Insiders Assess the Pros And Cons with the Rise of Festivals
The festival circuit went from an emerging live entertainment format in the late 60s to a rite of passage for an entire generation of today's music fans. As part of an annual study of the electronic music industry, Kevin Watson reported that by 2013, U.S. EDM festivals were estimated to have increased in capacity by a staggering 50 percent annually. These remarkable increments may be coming with both advantages and disadvantages. A recent Fact Mag editorial gathered the opinions and perspectives of several tastemakers on some of these pros and cons, offering an inside look at the phenomenon of festival fever.
Dr. William Straw, a McGill University professor of communications studies, likened festivals to the video streaming platform Netflix in perhaps the piece's most poignant analogy. “People want to pay flat amounts to see a whole bunch of things," he pointed out. "Festivals can be curated in ways that give them local distinctiveness and connect them to other art forms. What’s positive is that it gets people hearing performers they wouldn’t normally hear if they just went to non-festival shows.”
FACT Mag poses pertinent questions on possible cons, "With so many multiplying across the cultural landscape, one important question to consider is whether there’s still something special about them: are festivals doing the good work of democratizing musical experiences? Or are they standardizing and regulating the creative terrain for everyone?"
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