Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What I hate about music festivals

Summers are a time for music festivals. With the growing popularity of electronic music, music festivals have been sprouting around like mushrooms after a rain. Pretty much every weekend from June to September there is a music festival somewhere driving distance from everywhere. And every time I am out, people ask me "So are you gonna go to Moon Gathering Of The Holistic Vibes Festival? And every time I say "Absolutely not!" Why? Cause I fucking loathe music festivals. Here are a few reasons why.


Yes, I am a total urbanite. Just the other day I found myself standing in the middle of Boston Common thinking "Yep, that's pretty much the extent of "nature" that I truly enjoy - a park in the middle of the city". That said, I can see how other people may enjoy camping in the woods. I can see how falling asleep by the fire with sounds of forest creatures or maybe a little brook is a peaceful and pleasant experience.
                    Ahhh, much serene! Very peace! Such nature! Wow!                            

Rwandan refugee camp
This is NOT what festival camping is like though, is it? Pretty sure the outdoor living arrangements at festivals are called "camping" because they closely resemble refugee camps not "outdoor explorer" camps.
Some random music festival camp

Festival camps are loud, dirty, and crowded. Sounds of nature are replaced instead with sounds of "human nature". Best case scenario - the people in the tent next to yours are engaging in a little pre-bedtime drunken fornication. Worst case scenario - someone is saying a very loud good bye to what they ate earlier that day. Ugh... No thanks!

Lack of Hygiene

Look people there is a huge difference between things that are just gross and things that are a health hazard. I have been a vet tech for over 10 years now. I've seen shit that you wouldn't wanna hear about. Literally! So believe me when I say that there are very few things at this point in my life that really gross me out, but festivals are one of those things. Here is a little visual illustration:


is a scary combination to someone even mildly versed in western medicine. Hmmm, do I want a slice of Hep. A or E. Coli with my festival grub? I think I'll pass.

Spiritual People

Oh, spiritual people - the bane of my existence. It's finally become culturally frowned upon in our little liberal bubble we call Boston to push your religious views on other people at social gatherings, but for whatever reason this only applies to organized religion. Everyone rolls their eyes at the dude passing out Jesus-related literature, but somehow spiritual people don't get the same response. Here is the part I hate the most. "Oh, you are an atheist? I am not religious either. I am spiritual" Guess what? To an atheist "religious" and "spiritual" is the same thing. Just instead of a government-sanctioned faith you decided to mix your own version of cool-aid which is most likely a combination of non-scientific aspects of astrology with a bastardized version of some eastern religion accompanied by a dash Grateful Dead lyrics and wee-bit of paganism crafted in a state of chemically induced "consciousness".


Do I think it's bullshit? Maybe, but I wouldn't have a chance to think this if you didn't decide to suddenly dump this insight onto me uninvited. Somehow back in the city conversations about "existence" are reserved for cocaine-driven after parties, so you can at least enjoy a show at a club in piece, but not at festivals. At festivals for whatever reason it is acceptable to latch on to a complete stranger like a human tick and try to infect them "knowledge".

Mud People
Mud People are the zombies of the festival society. Once someone becomes Mud People, their sole purpose in life is making more Mud People. Let's face it - the festivals are a filthy business. There usually are ample opportunities to get yourself dirty and few to get yourself clean. Baby wipes help when you are battling natural body perspiration and maybe some random dust but they are useless against mud. Basically once "bitten" by Mud People, a person has a tendency to just give up and give in. Now I am not some sort of a clean freak by any means, but I firmly believe that joining the race of Mud People should be voluntary. Instead all weekend you end up keeping an eye out for unsolicited bear hugs from mud-covered individuals. It's a great exercise if you are training for a zombie apocalypse, but slightly less pleasant if you are just want to relax and catch some music.

Have you ever seen a festival lineup with a generic big name at the top (usually Tipper or TPA) followed by a gazillion local DJs and producers? To me this spells "Nobody's Gettin Paid Festival". Look guys, I get it, I've been promoting shows for 5 years and I work for a festival too. The lack of starter capital is very much an issue with independent promoters. I have been in the position where you ask your friends to play your event for free because all your money is going to the headliner, and I have felt shitty about every single one of these times. At the same time though, whenever I see my artist friends advertise "deeply discounted tickets to a Touch Your Balls In The Woods Festival" on social media, I kinda feel sorry for them because at some point in time throughout their festival weekend they are gonna be wondering if they are gonna get paid for their set in money, or drugs, or groupies, or possibly breakfast deals. And that's fucked up!

Well, rants are fun when they are kept short and to the point, so I will pause this sprinkler of Haterade right here. I know many of you won't see eye to eye with me on this one, but it's not like you ever thought I'd care for your opinion anyway. Right??? :)

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