I recently hitched a ride with my girl H to see the Sweetlife Festival in DC. Solange was playing and since I missed an opportunity to see her at the Black Cat a few months ago (damn you weeknight shows!), I agreed to be the +1. From the second I said yes, all I could think about was, “What am I going to wear?” I knew that was the first sign that something was wrong. I ended up having a good time because of my friends and Solange but I would never go to this kind of festival again. Maybe I am old and cranky (ok, GUILTY), but I kind of hate outdoor music festivals. Here are a few reasons why.
1. Emphasis on fashion
I blame Coachella and their movie stars for starting this bullshit. Even Rolling Stone covers festival fashion. Because DC hates to be left behind on trends, there were so many pieces online about fashion at Sweetlife. Is was POURING RAIN and everyone was wasted. I did not look sexy in my poncho but I was freaked out that someone was going to take my picture and put me in a worst dressed blog post somewhere.
2. Shitty bands
For every Solange, there are five unknown bands that should remain as such and a few bigger bands you hate. There is no way an outdoor festival will be full of bands you like unless you hire all the bands yourself or you like crap. You also have to walk a mile in the heat in between bands.
3. Drunk people
SweetLife was not about the music, it was about drinking ten Bud Lime-arita tallboys and acting like a total dick. I saw so much sexual harassment it was unreal. Who would spend $75-150 to drink outdoors? I can do that for $6. Which leads to…
4. Fucking expensive
The reason I like Hopscotch so much is that it’s $120 for 3 FULL days of music and hundreds of bands from which to choose. Here are some ticket prices for other festivals: $120 (or, $50/day) for 3 days at Pitchfork (this isn’t SO bad but there’s no air conditioning; PASS); Bonnaroo is $270 for four days of camping (see #5); and Coachella STARTS at $350 but increases exponentially if you want to camp (AGAIN, ugh) or have transportation. And then there’s beer (the kind of affordable $6.75 craft beer at SweetLife was unusual, I think), food, water, hotel for multi-day festivals… I found cool infographic about the hidden cost of festivals here.
Camping is a bullshit activity. It’s dirty and you have to sleep on the ground. My sister- and brother-in-law invited us to go to FloydFest, but camping in Virginia in July is literally my nightmares come true. Plus if I can’t spend hours getting ready how am I going to make it onto any fashion blogs?
When you get to be a certain age, no amount of drinking can hide the fact that you are super uncomfortable. During just a few hours at SweetLife, we experienced the following weather: cloudy, overcast and a bit chilly; hot and sunny; drizzly and cool; humid and skin-sticky; and finally, pouring fucking rain. There is no way one outfit could be perfect for all this weather.
7. Too many of them
Just researching this I found “festivals” in the following cities: Nelsonville, OH; Ft. Lauderdale; Milwaukee, WI; Quincy, CA; Philly; San Francisco (disappointing lineup for one of the best cities EVER); Hershey Park, PA (New Kids! Jonas Brothers!); George, WA (TOBY KEITH, y’all!); and Seattle. At some point the word festival loses all meaning, right? Some of these are just a gathering of bands in a random spot in America.
All photos from The Commons on flickr.