Primavera Sound — held annually in Barcelona since 2001 — doesn’t have much use for filler. In this respect, it’s the opposite of your average American music festival. The abundance of mediocre acts to bulk out lineups has become a problem on the US festival circuit as the industry has ballooned and bookings have begun to shift in order to attract the widest possible group of popular music consumers. Once a destination-oriented industry, the American music festival has become a regional concern. In towns you’ve never heard of across America, there are festivals with a few years under their belts, proudly boasting artisanal food stands and The Killers headlining every …Read More
Music festivals. How could an innocuous phrase that essentially boils down to “a collection of concerts” inspire such polarizing opinions in music fans? Much of what differentiates festival culture from show-going culture has little to do with the music itself. Live music remains one of the few communal experiences in our digitally-minded world. What the rise of national music festivals has shown us is that we have different views about what constitutes ideal conditions for a shared musical experience. It’s a “duh” kind of statement, but go to a festival — any festival — and watch it play out. These differences are never more apparent than when you shove people of all different ages and lifestyles into a fenced-in park for three days of extreme heat and $6 bottled water.