“You HAVE to come with me next time!” my college BFF slurred drunkenly over the phone from Little Rock, Arkansas. She was having a musical epiphany at a 3-day festival and called to let me hear some obscure band play over her iPhone.
No, actually, I don’t. I don’t want to go anywhere where I contract hepatitis from a porta potty.
The Internet has killed the retail music industry. Now, we must spend a gazillion dollars travelling to festivals to hear obscure genres like “sock puppet poon tang” and “tropical beaty bop-pop-a-roonie”
Music festivals aren’t for people who actually like music. They’re for people who want to get chemically annihilated in a humongous crowd while trawling for similarly wasted sexual partners. People who eschew silly amenities like food and water to camp out in the mud for a week. People who like to experience music as tiny insects a mile away, performing songs you have to watch on a Jumbotron. Sort of like watching them on YouTube, only far less comfortable.
Here are some of the music festivals I WON’T be going to. EVER.
After you sell a lung to pay the $1000 to get in, it’s only a 50 mile hike – in a 150-degree California desert sandstorm – to the festival entrance.
If you actually want to see a band, be prepared to stand for 12 hours in the blistering heat. Just be prepared for the Douche Brigade to come muscling their way to the front at the last minute. The 6-foot dude in a velvet patchwork top hat will plant himself right in front of you. Natch.
Coachella is a great place to feel body-shamed, in case you don’t already have that hangup. People train ALL YEAR for their “Coachella bodies” so they can wear as little clothing as possible. It’s crawling with skinny models dressed in Urban Outfitter’s finest. Fashion is foremost to these fringe-laden, hula-hooping, drugged-out hipsters.
If you do opt for clothing, Native American is de rigueur, which is French for “I look like an asshole.” You may not see any bands, but you’ll see oodles of molly-stoned millennials in Navajo Indian headdresses groping each other.
“The Burn,” as its cult devotees refer to it, is not really a music festival. It’s a week-long art festival which allegedly provides spiritual enlightenment in an obscure corner of the Nevada desert.
Event promoters describe it as a “radical experiment in self-expression,” but it’s 70,000 loonytunes camping out in the desert while engaged in Bacchanalian drinking, drugging and sex. Newbies are greeted with “WELCOME HOME!!” by seasoned burners with names like “Captain Pajama Pants.”
Burning Man is the antithesis to Coachella’s gym-honed perfection. Here you get leathery old bare-assed hippies, ravaged by time and psychotropic drugs. Middle-aged, middle class men in particular love to drop their inhibitions and their pants at Burning Man, so be prepared for a veritable cornucopia of naked testicles drooping like turkey wattles.
If you ARE dressed, you must be in a costume. Otherwise some self-righteous druggie perv with herpes on his lip, dressed as the big rat from Chuck E Cheese, will lecture you on participation.
I’d love to trip balls in the desert and dance around dressed in nothing but a python and duct tape over my nipples, but I have a life, a kid and I job. I can’t pencil in a trip to the desert to get so high I shit myself.
The grand finale of this hippie-flavored shindig is the burning of the actual 60-foot wooden Burning Man. I enjoy a good orgasm of flames and destruction as much as the next pyro, but I’m not interested in being asphyxiated while 70,000 frenzied stoners perform the hippie version of a Ku Klux Klan rally.
Not if I have to sign a waiver that reads:
“I acknowledge and fully understand that as a participant, I will be engaging in activities that involve risk of serious injury, including permanent disability and death.”
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL
If you’re wondering who the hell listens to that soulless, inhuman, repetitive nonsense known as “EDM” (electronic dance music), they’re all here.
Electric Daisy Carnival is a souped up, super-size rave, for people who don’t realize that raves have been over for two decades. It was cool when it was an “underground secret warehouse” culture, but like anything else that’s been commercialized, it’s a ferocious, brutal appropriation conveniently adapted for mass consumption. It’s rave folklore packaged for your 14-year-old kid.
Electric Daisy Carnival is a stage in a parking lot, full of kids with suckers in their mouths and gas masks on, getting obliterated. For three days, the same three minutes of music plays on repeat. Teeny boppers sporting knee-high fake fur and tutus have no clue what they’re listening to. All they care about is taking selfies as they flash peace signs and make duck faces.
And then there are the “Bros.” The frat boys who once inebriated themselves to Dave Matthews Band are now wearing neon tank tops with “TURN UP” in block letters and careening around to Deadmau5. The ‘roided up bro culture loves aggressively loud music they can break into gorilla-ish fights to.
And the line up? It sounds like porn. All these DJs have sex-toy names. Max Enforcer, Dirtyphonics, Gigamesh, Delta Heavy. I don’t want to listen to music made by people who sound like menacing dildos.
The EDM industry is a music industry cash cow. They’re repackaging old techno as something new and selling it to an audience who doesn’t know any better. Of course the music sounds good when you’ve lined your nasal passages with pure crystallized MDMA. I could play “Gangnam Style” in a room full of EDM fans blown up on Molly, and by the second verse I guarantee each and every one of them would be having the time of their lives. By the end of the song I could convince them it was actually a symbolic anthem regarding the struggle of a divided Korea.
You can do ingest all the drugs you want, but for fuck’s sake, don’t let those substances convince you that Electric Daisy Carnival is the event of a lifetime. You’re just ball-hair blasted and listening to a glorified Mrs. Pac-Man soundtrack.
Would you camp out in the woods at these events? What music festivals won’t you be attending?
When did I get so old that these festivals are no longer fun?
Talk to me. I’m listening.
Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so I can have friends without leaving the house.
Yeah..not interested in any of them. I like live music, but only if I’m comfortable and I get to sleep in a bed at night.
It would take me a month to recover from one of these. If I ever did.
As soon as this popped up in my email and I saw the title, my insides screamed at you “please say Coachella!” You did not disappoint (you never do.) This was great!
What? You mean you’re not working on your “Coachella body?”
Just make sure you buy enough tank tops from Anthropologie.
I have no problem with music festivals, as long as there are bands playing I want to see. They’re great for knocking 20 or 30 bands off your list of acts to catch.
As far as the jackasses and recreational pharmaceuticals, to each their own, and it’s easy enough to step around the bodies on the way to the next tent.
You, sir, have the stamina of a teenager! I can’t withstand week-long events like this. I’m too soft.
20 or 30 bands? That sounds exhausting. I need a nap just reading about it.
I, of course, have been to EDC. Several times in fact. 😝
And it’s never 150 for Coachella. 115, yes, but not 150.
And for some reason I think you’d really like burning man. Music. Technology. Freedom. And fire… that all screams Samara to me.
Of course you have been to EDC. That’s how you roll. 🙂
Oh, alright! I probably WOULD like Burning Man. The question is, would Burning Man like me??
Yes!! It’s a festival for everyone. From what I understand… I’ve never been. After 18 years in the desert I don’t often choose to spend time there anymore.
I’m not going there unless I have plenty of food and water and a comfy bed at night!
Wait. What am I saying? I’m not going to this!! Actually, my BFF’s daughter has been, several times.
She lives in Portland. Of course.
I went to a 3 day country music festival this past summer and if I hadn’t been with friends who have a hotel on wheels with every creature comfort you can imagine, I wouldn’t have gone. NO WAY would I use a porta potty with thousands and thousands of hot, sweaty, drunks! My daughter went to Coachella. She won’t go again. I think the people who put these 3 day drunk fests on are attempting to recreate Woodstock. Because that looked like so much fun… I’m just fucking old.
A hotel on wheels sounds about right. That’s what I would need! Porta potty? No way.
Where was the festival?
I’m old enough now where I enjoy purchasing a concert ticket that buys me a SEAT. Which I and the rest of the crowd respectfully sit in during the whole show. Maybe do a dance at the end. Otherwise, nope.
I’m with you, sister. On my ass, comfortable. Otherwise, a whole LOT of nope!
I would still go to a good rave. And true enough the smaller underground ones. The bigger ones, Sensation, Dance Valley are still okay in my book.
As for alternative I still like visiting Some of the festivals good thing here we do not have to sell a kidney to attend a weekend of new and upcoming artists with some rare old dudes to show the youth they still rock. At an average of 50 bucks a day we doing alright. Sleeping in a tent if a drunk hasn’t tripped over it and dragged behind his ass for a mile or two.
And reading what you wrote about some. Damn these are scary. Made me smile how you described them.
The more “alternative” and less commercial music festivals might be tolerable. As long as I can sleep in a bed in a hotel at night.
A good rave? Do they still have those?
Well there be hotels around haha… little princess.
And raves still exist if you know the scene a little. Small basements empty factory halls.
Yeah but more with the XTC. Been there done that and got wrecked.
BTW read you 2016 goals. go wing it.. Great words.
The Crow wants me to wing it!
I feel like I’ve been blessed by the Pope
I feel to old for the music festivals now. I did go to one that happens out here, to see Hozier, last summer, I did feel old, but he was worth it.
A friend of mine went to coachella and hated it.
Did you have to camp out, and fight to get food and water? Was it 200 degrees in the shade?
I can go to a music festival as long as I don’t risk death.
Haha, no I didn’t camp out, too old for that
You are not too old for anything. (I just read your last post, you!)
I’ll pass. Netflix is looking better all the time.
I LOVE Netflix. I recently got a Roku, so I may never leave the house.
I LOVE music, but hate people. So festivals are not for me. As a matter of fact, I don’t even go to stadium concerts. Too close to strangers. The smaller venues always lead to better acoustics and a much more personal experience. I love the idea of festivals, though. I wish I did not have a social anxiety that allowed me to enjoy that. It’s not the end of the world, though. Like you said, its nothing that I can’t watch on Youtube. – Jain
I love live music, and I also prefer small venues. Even then, I don’t care to be jostled all over the place. I like people, but they exhaust me – the mark of a true introvert.
Thanks for the morning smiles. And the reality check on these festivals!
You are quite welcome for the smiles!! Thanks for stopping in!
This was hilarious. I also imagine this: What IF these three festivals had a massive battle for crappy-dominance? I feel like the Burning Man group would win. What do you think?
They’re the craziest. They’ve been at this for YEARS.
I’m almost embarrassed to say I was at Woodstock, and truth be told, I remember very little of it (fortunately). We snuck in, it was muddy, and I wouldn’t do it again even if I was still 18 years old. And that was when it was still music!
Why would you be embarrassed by the coolest thing EVER?
Why wouldn’t you do it again? Too muddy? It looked like a mess. But a fantastic mess.
Mostly because apparently I’m. So. Old. And your followers are so…….not. It was a mess there. All the most awful things about camping (bugs, rain, assholes) but with great music. So what was an incredible adventure (hitch-hiked there with friends from Athens, Ohio), it is one I would never repeat. Looking back, the potential danger……(un)fortunately I never had children, so forbidding them to ever do something so stupid is aggravation I’ve avoided. Cause that would also have put me in a corner of “do as I say, not as I do (did)”.
My followers are all ages! Hey, I’m pushing 50!
We’re only as old as we pretend to be. Today I’m pretending to be 19. 🙂
I totally want to go to Coachella. In my mind, at least. The reality might be a nightmare for my pansy ass. Burning Man doesn’t interest me. Just seeing photos of it makes me feel dehydrated. EDM… I just can’t. I can’t listen to that stuff for 5 minutes. I don’t know which would be worse, my kids liking country music or EDM? Let’s hope I never have to find out…
Woodstock was amazing. But it was hard as hell. I felt like I’d been on an episode of Survivor and Survivor wasn’t even a show yet. My dream is to go to Bonaroo. I tried to convince my college girl friends to go two years ago. You can rent a really nice RV and they will set it up and maintain it for you. All you have to do is show up. It was the perfect plan until we realized that for the same amount of money we could all go to Bali. Sigh… the only music festival we do now is Music Midtown in Atlanta, which is a small two day festival. And there’s no camping. We stay at a Westin a few blocks away. And we buy VIP tickets so we don’t have to wait in line for the bathrooms. Apparently we’re old, wimpy assholes.
What do you mean, Woodstock was amazing? You realize I’m talking about the music festival and not the bird from Peanuts, right?
It was in 1969! You were -2 years old! How did you attend?
And by the way, VIP tickets are the way to go to these festivals. Especially Burning Man. For some reason, all the celebrities attend that one. And not just Charlie Sheen.
I always felt these festivals were about youth trying to define itself or have their own version of Woodstock. Of course, no matter how hard they try, they will never have that! Woodstock wasn’t even trying to have what they had. I can’t imagine going to this stuff now. Nope. You’re hilarious, Samara! xo
Thanks for saying that, Amy!
Yeah, I think these festivals are either for the young or those that don’t mind destroying tons of brain cells.
I need whatever brain cells I have left. xo
I got exhausted just reading about them. I think the time I learned I was too old for music festivals was when I purchased a ticket to Rockville and a week before it was time to go, opted out. That was just last year.
Where and what is Rockville/
Oh dear god, I’m so out of the loop…
3 day rock fest in Jacksonville. It’s sponsored by monster energy drink. I think they also do some rock shows up in the north east too, just called different names.
Jacksonville is where, in Florida? Three days of Monster Energy drink? In the heat?
Sounds like a stroke waiting to happen…
Yeah Florida. You trying to stalk me? It’s ok Florida is a big state, I’m not near Jax. 😉
I love you. But I hate Florida. I’ll stalk you online. It’s less humid. 😄
Yes, the humidity is a bitch. I’m all about the AC on most days.
Oh no. I don’t like camping or mud. Last time we went to Rock on the Range, we camped at a really upscale campground. Cleanest showers I’ve ever seen. 🙂
Also, I’m going to bring a six-pack of chapstick and sell it to the needy & desperate. Really, I made $10 last time.
Chapstick? Really? Cool!
Where is Rock on the Range?
Columbus, Ohio. It’s a 3-day heavy metal/hard rock festival. 🙂 Yeah, that chapstick money bought us like half of a meal. 🙂 Seriously, the food is crazy expensive.
Columbus is known for good music. My college BFF loves Two Cow Garage and Lydia Loveless- both bands out of Columbus. 🙂
Sweet. 🙂 Will have to check them out. I used to live in Columbus. I miss it.
I wish they’d had these when I was young, but now….pffft.
Pfffft indeed. I’d break my hip at one of these.
Too young for Woodstock, too old for these. We’re the forgotten generation.
Egads! Maybe in my younger days, but only if I had an RV with its own shower! We have Country Stampede here in Kansas, and I won’t even go to that, because it’s basically girls running around in cowboy boots, drunk, in as little clothing as possible, and guys trying to get on it, while smelling like they haven’t showered for a couple of weeks. Nasty.
That pretty much sums up EVERY musical festival. Minus the cowboy boots.
Ahhh, an RV with a shower. That’s the way to travel…
Music festivals I don’t want to go to: all of them.
I love people, but after a few hours I’m exhausted. They talk a lot, and you have to listen to everything they say.
There’s that and there’s also the part where they inevitably light up joints right beside you without asking if you’re okay with it (because obviously live music can’t be enjoyed without being accompanied by weed) and then you spend the next ten minutes not being able to breathe because pot smoke makes your throat close up but obviously if you ask them to go smoke somewhere else you’re just being a prudish bitch and overreacting because how could a natural substance ever possibly have harmful effects on anyone…
Not that I’m bitter or that this has ever happened to me before…at every concert/festival I’ve ever been to…
I got wicked stoned at a Pink Floyd concert and I didn’t even know what pot was.
I’ve heard polka festivals are making a comeback…
Shut the front door!
I’m IN! Let’s go together!
Yeahhhh, no. God invented flush toilets for a reason. I know that’s wrong on several levels, and I’m not religious at all, but, you get the picture. I use the bathroom; I flush it away and wash my dirty dick-beaters; it’s what I do. Although…., a porta-potty WAS a good private place to take a couple hits of weed in the old days. Or so I heard. With today’s intense weed, a person might forget why they were in there. “Wow, man, this is a tiny, stinky, little house in here. Or is it my own private space capsule? Sure smells bad for a space capsule.” You’re a riot as always, Samara.
Just reading the words “Porta potty” make me feel queasy. I’m with ya on the flush toilets.
The Burning Man began as a spiritual event that has been ravaged and turned into the crap that it is now. I haven’t gone but if it had kept it’s spirituality I would definitely give it a try. It is based on an ancient pagan ritual that has been ravaged and mercanized over the years. Truly a sad thing.
It was something small and beautiful when it first started.
Now, it’s a place for celebrities to be seen. Ugh.
The only thing I found enticing about this post was your writing! None of those events are my style, each sounded worse than the last (I’ve never been the ‘cool’ kid lol).
By the time I was “cool” I was too old to be recognized by anyone besides me as being “cool.”
I was always picked on, an easy target I guess. I was even picked on in confirmation classes at church! (Probably one reason I didn’t finish those classes and don’t believe in religion.) ::sigh:: Oh well, only other awesomely cool people get to bask in my coolness 😉 Welcome to the club! lol
I’ve been to a few music festivals, none of which will ring any bells with any other reader of your blog. However, while i know that I don’t like any musical genre enough to spend a weekend listening to it non-stop, a good group can make even Burning Man or Coachella tolerable.
By group I meant the group of people you go and hang out with, not a group that’s playing there.
I knew exactly what you meant, X. We’re simpatico that way. 🙂
Not simpatico enough to go with you to Burning Man.
All of these lose me at ‘camping’. There is no music I love enough. And I’ve seen only a coupla music things ever. Probably prefer orchestras live than bands. Dunno.
I don’t camp, either. I work my ass off so I don’t have to sleep in a tent. If my family and I are sleeping in a tent, something went horribly wrong. As far as I’m concerned, having a weak wifi signal is roughing it.
Ohhh lack of wifi is something which TOTALLY turns me off most ideas.
I once had a holiday (not a sleeping on the ground one – a perfectly nice one) and I was TORTURED because of crappy signal and missing my Muricans 😦 It was the HARDEST week ever!
Awww. I understand. It’s hard to be completely disconnected when we’re hard-wired hearts. xoxoox
Zackly 😦 It was horrid. I was desolate.
Right?! Why don’t you just demand I leave my lungs and kidneys at home while you’re at it.
If trees gave wifi the world would be saved. Too bad they only make oxygen, right?
Trees don’t give wifi?
Deep magic, but no cell-connection. Silly trees.
I love music, but not enough to contract an infection from the questionable foam they pipe into the dance tents at these festivals. And I don’t camp. I love the outdoors, but I will not sleep in a bag on the ground.
I saw news reports of these various festivals and thought the best thing about them was that they gathered all the types of lunatics I want nothing to do with and put them in one place, thus making it easy for me to avoid them.
EDM is anti-music. It’s an insult to musicians. Yet, it generates billions of $$$ every year. I don’t get it. I don’t WANT to get it.
EDM is a scam! I explained it. They’re all so high on MDMA they don’t know that they’re listening to garbage. It makes me SO SAD that my kid listens to Skrillex. Over The Beatles.
I can only pray that changes.
I am with you on this… now that I don’t do hallucinogens any more…
I don’t know about you, but I’m too old to hear colors and smell music…
I am too old to smell colors
Especially purple. Phew!
HA!… but pink is okay… just sayin’…
Thanks for the morning smiles. And the reality check on these festivals!
What? I thought Coachella was a webpage…like, with clothes for teenagers or something 😀
I have been a bit negligent in my WordPress writings and reading. So when your post appeared in my reader this morning over coffee a smile immediately crept on my face. You always inspire me to write and read more. I really really enjoy your writing, the way you tell a story, your humor, and truth. Thank you again for sharing!
And no I have zero desire to attend any of those mentioned music festivals. I saw the Grateful Dead, Lollapalooza, and WOMAD in the ’90’s. Those were my kind of music fests. I’m good.
I love to see live music, and outdoor shows are awesome! There’s something about listening to some of your favourite performers while you sit out under the stars or sunshine.
However, I wouldn’t want to stay at one. I’ve camped in sites outside the grounds, so I could go to my cozy tent without a zillion really high people around, and that was pretty perfect, since I like camping.
Yup. Probably won’t be going to any of these, though, at this stage in the game.