With every passing year, it feels like the only surefire things are rising ticket prices and more and more music festivals. And while many of us have sworn to ourselves that festivalgoing is a lifestyle, not just a phase, the inexorable march of time takes no prisoners.
With luck, hopefully we’ll never grow up — but even then, here are some things that make us feel just a little too old for music festivals.
1. Getting to the rail is harder than getting to the festival
Remember when getting to the rail for our favorite DJs was top priority? Now the idea of fighting through the crowd to make it to the headbangers is exhausting. Let the kids fight for their spots up front; we’ll stay back where we can actually see the whole stage and not have to dodge flying elbows.
2. We have to eat more than once to survive the weekend
Gone are the days when a single grilled cheese could sustain us for three solid days of raving. Now we pack coolers, grills, sandwiches, or spend $15 per breath of air from the trendy food trucks. Worth it? Well, definitely better than hypoglycemia.
3. After parties? Oh god...
“Afters anyone? Afters?” used to be the first words out of our mouths after the last headliner. Now, the thought alone of a 4:00 AM club sets makes our our backs sore. But there’s a secret to making it to the afters: take a nap before going out for round two.
4. The last day of music gets harder and harder
Day three and four (or five?!) seems to get more difficult every year. In the early days, three or four days of nonstop music were simply too few. Now, the last hours of the final day feel like a slog, and maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to leave early and beat the crowd...
5. The trance and house stages just aren’t progressive enough
The tracks are too short, there are too many drops, and what is that? A trap beat? Disgraceful! Kids these days want nothing but bass and sub-bass. Where’s Sasha? Where’s John Digweed? Oh, they’re touring again? Okay, thank god.
6. VIP tickets are tempting for the bathrooms alone
What’s best, elevated viewing stage? Private drink tent? The chance to accidentally rub shoulders with headliners at the VIP tent? No, it’s definitely the mostly pristine, wait-free VIP bathrooms. Especially at the bigger festivals, those porta-potties make the VIP tiers feel pretty tantalizing.
7. We worry about rave girl outfits
Not because of what they’re wearing or how they’re wearing it (besides, our opinions don’t matter here) but because they might catch cold. Are pasties and a pashmina really warm enough once the sun goes down?
8. We need our glasses to read the lineup poster
Every year, electronic music festivals pack their rosters with more and more DJs, both large and small. In 2007, Tomorrowland had fewer than 100 DJs, while Tomorrowland 2019 featured more than 400 acts. This year’s installment is no slouch either, with around 600 performers scheduled.
9. The best events are ages 21+
Yes, we all have to start somewhere, and no, many of us didn’t wait until drinking age to start raving. But there’s something to be said for music festivals that are adults only; no one wants to see a literal baby at the psytrance stage. Age 16+ events are too high school, 18+ events are too fratty, but 21+ events? Perfect.
10. $10 showers? WORTH IT.
So. Worth it.
Brian Baker is a writer, photographer, and designer based out of St. Louis. You can find his portfolio here.