OPINION: Festival is the New Black

by DJ Run P
Trends are a regular occurance…whether they’re involving fashion, politics, or music, they often end up either dying just as fast as they were birthed or they become timeless treats for all to enjoy.  Regardless of what else is going on, socialites and business minded individuals alike are always looking for THAT new thing to capitalize before the masses.  From the camo of 2012 to the use of “swag”, “hustle”, and “holla” the crusade for that new trend is infinite.

A little less than a month ago, The Couch Sessions writing staff joined the internets in its rambling about festivals until we all became  blue in the face.  Rather than taking the glass half empty approach, we joined the party and conjured up our own fantasy team of artists because we of course would be more inclined to make the right decisions as opposed to everyone else just because….they’re everyone else.

That being said, everyone with money who’s looking for the new “In” can start and stop with a not so new word that is not slang…”Festival”.

We’ve had these grandiose cultural events for some time now that include Bonaroo, Coachella, Woodstock, Rock The Bells, SXSW, and more, but now they are sprouting up about as often as energy drinks and DJs.

Well before we posted the fantasy festival piece, I saw this coming; however, I did not anticipate the year of the festival becoming a mindless supersaturation full of organizations, groups, and/or individuals almost literally making it rain on every manager willing to be demeaned by money.  Everyone clearly has a price regardless of what publicists will say on behalf of their respective artist, entertainer, etc., but I am not here to blame the artist.  It is also his/her responsibility to make sure that as many people as possible hear the product that he/she wholeheartedly promote and work tirelessly to create. Usually in this business the more one is paid to perform, the bigger or more influential the audience. With this as the reality, it would only make sense that managers would broker these deals.

The real problem arises when enterprises are so eager to turn this festival trend into a cash cow that they make blind investments based solely on numbers via youtube, soundcloud, facebook, twitter, and whatever new social media app is out.  To add insult to injury, some of the festivalsthat have established their credibility have even placed their brands on a sacrificial altar for better or worse.  Some have done this by going green and recycling acts that performed just the year before, featuring headliners from relatively neighboring festivals, “borrowing” concepts, and/or simply grabbing artists who mesh with a festival’s brand like oil and vinegar.
Lately is just seems as if the motto really is YOLO because companies are not seeing that the supply is exceeding the demand for all of the wrong reasons.  With every festival that pops up, it seems as if each one has the same artists headlining. It has come to a point where fans are basically forced to pay a pretty penny to figure out which group and/or person they prefer to see because there are as many stages as there are headliners.  These are decisions I would have a difficult enough time making in a sober state on a Tuesday at the job let alone on festivalgrounds after spending upwards of $200 in total on tickets, transportation, albums, clothing, alcohol, food, and lodging since it’s always more than one day in 2012.
Give me an all inclusive price, a cheaper rate at a hotel, a meal, some beer, low ATM withdrawal fees, an opportunity to see everyone featured on the bill, or something.  I already spent the last couple of weeks deciding with my friends what festival we’re going to, and now you’re telling me I have to decide between a meal, a beer, and a t-shirt because they’re more or less the same price?
Great festivals still exist, and some still know how to organize them.  Unfortunately, as long asfestivals are the new black, undercards are an endangered species, and we continue to support the transparent festivals fighting the “good” fight solely for monetary reasons, we’ll always be leaving that “Festival” wishing we had more because we gave more.