Whether streaming from your personal device on your morning commute or playing background music while winding down, it is easier than ever to experience new albums and playlists.
According to an article posted in Forbes, it was recorded in 2017 the average American listens to “slightly more than 32 hours a week” with live music sets only ranging from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
One major appeal of music festivals is the ability to spend all day experiencing and discovering new artists. Don’t like one? Instead of pressing next on your device, simply walk over to the next stage. After experiencing the magic of my first music festival (Bonnaroo 2018), I returned home excited to share my experience with others. I became incredibly heartbroken when sharing one of the greatest experiences of my life was met with negativity and misconceptions of what a festival looks like. Here are four of the most popular myths surrounding music festivals.
Myth 1: Hot weather.
Both festivals I attended took place outside in June and July. With Bonnaroo spread out on a field in Manchester, Tennessee, there are slim to no trees in the area; however, AC Entertainment carefully set up air conditioned tents, multiple clean drinking water stations, and even sent witty, yet effective text reminders to stay hydrated. Forecastle took place on the scenic riverwalk in Louisville, Kentucky, with the same perks, with added shade from trees, a sitting area by the river to dip your feet in, and extra shade from the interstate structure.
Myth 2: Young crowd.
While most media coverage focuses on capturing the younger crowd for whatever reasons, I met and experienced a beautiful variety of ages. Donna from Louisville, Kentucky, (pictured left) met her two friends on a free shuttle to a festival entrance over ten years ago. When I mentioned I was writing this article they all exclaimed, “Take our picture as proof!” She shared that she has been going to Forecastle since it started because of someone who lived down the road as her. “Yes there is a younger community that shows up, but in general there are organically age divided areas.” Worried about taking your children? Have no fear! Natural Life set up a “Parent Comfort Station” just for you.
Myth 3: Drunken drug filled experience.
If ruining your sobriety is a concern, take comfort in knowing there are more options than beers to sip on. There is all the free water you can drink, energy drinks and coffee stations, a sober community tent, and even “mocktail” options. Local Knoxville musician Kelsi Walker shared, “While some people may overdo it, the majority is there to embrace and welcome the strong sense of community that develops.”
Myth 4: Too expensive.
This year, general admission for 50+ performances across three days at Forecastle ranged from $149.50 to $199.50 and 150+ performances across four days at Bonnaroo $279 to $349 before shipping and fees. While it is challenging to catch every single performance, that still averages to under $10 a show. For comparison, general admission tickets at Thompson-Boling arena for Thomas Rhett range $30.25 to $90.25. The “magic” of music festivals is not founded on taking the perfect selfie with friends, safely walking around with a favorite beverage or showing off another wristband tanline. The magic is smiling at the person next to you as you both bob your head to a new song. The magic is seeing the artist whose music can instantly turn your day around. The magic is putting the device away, being present and listening the way artists’ dream of: together.
Born and raised in Knoxville, Jess Maples is a multimedia artist with a social worker’s heart. Visit www.jessmaples.photography to learn more and book.