The festival experience

By Alex Fiore

From Woodstock in 1969 to the annual gathering of the masses in Grant Park for Lollapalooza, music festivals are nothing new.

Still, it seems the music festival is something music fans can be hesitant to attend. Between the costly ticket prices, lack of amenities while camping and potentially far distances to travel, the average concert-goer can be reluctant to make the commitment. With the release of lineups and tickets going on sale soon, I’m here to tell you it’s time to give up those antiquated notions and attend a festival this summer.

Festivals are more than just a series of concerts: It’s an experience.

What sets apart festivals from the average concert oftentimes has nothing to do with the music. The festival scene is unlike any other: when you attend a festival, you live in a self-sustained community for a weekend without a worry besides which band you’re going to see next.

The atmosphere is certainly a major reason why attending a festival is so exciting. There is a certain buzz in the air, a sense of anticipation and mystery that cannot be found at your standard concert.

Senior journalism major Jennings Anderson has attended festivals like Summercamp in Chillicothe, Ill. and Electric Forest in Mich. He considers a festival an opportunity to see friends.

“A lot of my friends go to different colleges, so it’s nice to meet up with each other,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he has also met several new friends by attending festivals.

“I would consider some of the kids from Electric Forest some of my best buds,” he said. “I’ve definitely made some lifelong friends.”

Amanda Attreau, senior communicative disorders major, said she factors in band lineup and travel cost when deciding whether or not to attend a festival.

“To go to a festival, I need to like at least one headliner, preferably two,” she said. “And three to five other bands.”

Plus, attending a festival can be an opportunity to see unknown artists who could end up being one of your favorite bands. It’s always exciting to say you got in on the ground floor with an artist. Lady Gaga played a 2007 set at Lollapalooza that was sparsely attended, and the Avett Brothers played a set at Summercamp last year that was incredible, despite most people being at other stages.

Go to a festival this summer; it will be well worth your while.