“Oh my god, did you see what (insert starlet’s name here) wore to Coachella over the weekend?”
Nowadays, it seems like music festivals are about two things: fashion and appearances. Who will be there? What will they wear? How can I find an outfit like that? If that person is going should I go? All my friends are going, so I should go too, right? Festivals from Osheaga to Lollapalooza and, of course, the mecca, Coachella, are the place to be seen. Just saying you’re attending gives you an air of coolness… but are we losing the true essence of the musical festival?
Just look at the media surrounding them. When they first announce performers, everyone gets excited, and that’s how it should be. But for the weeks leading up to the show (for the bigger, internationally-known festivals at least), all we hear about is which celebrities are attending and how you can get the perfect music festival looks. Earlier this year when Vanessa Hudgens — a fixture at Coachella — said she couldn’t attend the festival due to her Broadway stint, there were literally countless stories about it. People seem to have stopped caring about the music. It’s becoming all about the “look” and the prestige. Some people don’t even seem to care who’s performing and just see the festival as an opportunity to party.
I’m not here to judge anyone’s life decisions. If you want to put on a flower crown and spend months figuring out an outfit to wear on a blistering hot summer day in a dirty field, then you do you. If you just want to go to Osheaga to party and could care less about who’s headlining, then party on. But remember that some people are there because of their devotion to music. They have been pumping themselves up for hours, or even days, because they have been so nervous and excited for that day. They were waiting in line at the break of dawn just to make sure they could make it inside in time for their favorite band. They bought pre-sale tickets as early as they could, even if they were a little out of their price range. You may not care as much about the music, but they do. Don’t ruin their experience just because you are there to party and look pretty.
Most importantly, don’t forget the many reasons to appreciate music festivals. First of all, think of the small, lesser-known acts who gain a whole new group of fans that may never have discovered them otherwise. And like any gathering of music lovers, they breed a sense of belonging. You’re surrounded by hundreds of people just as passionate as you are about something. Where else can two strangers have a spirited conversation as if they were best friends? As someone who has been to countless shows in my time, that’s one of my favorite things, especially when you’re alone at a concert. You’re instantly friends with at least one person in line with you, and you get to bond over your excitement. Isn’t that special?
That’s what music festivals should be about; finding new artists, making friends, and being part of a like-minded, passionate community of music — not to mention, having fun! I know we’re all human, we all want to look good for special events or feel like we are part of the “in” crowd, but don’t forget why you’re there in the first place: the music.