I've been noticing the kids going to some music festivals. Whether it’s Lollahoopla, Cokesellar, or Governor’s Balls, they all miss that amazing spark. Festivals just aren’t what they used to be. The days of love, friendship, making friends, making love, they’re over! It’s sickening! You can’t even screw in the mud without getting a nasty fine. I conceived a child in the pond, who can say the same? I remember those days like it was yesterday–– When my friend Squeeze told me about Woodstock, I was initially hesitant. A festival in New York? Disgusting. Then, he told me it was upstate, away from the scary people, and I quickly obliged to go. Nowadays, festivals are in the big cities. Since when was music about the streets of the South Side of Chicago? Music is about nature, like Tampa, where my summer house is. I asked Squid how we’d get there, and he said our best bet was by foot. It was a trip from Cleveland, Ohio, but I knew we could do it. These days, nothing’s easier than calling an Uber right to the gates. Squeegee and I would have laughed if we saw that in our day. Mainly because “Uber” was Darryl with the pickup truck, who’d drop us at the gas station to pick up some Menthols for the road, then ask if we had prices when we got back in the car.
Where’s the experience these days? Squash and I found a Volkswagen on the side of the road, drove it all the way to 20 miles from the concert, all while constantly rubbing soap on the gas valve to stop it from leaking while we drove over the forest terrain. Nobody’s living. Nobody’s riding horseback to Woodstock anymore high off some hash from Nepal. Now it’s the dispensaries of California-thanks Governor Nuisance. Where’s the scariness of drugs anymore? Squarespace and I used to pop shrooms from the guru in the front row. There any gurus anymore? I’ve lost all faith in humanity.
The worst part about these festivals is that everybody knows who’s there. Before the opener is even finished, half the world knows some chump is at the concert because he plastered it all over his instaface story. Who the hell wants to see a picture of you and your friends looking great listening to artists you love in the summertime? Not me. I couldn’t care less about the music you listen to or the concerts you go to. Back in my day, we kept that all to ourselves. Honestly, the only people I ever told about going to Woodstock were just about everybody I’ve spoken to since.
I’ve never actually been to a festival since then, but that’s for good reason. Things just seem a little too corporate these days. I loved the set from the Grateful Dead all those years ago, but I hear those same chuckleheads are touring these days as Dead & Company. Excuse me? What ever happened to this world of ours that would cause the Dead to sell out like that, or even worse, for people to line up just so see a corporation play some rock songs. Folks, there’s gotta be something in the water! We used to live in a musical world free from the pressures of this capitalist cesspool. Long gone are the days of free love and free concerts. I wasn’t going to pay to get into Woodstock. Are you kidding me?! I went there to recharge my batteries after a long week at the ol’ law firm. It’s just pathetic that kids these days are paying millions just to watch that Feebee Rivers traipse around in a skeleton costume way before Halloween. It doesn’t get much scarier than that I tell you! I’m tired of all this false advertising. Take the Governor's Balls. I wouldn’t go to a music festival just to see some elected officials, and besides, my niece tells me this whole deal was a concert; there were no balls to be found anywhere. That’s just the start, because I literally fell off my high horse when they said there was nowhere to keep the carriage it was towing to Coach-ella. Who knew that wasn’t a caravan conference? People make a big fuss about this famous “Fyre Festival,” but I would think they got a few things right. It’s time for us to recapture the spirit that made music festivals so great. If I was designing a festival, I think less is more in terms of a plan. I would call up some buddies of mine and make a big ol’ list of our favorite rock’n’rollers, then give everyone a time and a place to come and listen to some music and take a little dope. I wouldn’t waste time scheduling shuttle runs or planning for a site with subway access. The only real transportation factor that matters when planning where to put a festival is setting it somewhere you gotta reach by walking uphill both ways.
Brendan Hegarty and Anthony Bonavita are both sophomores in the SFS studying CULP. Figures