...before it's even really begun. We investigate.
Festival season backlash is hardly new. We're pretty sure there's some sort of direct correlation between major, tabloid headline-making celebrities attending and the proverbial jumping of the shark of said festival that's just begging for an Excel spreadsheet. Eye roll-worthy social media updates in their various iterations throughout the years (MySpace! Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! Snapchat! Meerkat!) and festivalgoers' proclivity towards culturally appropriative gear are old news, too. As brilliantly covered by The Cut, we're beginning to wise up to FOMO (let's face it—a well-made bed causes as much envy as a weekend in Palm Springs). That, and we're just about as guilty as anyone when it comes to fervently covering festival style. So why does the beginning of the 2015 festival season feel especially... ugh?
We're not Hot Topic-tee wearing Almost Famous obsessives begging, 'but what about the music, man'
For starters, things will inevitably start to sour any time the events start to feel a whole lot more corporate frat party than music festival. In the New York Times' respective think piece on the issue, they covered the 'No-Chella' phenomenon, in which musicians and slashers alike eschew the actual festival in lieu of free booze and multi-brand pop-ups outside festival grounds. And like, fine. We're not Hot Topic-tee wearing Almost Famous obsessives begging, 'but what about the music, man'—these things require cash for big-time sponsors to survive. But in a similar slant to that of street style, we're pretty convinced that the collective push away from mammoth festivals with attendance in the hundreds of thousands is really due to the desire to return to the more personal, authentic and intimate.
When your stream is laden with snap after blurry snap of Drake on a massive screen, and surprise artist entrance humblebrags are as ubiquitous as avocado toast, the appeal fades. Fast. And when things feel mass without a hint of irony (think: Nike slides), they lose any sense of, well, cool. And much like street style, the notion of donning a costume-like approximation of what you think musical festivalgoers are 'supposed' to wear is about as inauthentic as it gets.
Even so, if you just can't go the entire summer without sweating it out in 90-degree-plus weather alongside thousands of strangers, fret not: there's a handful of mid-to-small-sized festivals that boast near-identical lineups (seeing Florence & the Machine is inevitable at some point) to the big ones across North America and Europe (see: Bestival, Isle of Wight, Outside Lands, Pemberton and many, many more). There's only a fraction of the requisite obnoxious day-drunk Snapchatting involved. Promise.