Are musicians still the point of music festivals?

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Twenty One Pilots in KC. // Photo by Chris Ortiz

Once a new year dawns on all of us, music fans and concert goers tend to start seeing which of their favorite artists will grace their cities with tours. Some may be even looking for the occasional to attend.  However, to some, music festivals are not always about the music or who will be playing.

In a recent survey of 40 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 58 years old, almost a quarter of people (22.5%) said that they would buy tickets to regardless if who was going to be performing in the festival was announced before the tickets went on sale. “It is a chance to catch new artists before they become big and a chance to introduce myself to new music,” stated Madison, who is 20 years old living in Baldwin City, KS

“Yes! Cause who doesn’t love music in general?” asked Dashontey, 23 of Pittsburg, KS

But not everyone felt this way. About 12.5% of those asked the question said “Maybe”. The reasons being if the festival was well established already, and if the person knew that the festival had brought in acts that they liked in the past. “For me, the festival has to have a good track record and history before I would do that. A prime example of this would be the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. I’ve gone every year (for) close to 30 years now and typically have a ticket before anything is officially announced knowing it won’t matter. If a festival doesn’t have that kind of track record I would (put) off until at least an initial lineup was announced,” stated Jason who is 48 years old, of Lawrence, KS.

For a few of both of the yes and maybes, it was about more than just the music. “Short answer yes,” states Dalton, 34, of KCMO. “If it was something like a ‘rock’ festival without other features (food/entertainment/ect) that drew me in it would be a no from me until I knew (the) artist.”

“It would entirely depend on which festival it is, like if they have a reputation for having good lineups. I wouldn’t buy a ticket for a new festival right off the bat without a lineup, “ said Deegan, 23.

Yet, the remaining 65% of the people who were asked said no, and had a wide variety of reasons. “I wouldn’t because I can’ afford to spend money on a festival with the possibility that I may not even enjoy it” stated Andreanna, aged 19, a student at the University of Kansas. 

“It sounds like a good way to get ripped off. Isn’t that what the Fyre Fest thing did?” stated Shane Thirteen, aged 50. 

And for several of those asked, the Fyre Festival of 2017 was brought up as an example. This music festival, which was founded by Billy McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, was scheduled to take place on April 28–30 and May 5–7 in the Bahamas. This festival had promised attendees a luxury experience of a lifetime on top of the entertainment. Instead, what people got in exchange for their money was pre-packaged sandwiches and FEMA tents and no music.  The event was at first postponed to a later date, but was ultimately canceled. Lawsuits soon followed, as did a entire mess. 

The survey consisted of 22 males and 18 females being asked the same question of “would you buy tickets to a music festival before the lineup was announced?” “Why or why not?” first name and age. In total, six men and three women said yes that they would buy the tickets before the lineup was announced, and four males and one female said maybe. Outside of the Fyre Fest, other people who said no stated that they wanted to spend money on bands that they liked, and that the uncertainty of who would be performing was what bothered them the most.  Other outlying factors was the fact that music festivals are usually during the hottest part of the summer and the fact that the bands have smaller sets and don’t have their usual or preferred production to go along with it. What a person ends up with is seeing a “watered-down version of their ‘hits’ instead of a proper intimate performance where they are playing their best” stated Molly, 40. 

Yet the results speak for themselves, when a population of mostly men, ages ranging from 17-45, with the average range of 28, willing to attend a music festival, regardless of who is playing if the situation is right, with extras. 

Categories: Music