Yesterday, I went to Lollapalooza in Chicago, my very first music festival. It was terrific and here are my main takeaways.
- I used to be scared of going to festivals like this because of the potential for mosh pits and awkward interactions. I now realize that concert festivals are better for this anxiety as it allows for more open space and more improvisation. It creates a fun atmosphere where you can still feel spread out.
- If you must choose between eight concerts and one concert festival, go to the concert festival. The diversity of acts and artists create an experience worth more than eight concerts, and gives listeners a chance to discover new artists and experience the location your festival is in. Whether it is through local food joints, or just walking around in the city it helps give you a connection to a city you otherwise would not be completely familiar with.
- If you are going to a concert festival to only see artists you are already know than you are wasting your time. The less you know the better, as it allows you to not only experience different genres and artists you would not otherwise listen to, but also truly focus on the performance itself not so much a specific song. I went on a day where I knew almost none of the artists and the artists I did know I generally did not want to see (Jack White being the exception). However, I found artists and bands I loved watching, and seeing them as performers helped me appreciate their talents. One of the great things about a concert festival is you can go to a stage and if you realize you do not like the artist, you can simply leave and go to another stage. Take advantage of this and use it to discover new artists.
- Manchester Orchestra and Durand Jones & The Indications are two great bands I discovered through this improvisation, and both are wonderful. They are exceptionally different in style, but that is a good thing and goes to show the benefit of a concert festival. If you have not listened to either I highly recommend both bands.
- Jack White is a rockstar and I had no idea how great of an artist he is until I watched him live. I have a new appreciation for rock and roll as well, as it is a thrilling and pure form of music. It can spiral into genuine craziness and absurdity, or step back into grounded solitude. It is a fascinating genre that I hope to dedicate more time to in the future.
- If you go to a concert to film it, you should stay at home. The purpose of a concert is for you to interact with the performance, not for you phone to do that for you.
If you ever get the chance go to a concert festival, regardless of the name or the artists listed. You will be guaranteed to have a good time and discover one or two artists you had no knowledge of before.