Now that festival season is in full swing, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it all. There are officially more music festivals than we can count on our hands, making one wonder if it's even worth it. And that's just what we think as festival-goers. What's it like to be the ones playing them?
For artists, festival season is like living in a never-ending boot camp as they trek through all the dirt, sweat, and booze from one city to the next. All of that nonstop performing can certainly take a toll, yet there are tons of artists who still heavily partake in the festival scene. With that in mind, in-between stops on the road, we talked to 14 musicians about why they still love music festivals.
Read all of their candid responses in the gallery, below. If you're wondering how to get through the season alive, take notes from these survival tips.
"[I love] the people and the fact that I get to meet all of them at once. It is exciting to play in cities we've never played in before [and] to meet new people and see how they feel about you."
"I think festivals are fun for audiences more so than for bands... It's more of a party vibe, especially if you can hang out and get to see other shows. I think that can be fun for bands, to see each other play and everybody convene in one place, so I think that's a really cool aspect of it. As a music fan, it's fun because you get to see a lot of your favorite bands and discover new ones that you didn't know about, depending on the curation of the festival."
"I [love] having different audiences and having different people exposed to my music. Exposure's a dirty word in the music industry. You want to be able to get paid for what you need, but honestly, artists still need exposure. They need for people to know who they are. So it's nice to be somewhere like in Boise or Austin, and then you have a different audience. And I've seen other bands, too, that's another magical thing—meeting new bands and seeing old friends."
"It's an opportunity to be introduced to a whole new group of people. You're performing for new folks, and you make new fans, and you get to see other bands at the same time which is also inspiring. It's always fun. I love playing festivals, and we're hoping to do a lot more this year as well."
Rituals of Mine
Terra Lopez: Being able to see the different lineups, I think, is really interesting. I personally don't go to festivals unless we're playing them 'cause I find them to be way too overwhelming, so I think that's kind of fun.
Dani Fernandez: Especially when you go to a festival where you're allowed to go backstage to see bigger acts 'cause then you're right there in front, and it's cool.
TL: I think festivals are rad because you get the crazy mixture of artists that you can't really get anywhere else.
"Performing at a music festival is a totally different experience than a normal show: We get to play to people who wouldn't hear of us or see us live otherwise, and it's often in a really beautiful or unusual setting. Also hanging around music festivals is a great way to learn about new music!"
"I love playing festivals because everyone there loves music and is looking for an experience outside of their normal day-to-day lives. Being an artist and creating that unique experience is something I love doing.”
“There's nothing like a quality, diverse music festival. The energy you get from having that many people in a field, is always breathtaking. The best part is how they can bring artists of all different genres together from rock to pop and dance to rap. They make for an extremely memorable experience.”
Hercules & Love Affair
“I love music festivals because you get a proper challenge in winning an audience over who may be attending for a totally different kind of music. When they showed up wanting to rock out to Eagles or death metal, and they end up shimmying to Hercules and Love Affair, it is quite gratifying.”
"Music festivals are always special, 'cause people get out of their everyday routine, and you can feel, even from on stage, how much they enjoy life. I love the energy!"
Julia Shapiro: It's really a friend thing.
Annie Truscott: We like to see our friends, we like all the free stuff.
Lydia Lund: Yeah, free stuff, friends... SXSW's like a summer camp where we get to see these friend bands in one spot at the same time. Usually, we'll see them a couple times throughout the year, but to have everyone together is...
JS: We all hang out and establish a friendship.
Adam Smith of Temples
"Music festivals have been around in one way or another since ancient times; they are an important part of culture. Music is inherently a communicative art form, and what better way to present music to interested listeners than with a wide variety of genres and sounds from all around the world, along with performance art, poetry and other creative pursuits? There can be a certain communal magic created when a mass of people congregate to observe and participate in music festivals, and that doesn't happen much in this age of technology, where people are generally separated from each other in their personal information landscapes."
“Festivals to me are all about the feeling of unity and the rush of energy that I'm getting from the huge crowd when I perform.”
Ben Simonetti: Being surrounded by thousands of other music lovers enjoying music together is a beautiful and inspirational experience.”
Niko Moon: Because of what festivals represent. The coming together of different artists and fans from all over the world to celebrate the love of music as collective. What’s more beautiful than that?