It is a sad realization that every year, the tickets to your favorite festival are bound to increase by a significant amount. On one hand, opting to buy the tickets might involve anything from relinquishing your firstborn to selling internal organs, but the money spent is done so under good faith that you have just guaranteed yourself one hell of a good time.
On the other hand, it might mean that you’re feeding the ever-growing EDM machine, responsible for the rampant overproduction that has become a staple of festivals everywhere. Extravagant stages, light shows that overwhelm the senses – these are just a few factors that contribute to the issue.
The growing expenses of producing a large scale festival are astronomical. Insomniac’s 2014 Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas cost $36 million to produce, a stark difference from the investment afforded to the event in its infancy. Despite being provided an elevated “experience” through an increased budget, production to this degree is not for the better.
Overproduction at festivals is detrimental to the scene as a whole because it puts an emphasis on exorbitance and distracts from the natural aesthetics of the environment. It also creates a distraction from interacting with the audience around you.
It's a near tragedy to witness hordes of people whip out their phones the moment a light show starts to ramp in intensity. The visuals are explicitly meant to augment the performance in creating an unforgettable moment, but that moment becomes muffled when the audience begins internalizing it behind a screen.
Overproduction is also obscenely abusive to the environment. For example, CO2 is used in the popular steam cannons that have become so iconic to the "elaborate" stage set up. EDC NY boasted about using 12,000 pounds of this greenhouse gas, literally injecting the atmosphere with more of what it doesn’t need. Though showering a crowd of thousands in confetti and streamers is nice for a second’s worth of a visual effect, it likely results in hours of added cleanup of the mounting trash that accumulates on festival grounds.
By continuing to escalate the degree of overproduction, festivals will eventually become obsolete. Soaring ticket prices will only make people more wary of how much they are investing in a few days’ worth of fun, and those who were once fans of the music will resort to another means of enjoying it. Festivals are merely a setting where live music is facilitated, and if it becomes more important than the music itself, many of us who stay true to the sounds will move towards hearing it in an uninfluenced environment, underground.
Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of EDM.com.
Cover photo credit: http://www.wallpho.com/