Music Festivals: 4 Years In Review

Each and every music festival that I have been to has been different from the last (including ones like Coachella and Lollapalooza.) Every one of them was worth going to and every one of them has fond memories. I have spent the last few years surrounding myself with music, concerts, and fests, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Here’s to the next event!

Coachella

( 2010 – 2014 )

Indio, CA

Coachella By Night

thomashawk / Creative Commons

Coachella has been my top festival for years. It’s like entering an entire different world: Phones don’t work, everyone is super friendly, and there is a huge variety of music. Shit, I’ve been coming back for five years (sometimes twice in one year,) there’s gotta be some reason why I am obsessed.

Pros: Everything, especially the variety. I love being able to hop from one stage to the next and hearing entirely different music.

Cons: It’s super expensive. All together, you end up investing around $1,000 in just one weekend, but it’s the best money ever spent.

Lollapalooza

( 2011 – 2013 )

Chicago, IL

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Lollapaloozafest / Creative Commons

Lollapalooza will always have a special place in my heart because it’s my home festival. It’s crazy that one of Chicago’s most famous parks can turn into a giant party overnight. It’s a crazy feeling to be both in the center of the city and surrounded by music. I’ve always found that friends make this worth it, not really the music. Maybe I’m biased because it usually has the same lineup as Coachella (just three months after,) so to me, it’s more about experiencing the excitement with my friends from back home.

Pros: I can get to and from the festival from the comfort of my own bed, there is nothing quite like crashing into your own pillow fort at the end of a long day of dancing.

Cons: Honestly, if it were not in Chicago, I wouldn’t go. The best part of it is spending the weekend with my best friend. We go every year, and every year it’s amazing, but I mostly attribute that to being around her, not necessarily being at Lolla.

Electric Daisy Carnival

( 2011 – 2013 )

Las Vegas, NV

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DancingAstronaut / Creative Commons

EDC is totally different from any other festival experience I’ve had. It truly encapsulates the feeling of being in Vegas. The shows go from 7pm to 7am, which means you’re up all day and up all night. Who said NYC is the city that never sleeps?

Pros: I love Insomniac events. They have this thing down to a science. There are always cool rides and massive stages.

Cons: This may just be me, but I do not like that it’s held in the dark. As expected, there is no cell phone service, but if you get separated you’re fucked. There’s no way to find your friends (or even anyone you know) when it’s pitch black outside. Also, the long drive back to LA on monday morning brings new definition to FML.

Ultra Music Festival

( 2013 )

Miami, FL

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AdamJackson / Creative Commons

I’ve only been to Ultra once, and it was actually quite fun. It’s like Lolla in the sense that it’s in the middle of Miami. I was there over Spring Break with my older sister, so my parents comped everything, which was obviously amazing. We only went to two days of the festival because we had to fly back that Sunday, but we enjoyed those two days.

Pros: Having my sister there. We go to Lolla together sometimes too, but this was a totally new and cool experience. We had a really good time.

Cons: Obviously it was super muggy, which sucked, but what else is new when it comes to music festivals? It was also all ages. While I can appreciate that everybody wants to have the festival experience, kids still wearing braces while on a shit ton of drugs doesn’t really have much appeal.

Masquerade Motel

( 2013 )

Los Angeles, CA

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Samhodgkiss / Creative Commons

Ok, so this wasn’t like the others in the sense that it was long (it was only one night,) but it did have a bunch of different artists (Alesso, Zedd, and Swedish House Mafia.) It was one of the best shows of my life. It was held in a huge park in the center of LA and it had such a great environment because everyone there had the same mission: to make the most out of the last Swedish House Mafia show.

Pros: The SHM guys obviously pulled out all of the stops to appeal to their fans. They had such a great set, and Alesso and Zedd were absolute perfection.

Cons: I hated the lines to get in. Now, obviously no one actually likes lines, but it was so disorganized and people were so antsy it seemed almost dangerous. The cops circling overhead didn’t help that feeling either.

Nocturnal Wonderland

( 2013 )

San Bernadino, CA

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Jorgemezaphotos / Creative Commons

Nocturnal was interesting. I wasn’t there for all that much of the show because the priority was to get our artist in and out and have a good time together, so we were mostly drinking in the trailers. I did catch a bit of Fatboy Slim, which, when given the option, is something that should always be done.

Pros: It was a really cool venue and, like always, Insomniac really put effort into making it the “wonderland” that it was advertised to be. I also got to run into some friends that I hadn’t seen in years (including on since high school — small world, right?)

Cons: Nocturnal is legit in the middle of nowhere. There is one hotel that everyone stays at (though I don’t think most people put together that all of the artists were staying there too or it would have been a lot rowdier.) There was awkwardly a birthday party for a teenager going on in the lobby, I felt bad that that family had to deal with all the crazy people running around.

Hard Day of the Dead

( 2011- 2012 )

Los Angeles, CA

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Krysteeclark / Creative Commons

It was really convenient when HARD held this event at the Shrine Auditorium, which was literally five blocks away from my apartment (what up walking distance?!) It was still great when they moved it downtown though, they were able to add a lot more stages and acts, as well as making it a two-day event.

Pros: I have never been disappointed with the acts that HARD books for their events. They did a really good job of crowd management as far as separating big acts to different stages so it didn’t get super congested.

Cons: I am not a fan of themed events. People are fucked up enough at events, the last thing you need is to see someone in a terrifying Bane Mask (which, BTW was the most common, unoriginal costume there.) It was also rough getting in and out, but it was right next to a train stop back to Hollywood, so that was pleasant.

What do you think?