After a decade of going to festivals all over the country, from Vegoose to Wakarusa and from Lollapalooza to All Points West, I think Ive discovered the answer to a question thats been puzzling me since this past Bonnaroo. I now know why we continue to attend music festivals.
Take a moment to contemplate why we eagerly toss a good chunk of the rent on a chance to spend a sweaty weekend getting sunburned and dehydrated. On the surface its a chance to see the bands we love, the bands we hate, and the bands our friends wont stop talking about. The opportunity to take a vacation from our real lives, while an awesome soundtrack supports the experience, seems to be enough.
However, if you logically break down that experience, the entire notion of attending a festival becomes rather illogical. Think about it; if you attend any of the camping music festivals, youre basically paying $300 to spend the weekend in a third world country. You sleep among piles of trash and wait in long lines for necessities such as food, water, and ice. Later, youll find these necessities in unlimited amounts, although they have already been used and are in a brown pile next to your car. Whos going to walk 10 minutes to the nearest portable bathroom when they can shit on your tires or piss in gallon jugs?
If youre in a city, the experience is made only slightly better with the chance for a shower after 12 hours. The baffling part is that we happily accept this. I witnessed a friend of mine willingly wait two hours for a chance to pay for a shower at this years Bonnaroo. What did she get for her $20? Cold water in a flimsy trailer. As she told it, a stranger held the shower curtain while she soaped up, then they switched, military style. Either way, camping or not, between the lines to get in, and the variable security, youre treated like cattle in a feedlot.
Feature photo by Brad Bretz.