and your phone. Kaitlyn Cyrier, 19 of Orange County, California, offered this advice to anyone wanting to be intoxicated during the event, “beer is expensive so people like to sneak in alcohol, as well as weed and other drugs. Yes the experience is still amazing without such things; I did the entire weekend sober.”
Atmosphere: Cyrier also called the atmosphere “freeing” and emphasized the friendliness of the attendees and celebrities. Coachella is filled with celebrity so you can expect one or two encounters with them. Cyrier encountered eight celebrities during her Coachella experience.
Cyrier enthusiastically recounted memories of the festival and almost had nothing negative to say about it. Her favorite memory, however, was “when Kanye was headlining on the last night of Coachella 2011, a stranger hoisted me on his shoulders during ‘Dark Fantasy’. It was a complete moment of freedom where I outreached my arms, closed my eyes, and appreciated the experience and the fact I was lucky enough to be there.”
Dates It Takes Place (2012): August 3rd-5th
Ticket Cost: $90 Per Day
Spending Range: $60 (Secret Sale)-$600
Type of Artist that Play the Festival: Very eclectic but lots of indie bands/artists and big name artists too, like Coldplay and Lady Gaga.
What to Wear & Bring: Shorts, summer dresses, tanks, little backpack or small sling purse, (you might be given a camelback pack to carry water in), water bottle, flip-flops with a strap or slip on shoes, sunscreen and sunglasses.
Atmosphere: Toya Wimberly, 22 of Chicago, Illinois, describes the atmosphere as “more of a young adult crowd, like eighteen and over, between eighteen and thirty,” but she offers these comforting words to people wanting to bring their children, “they have a kids section and there were pockets of teens.” She said the demographic was “hipster central.”
After years of dreaming of Lollapalooza the most interesting story she shared involved a mudslide and druggies. “The rainstorm was pretty intense, but wonderful mudslides happened. It was like Woodstock. My personal stories involve druggies. I think the funny, but cool, thing that happened was that I randomly met a guy who was super sweet, high as a kite, but sweet and then the next day someone on Facebook posted a picture of him. They were looking for him since last Lolla and I was able to solve their little mystery.”
As these festival goers show, the most profound part of a festival are the experiences. It’s less about the bands playing and more about enjoying music and company. If you have the money and time, then attending one of these music festivals is a must.