Hear me out Opinions

Hear me out: music festivals suck

Before you hate me, I do love music.

I remember a time when I used to romanticize going to Coachella wearing a fringe vest and cowboy boots. It was 2014 and Vanessa Hudgens was considered the “queen of music Coachella” because of her (now viewed as controversial) “boho-chic” looks. 

With so many celebrities attending, music festivals seemed like the ultimate event; not only could you see your favourite artists on stage, you also had the chance of running into an A-list celebrity enjoying the music just like you.

When YouTubers started making content around Coachella, it opened the doors to the exclusivity of the event and its popularity boomed because people finally thought, “this is accessible for everyone.”

What my naive teenage self did not realize was that buying the cheaper package — which would still break the bank — would still not give me access to walk among the Kardashians of this world freely.

However, “I’m going to Coachella” became the new “I’m going to Disney World” for teens and young adults.

In early 2017 it was revealed that Coachella co-owner Philip Anschutz was found to have donated large amounts of money to anti-LGBTQ organizations, that the #CancelCoachella wave started.

At the same time, YouTubers also gave us a glimpse of the not-so glamorous aspects of music festivals.

Lately, if I do hear about Coachella on social media, it’s to criticize it.

As I’ve come to learn more about the reality of music festivals, I realize that maybe Coachella is not the best representation of what they have to offer, but I’m still convinced that my arguments can stand for most music festivals that are somewhat affordable.

When I think about music festivals, I think of music I don’t listen to. As an unashamed listener of popular music, sub-categorized by myself as “sad girl music,” I can never claim to know more than two or three artists on a roster.

Therefore, I can never relate to those infamous 🔥🔥🔥 posts on my Facebook friends’ profiles.

Since my friends tend to go to EDM festivals most of the time, the grandma in me always thinks the music will be too loud, and I have to kindly decline.

Noise aside, I can’t help but think of how hot, dirty and sweaty the crowds watching the shows are. 

Which brings me to my next point: crowds.

The main difference between music festivals and regular concerts is that most festivals take place outside.

In my mind this should sound more appealing than a concert, but the reality is the videos I’ve seen on social media only stress me out, even just watching through a screen.

With that being said, standing at 5’3” does not make me the best candidate for a good concert-viewing experience. And seeing the amount of people sitting on their friends’ shoulders makes me boil inside for the person behind them.

Finally, from what I see on my Instagram feed, everyone’s Osheaga, ÎleSoniq and Picnik Électronik posts seem to have this other thing in common: the fashion leaves much to be desired.

With the conditions I’ve outlined, you’d think that someone going to a music festival would make sure to wear a comfortable outfit. I’m tired of seeing crop tops with wrap-around strings paired with boot-leg pants and cowboy hats.

On top of having to tolerate your uncomfortable outfit, if you want to give your feet a break, you have to sit on the ground.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not flexible enough to sit with my legs crossed without it hurting too much.

And that’s if someone hasn’t stepped on my fingers yet. Or worse, spilled their beer on me.

So, why are we still doing music festivals?

The only redeeming thing about them is the opportunity to see multiple artists at once. But even at that, is it really worth it if I’ll have the worst time there?


Mixtape: Coachella 2012 Preview

If you are looking for a list of what needs to be seen at this year’s edition of Coachella and you’re thinking The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine, and Justice, well, you’re going to have to look it up online. The “modern-day Woodstock” boasts an incredible roster year after year and Coachella 2012 is no different. However, a lot of the bands you should be giving a portion of your day to get overshadowed by repetitive headliners that are thrown in your face from all angles. With the exception of the almighty Radiohead, if one is to migrate to beautiful California for the two weekends-long festival, don’t get caught up in trying to catch the bigger artists. I’m not saying you should avoid all headliners (Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg together—what?!), but you should pay attention to the bands in the smaller print. This is not your average mixtape. And if you are planning to catch David Guetta’s set, there’s no point in reading the rest of this and, quite frankly, I would not want you to either.

Listen to the mixtape here:

SIDE A: The mandatory necessities

1. “Lotus Flower (SBTRKT Remix)” – Radiohead – Single
2. “Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang” – Dr. Dre (feat. Snoop Dogg) – Nuthin’ But a “G” Thang
3. “New Noise” – Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come
4. “Sleepwalk Capsules” – At The Drive-In – Relationship of Command
5. “Family Tree” – Black Lips – Arabia Mountain
6. “Play Your Part (Pt. 1)” – Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
7. “Midnight City” – M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
8. “Nantes” – Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
9. “Common People” – Pulp – Different Class
10. “Perth” – Bon Iver – Bon Iver

SIDE B: Other necessities and the lesser known

11. “Rubber” – Yuck – Yuck
12. “My Ma” – GIRLS – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
13. “Saw You First” – GIVERS – In Light
14. “Human Error” – We Were Promised Jetpacks – In the Pit of the Stomach
15. “Endless Blue” – The Horrors – Skying
16. “Peso” – A$AP Rocky – LiveLoveA$AP
17. “Do The Astral Plane” – Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma
18. “Never Fade Away” – Spector – Single
19. “Last Known Surroundings” – Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
20. “Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls” – Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Yanqui X.U.O. Part 2 of 2


Top Ten : Outdoor music festivals

If you’re like me, you’re already dreaming about summertime, and outdoor festivals go hand in hand with my season of preference.

10. Osheaga Music and Arts Festival; Montreal, Quebec, Canada
– Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of our own Osheaga Festival right here in Montreal. Held every year in Jean Drapeau Park on beautiful Ste-Hélène Island, Osheaga has been bringing together musicians, artists, and music and art lovers since 2006. Although the annual summer festie doesn’t boast on-site camping, festival-goers build a sense of camaraderie through the commute from downtown to the park via shuttle, bicycle or footmobile.

9. Exit Festival; Novi Sad, Serbia – Exit Festival keeps people up all night long with big name acts like Iggy Pop, the Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, M.I.A., Deadmau5, Portishead, Wu-Tang Clan, Bad Religion and tons more. What makes Exit different from other festivals? Firstly, it began as a student-initiated project against the Milosevic regime in 2000. Secondly, it has been hosted at the beautiful Petrovaradin fortress since 2001, and finally, the music doesn’t start until late at night, with musicians performing until dawn.

8. Rock al Parque; Bogota, Colombia
– As one of the longest established festivals on this side of the Greenwich Meridian, this Colombian festival has been, well, rocking the park for 17 years. With that kind of longevity, you know it’s got to be good. The festival’s international and inter-genre flair sets it apart from other festivals that boast more mainstream or specialized genres. The three-day-long festie has hosted musicians from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Peru, Jamaica, El Salvador, Spain, the U.S. and plenty more.

7. SXSW Music Conference and Festival; Austin, Texas, U.S.
– If finding new, emerging and upcoming music is your schtick, then SXSW is, hands down, the festival for you. For five days, over 2,000 musicians take over practically every venue available in Austin to showcase their talents for the festival’s 45,000 patrons, 2,941 media members, as well as an undisclosed number of industry bigwigs. In addition to non-stop live music, SXSW also holds musician workshops and conferences, and features big name speakers like Nas and Bruce Springsteen.

6. Big Day Out; Australia and New Zealand – This multi-city festival goes on tour every January, hitting up Auckland, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth between the last week of January and the first week of February. Taking place in prime southern hemisphere summertime, the festival secures huge acts like Kanye West and Soundgarden, who, no doubt, are drawn to the festival to escape the cold and soak up some of that warm, golden Australian sun with up to 50,000 festival attendees.

5. Burning Man; Black Rock Desert, Nevada, U.S. – Burning Man is the most elusive festival in North America—maybe even the world. This week-long arid experience is so much more than a music festival, with many attendees left unable to explain their time at Burning Man. It’s more like an experiment that happens to include some amazing music and art. The temporary community is built upon “radical self-expression and radical self-reliance” with each year dedicated to a different theme (2011’s was “Rites of Passage”). There are no rules, and money is of no value. At the end of the festival, a giant effigy of a man is burned to the ground, hence the name of the festival.

4. Sasquatch! Music Festival; George, Washington, U.S. – Held every year in the awe-inspiring Gorge Amphitheatre on the Columbia River, Sasquatch! Music Festival’s four stages are graced by some of the biggest names in music. Foo Fighters, Death From Above 1979, Modest Mouse, the Flaming Lips, Kings of Leon, Nine Inch Nails and countless others have played during the four-day long festival, but tons of indie bands get their beginnings there, too.

3. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival; Indio, California, U.S.– As one of the largest outdoor music festivals in North America, you’d better believe Coachella is a damn good time. While camping at the festival is the most popular (and arguably the best) way to experience Coachella, those who can’t live without their hair straighteners and who prefer to have daily showers also have the option of shuttling into the festival grounds from nearby Los Angeles. The festival is held over two weekends every April, so if one weekend doesn’t work for you, then you can catch the same acts the next weekend—or why not go to both?

2. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival; Manchester, Tennessee, U.S. – So, I’m a little biased in placing this festival so high on the list—after all, I did meet my significant other here and if you ask me, I’ll tell you that my time at ‘Roo changed my life. Literally. Located in the heart of Tennessee, a mere 90 minutes from Nashville, Bonnaroo is an epic experience of music, art and community. With 80,000 campers, over 100 acts, including stand-up comedians, on more than 10 stages spread over 700 acres of lush Tennessee farmland, Bonnaroo will soon become your gospel.

1. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts;  Pilton, Somerset, U.K.– Although the beloved Glastonbury is not happening this year, its triumphant return is scheduled for 2013, and rightly so. As the largest outdoor music festival in the world, this festival has been rocking the masses since 1970, the day after Jimi Hendrix died. With over 40 years in the game, dozens of stages and upwards of 140,000 attendees, Glastonbury is the festival of all music festivals.

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