A Look At Recent Festival Trends
The love of Dance Music, Music Festivals, and Festival Culture are at an all-time high. With them, so are annoying festival trends. Nearly every country has been enveloped by the “untz-untz“, with the remaining few following suit. Some would argue that the “EDM Bubble” burst around 2012, with others shouting another year. Honestly, I don’t think it ever burst, rather, it just morphed.
Prior to this, we didn’t really see much commercial EDM, and corporate music festivals weren’t yet a thing. Now, both of these run rampant, with the latter even permeating into some of the most underground communities. With the occurrence of all this, the addition of new, and casual fans alike, as well the breakdown of guiding principles like Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect, (otherwise known as P.L.U.R.), it was only a matter of time before we reached the point we’re at today.
Today, we take a look at recent festival trends, and their effect on every Millenials favorite past time, music festivals.
If you’ve been to a festival lately, and aren’t ten feet tall, I’m sure you’ve had a run-in with a totem, or 2. I’m not exactly sure how this trend started, but over the years we’ve seen their popularity grow. They range from funny, to mesmerizing, to downright crude. They are typically used to locate your crew from afar.
While totems are definitely a lifesaver when lost, they are quite the nuisance when you get stuck behind them. For the perfect example of this, check out the photo below. Could you imagine waiting all day to see your favorite artist, only to get stuck behind the house totem located on the right side of the photo? Ouch.
Seems like we’re not the only ones irked by this, as another writer created a whole post about “Totem Do’s & Don’ts“, dated 2016.
Fan Clacking. You know, this kind. There isn’t much to be said or argued about this one. We get it, raves are hot, fans help with that, but they are not musical instruments. This is similar to the whistling pandemic of years past. Luckily that died down, hopefully, this fan fiasco will too. If you’re trying to remix your favorite song, get a DAW, not a fan.
For more on fan etiquette, check out one raver’s recommendations here.
If you’ve been to any festival I’m you’ve been victimized by a “rave train”. This is best described as when a group of individuals latches onto each other in order to not lose one another and to make their way through crowds. It is pretty much a “congo line”. While the concept of this is beautiful, in practice, it is rather horrible. I’ve personally experienced, on multiple occasions, trains made up of 10+ individuals.
They usually have an attractive female or happy-go-lucky male at the front, which makes breaking into the crowd that much easier. The issue with these trains is that they never end, literally. If you happen to let them through, you usually end up being cut off from your own group and pushed back from the stage in order to make room for the influx of ravers. Due to this, I’ve seen on multiple occasions where people just add themselves to the back, further perpetuating this cycle. This is also a great way to move oneself through the crowd (haha).
This is a trend that can have whole books written about it. We’ve recently seen an influx of festivals add “special tiers” of tickets. While we get it, you’re adding extra features for those willing to pay more, but what’s the point? Shouldn’t your festival be amazing, for everyone? While the distinction between GA, and VIP areas I would say is needed, is it really necessary to have GA+, VIP+, Expedited Entry, etc.? I feel as if clean restrooms, timely lines, and breathing room is not an amenity, but a necessity in a modern-day music festival.
Another greedy business tactic we’ve seen run rampant is the banning of refillable water bottles, as well as items like camelbacks. Water is vital to not only the safety of attendees but to life itself. It seems as though festivals are trying to raise their profit margins by selling their 10$ single-use disposable bottles. This brings us to our next point.
Not Caring For Festival Grounds
It is amazing to me to think that there are whole festivals built around the concept of “leaving no trace”. I say this because you can go to any camping festival, or festival for that matter and find what seems like the exact opposite.
Gone are the days where we cared about the music, the experience, and the festival. One company has gone on the record to state that they have helped to divert “more than 16 million pounds of waste from landfills“, yikes. No one likes dancing in a pigsty, don’t even get us started on the safety hazards. Speaking of safety hazards…
We get it, it’s a music festival, but the lack of space at most of these events is quite unsettling. You have certain promoters who oversell their venues, packing as many attendees into the festival ground as possible. While you shouldn’t expect to have much of a bubble at a festival like EDC, not having the room to dance is ridiculous.
In regards to personal space, one aspect that might contribute to this is the trend of people deciding to sit down, both in groups, and alone, on packed dancefloors. When finding topics for this article, this is something that came up quite often from those who gave me their thoughts. It’s a music festival, dance. If you’re not trying to get your groove on, enjoy the show, or just be present, perhaps you should find your nearest viewing section so you don’t get trampled by the crowd or those who are passing by. Take your Kumbaya elsewhere.
Now back to the whole dancing thing. I don’t think most people would appreciate me punching the back of their head as I fist-pumped to the latest Hardwell drop. So what makes you think I want to be whipped by your hair as you headbang? Again, I get it’s a music festival, and with the recent increased popularity of bass music, this is inevitable. With that being said, I can’t help but think this could be alleviated if only more thought went into attendee’s well-being, and not ticket sales.
Moshing to Non-Mosh Music
I’m not sure if this is because fewer people are learning how to dance these days or just plain ignorance. This trend is ridiculous. Music festivals are about music, your friends, and the experience. Not putting the hurt on some random stranger. If you feel need to jump into the pit during a Yellow Claw, or Riot Ten set, feel free, but not to house or techno. For a perfect example of what I’m talking about, check out this failed attempt of moshing to Alesso at Lollapalooza. Did you peep the whistle?
Artists Playing It Safe
Performing at (Insert Festival Here) is the pinnacle of any DJ’s career. This is their time to shine and to show the crowd what they’re working with. Hearing ‘Despacito‘, ‘Gasolina‘ or any other radio hit is tiresome. Even more so when the 3 DJs before you played the same track. I know for a fact that Afrojack agrees.
One Reddit user stated it perfectly when he posted:
“…I find myself having the best time at shows when the artist plays music that I have never heard before”u/slosh_co
For a better example of this, look to Fisher. A talented DJ & Producer in his own right, his track ‘Losing It‘ has been overplayed at nearly every festival for over a year now. To all DJ’s: Give us your remix, play a mashup, do something. No shade to Fisher though, I’m sure he’s loving “Losing It” even all the way to the bank.
We all know them, they’re our friends, our Instagram followers & followees, even ourselves. With the recent importance that society has put on Social Media, looking cool is, well cool. Music festivals are the perfect places to do this. Music festivals and Raves are no longer places where we can seek refuge from the terrors of everyday life. Nor the people we encounter in it. Rather, they have become places to stunt and get your clout up. Oh yeah, there’s music too.
As I write this, one festival comes to mind: Coachella. Of course, this isn’t the only festival this takes place at, but it’s the most known. The trend of people attending festivals to just to say they did is not going away, and I honestly don’t think it ever will. I’ve stated on multiple occasions that I have no intentions of attending Coachella, but just as I would if Woodstock was still around, I would attend, just to say I did. This last point might seem a bit hypocritical, but that’s the world we live in.
Just like that, we’ve wrapped up 9 annoying festival trends we’d like to see go away. While I could write about many other pressing topics, I won’t. It was hard to keep this objective, and not let my personal feelings flood into this. I say this because there is a thin line between annoying festival trends and pet peeves.
A few of the things left out are the often annoying ‘ooh ooh‘ chants, as I personally know of numerous DJs and attendees who live off that type of energy and crowd interaction. In addition to this is Cleanliness, as we all have different standards. Don’t get me started on festival portapotties (VIP Anyone?). Whole essays can be written about rave clothing, or lack thereof, self-expression right? It will be interesting to see how CRSSD handles this last one.
On a different note, for a look back at trends that helped shape 2018 click here.