An initial list of bands have been confirmed for CMJs Music Marathon in New York City (October 21-25). Among them are Broken Social Scene, Deerhoof, They Might Be Giants, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Virgins, Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, A Place To Bury Strangers, Beach House, Cool Kids, Crystal Castles, Del McCoury Band, Donavon Frankenreiter, Gang Gang Dance, Jay Reatard, Lykke Li, Minus The Bear, Roisin Murphy, the Dears, Juliana Hatfield, Annuals and Yo Majesty.
There are some good bands playing this year. Also, this seems like a great mix of electric guitar based indie music as usual and more dancey and hip-hop focused artists.
Also of note is the panel discussions that will be taking place. If you’re a in a band, run a label or manage an artist, these could be really informative and worthwhile.
“Among the early confirmed panels are Essential Resources For Independent Labels, Internationally Licensing the Future, Artist Managers: The New Labels?, A New Media Fat Trimming Session and Bands As Brands.”
I probably will not get the chance to go to this as its in NYC, but I hope to hear about the panels in more detail after the event takes place.
August 14, 2008 1 Comment
So I finally found a music festival I’d be interested in attending. The name’s a little stupid…and its got a bunch of corporate sponsors but its also got a pretty good lineup of bands compared to the other festivals. It is the, Sasquatch Music Festival, May 24-26, in Washington State, at the Gorge amphitheater.
The lineup includes…The Cure, REM, The Breeders, The Flaming Lips, Mars Volta, Mike Patton, Steven Malkmus and The Jicks, Modest Mouse, Kinski, Built To Spill and a ton of others.
March 6, 2008 1 Comment
It’s another Day, and with another day comes the news that, (sarcasm)…Jack Johnson has been announced as the headliner for another music festival!! Yeahhhh!!! The music festival in question is the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Radiohead and Tom Petty are also headlining.
March 3, 2008 2 Comments
So it’s gearing up to be Music Festival Season in the US again. What this means, is if you’re a hardcore music fan you have to decide, (assuming you aren’t rich) which festival you are going to attend, if any at all. Having been to both Coachella and Bonnaroo I can attest to it being a completely kick ass time. The lineups when I went, (Coachella 2006 and Bonnaroo 2007) were exceptional, and a lot of the bands playing complemented each other in a certain way. I have come across many threads online of seasoned festival goers remarking that Bonnaroo 2007 was one of the best festivals they ever attended. After looking at some of the lineups for some of the 2008 incarnations of these festivals, things seem a little different…
Before I rant about that…I thought I’d try to understand this whole seemingly recent, (for the US) music festival trend/phenomenon. First off, Europe has had huge, annual music festivals since the late 60’s and early 70’s. Some of these include the Reading Festival in England, which is one of the biggest, (around 100,000 people) and others like the Roskilde Festival in Denmark (around 80,000). There are a slew of others…so many I couldn’t possibly name them all here, but most major European countries play host to an average of 5 to 10 festivals on a yearly basis. It seems that besides a few random occurrences such as Woodstock and a few others, music festivals were not very common in the United States, especially annual ones.
This all changed after the Coachella Music & Arts Festival debuted in April, 1999 in the Indio, California desert…well not exactly… The first Coachella was a decidedly alternative festival, which featured Beck as a headliner on the first day, and Rage Against The Machine headlining the 2nd day. Other bands such as Tool, Pavement, At The Drive In, Cornelius, Modest Mouse, Spirtualized, and many others rounded out an extremely great lineup. Tickets for the festival were priced at $50 per day or $90 for both days. Around 10,000 people showed up each day, dealt with the pretty intense heat, (assisted by promoter Goldenvoice supplying everyone with as many free water bottles as they needed) and enjoyed themselves. This is a far cry from what the festival would become years later.
Following the 2002 edition of Coachella its reputation and number of attendees continued to grow…so much so that in 2004, the festival experienced its first sell out, (50,000 tickets sold for each day). This was due in part to the Pixies reunion and Radiohead as headliners. The 2007 edition of the festival saw 100,000 attendees present for Rage Against The Machine’s reunion set. Admission costs continued to increase as well. Single day passes for 2008 are $90 and 3-day passes are $269, (not including service charges).
After such success, many other promoters started to take notice. A lot of other annual festivals started to spring up all over the US and continue to do so. A few others established themselves with their own identity and vibe, such as Bonnaroo in rural Manchester, TN. Bonnaroo featured everything from alternative rock, to folk singers with acoustic guitars, to jam bands who play all electronic instruments (STS9). Concerning Bonnaroo’s atmosphere; the festival prided itself on being environmentally friendly, allowing taping of any artist, having local art, musicians and even microbreweries represented at the festival. In sharp contrast, several other events were obviously just pure attempts at corporate money-making fests, (such as the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, MD and Vegoose in Las Vegas, NV) and don’t really represent any sort of culture or strive for higher ideals or even an individual style. These totally corporate driven festivals charge very high prices for water and food and typically book the most mainstream/safe bands, to guarantee that the organizers will make a pretty penny.
It recent years; some of the originators are starting to become guilty of the same decisions many of their extremely corporate competitors continue to make. Coachella, for example, (a pretty much decidedly alternative festival) have booked generic pop acts such as Madonna and other heavily mainstream acts as headliners in an attempt to draw more people. As a result, many cult bands and acts who have given the festival its good reputation are relegated to smaller stages and shorter set times. This was seen as a slap in the face to most fans of the festival.
Bonnaroo’s lineup this year has Pearl Jam and Metallica as headliners as well as Kanye West. I’m not trying to insult fans of these artists, but compared to what Bonnaroo fans have come to expect this isn’t really their style. As much as the organizers say in press releases and articles that they are trying to “be more diverse” it is hard not to feel like they are just trying to make more money (ticket prices for this years festival are significantly more than years past and capacity has been increased to 130,000 people).
To further frustrate hardcore festival goers, is the fact that many of the bands booked on one festival, (usually Coachella) play ALL of the remaining festivals, making the lineups and the experience almost identical. As is the case this year with, most notably, Jack Johnson headlining Coachella, Bonnaroo AND the new All Points West Festival!!
I’m happy with my past 2 festival experiences, but this year, due to cost, and in my opinion - crappy lineups, I dont think I will be attending any. The way things are going this year doesn’t look good for the future of American music festivals. They’re just getting too bloated. I haven’t lost hope yet though, there is always next year…
February 27, 2008 No Comments