I promise that festivals aren’t the only thing I talk, but here’s a couple more things I want to say.
After my first festival experience last year, and my enjoyment of such, I started thinking about what it would take to get me to go to another one and how to make that call. So, here are my items for consideration.
The Bands: This, of course, is the most critical part. I am devising a points system for the Lollapalooza lineup. The lineup needs to amass 20 points for me to make the trip. Rumored headliner Green Day, who I think will do amazing things with the big space as well as putting on a truly remarkable show? 8 points. Chicago locals Company of Thieves, who are phenomenal live? 1. When the big lineup comes out, I tally up the points and figure out if it’s worth the trouble.
The Location: I like beds and the indoors. After a long day of standing outside, I want a shower and maybe a coffee in the AM. This rules out Bonnaroo, Coachella, and most English festivals, as these all require camping. (I would love to do the Bonnaroo VIP package where you get to stay in a tour bus.) In the points system, being near a hotel is +3. Requiring camping is -10. Minimum.
The Douche Factor: And now we get to the crux. I dislike when people are mean to other people, and I get enraged at things that are exclusive to be exclusive. This is why I will never, ever go to SXSW. The way the festival is organized, two hundred shows in teensy venues, the people who paid up to $800 for a badge or a wristband are not guaranteed entry. Hole is playing in a sports bar that seats 500. This plays into the festival’s “exclusivity for exclusivity’s sake.” People with badges get in first. Then locals with wristbands. Then anyone else who wants to pay. But supposing 700 people with badges show up? 200 people who paid for badges still won’t get to see Hole. And the wristbands can go eff themselves. What’s the point of that system other than being a dick? Let people who paid go to shows. Let people who won’t get in make other plans. Lots of bands are going to play to ten people while everyone tries to get into the Hole show. On the point system, let’s call this a -20. Me spending all of that money and then not getting to see the bands I want to see drops the whole concept way down.
Summary: I’m resigned to not going to any festivals other than Lollapalooza and maybe All Points West (which is a hassle to get to, but technically possible from my apartment) in my lifetime. Maybe someday, when I’m a rich and famous blogger, I’ll rent a house near Coachella or a tour bus at Bonnaroo. But it seems unlikely.