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Fest-Case Scenario

Alabama Shakes
The Alabama Shakes perform at Bonnaroo 2012. Photo from Bonnaroo.com.

Music festivals proliferate and continue in popularity.

By Drew Carter, Junior, International Studies at the Croft Institute, University of Mississippi
From Woodstock in the 1960s, music festivals have been an integral element of youth culture. In the past few years, more festivals, featuring some of the most diverse and recognized—as well as up-and-coming—artists, have emerged around the world, providing youth with a weekend-long, massive party to accentuate the musical lineup.
Rave culture has risen to significant fame in recent years. The atmosphere of today’s music festivals mirrors the best facets of rave culture. Glow sticks, neon colors, puppets, light-up hula-hoops, animal hats and even tutus are the status quo for fashionable accessories.
Parallels between modern music festivals and Woodstock include diverse youth attendants and the most popular modern music. The major aspects that have changed are the music and the incredible light shows and stage effects.
When large groups of youth converge, however, narcotics and psychedelics follow. Music festivals are notorious for their excessive amount of drugs and alcohol, which has become a staple of the rave culture. Where drops of acid and marijuana dominated music festivals of the ‘60s, so do they today.

Covering Ground

Festivals bring youth together and provide them with a place to party and mingle. There are four main areas of most large festivals. There is always a mosh pit located immediately in front of the stage or DJ booth where people are pushed up close to each other and lots of pushing and shoving ensues. There is the outskirt of the crowd where there is more room for crazy dancing and mingling. Then, there is the camping area where the majority of the partying takes place, serving as a pregame for the festival events. Lastly, there is a tent area where attendees can purchase band merchandise, food or drinks. Most festivals also feature different carnival rides such as ferris wheels and various bouncy houses.

Woodstock’s spirit has mutated in today’s varied festivals, but much of its vibe lives on. Bonnaroo 2012.

“I met so many new people that I would consider friends at With Your Friends Fest in Nashville this past Halloween. My friends and I met a really cool group from Dallas, and they ended up staying with us at our hotel. When you rage all day and night with new groups of people, a connection is established and new friends are easily made,” says Zach Randall, an Ole Miss student from Greenville, North Carolina.
Some of the biggest international festivals, such as Tomorrowland (Belgium), Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Stereosonic (Australia) and Rock In Rio (Brazil) host famous international artists, DJs and bands.
Gathering of the Juggalos
Insane Clown Posse fans tailgate at the Gathering of the Juggalos.

However, the United States is the home to some of the more diverse music festivals. Coachella (California), Bonnaroo (Tennessee), Burning Man (Nevada), South By Southwest (Texas) and the Ultra Music Festival (Florida) are well populated festivals in the United States. Each festival brandishes a mix of indie, electronic and hip-hop artists on their lineup that draw big crowds. And then there’s always the Faygo-spewing, Insane Clown Posse-produced Gathering of the Juggalos.

A Spectacle

“With Your Friends Fest over Halloween weekend was absolutely everything I dreamed of,” Randall says. “Everyone was really dressed up and crazy. I got to experience two full days of my favorite DJs and electronic groups performing. Skrillex, the headliner, had the best set. There were cannons filled with fire, gas and glitter beneath his spaceship DJ booth that went off every time he dropped the bass. It was a spectacle.”
Going to music festivals is a timeless trend that will never be out of style. As long as there is youth, festivals will attract a crowd.
To discover the different festivals, visit FestivalFinder.com, which is specifically designed for advertising the 2,500 music festivals in the U.S. and Canada around the calendar. Once a festival is discovered, sites such as FestivalFling.com inform the masses on different features, lineups and advice on attending different festivals around the world.

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