Commentary: Stop it with the festivals

Allison Lavelle, LV Life Editor
Allison Lavelle, LV Life Editor

Now that Coachella and Stagecoach have set beneath the Indio sun, music festival warriors are returning from the desert with tanned skin and stories that make everyone they talk to wish they had gone.

Tales of epic performances and dance battles cause imaginations to run wild and music lovers to curse in regret for not going.

On the surface, the concept of a music festival seems delightful.

What music fan would not want to see dozens of their favorite bands in one weekend, and all in one place? All the hard work is done and everyone is there; all that is needed is a ticket, a place to sleep and a ride to the outskirts of Southern California.

However, the truth about this type of event is plain and simple: music festivals are miserable.

A three-day pass can cost over $300, and with food and lodgings added in the amount spent can double.

The entire weekend is sunny with a high of 95 degrees, no outside beverages are allowed and water bottles cost $5 each.

It is practically impossible to get anywhere close to a stage because diehard fans have been camping out in front of them all day.

There are teenagers strung out on God-knows-what who are lying on the grass in the middle of a pathway claiming that they can really “feel” the music.

Joe Shmoe the college student drank four too many Bud Lights in the beer garden while waiting for the At The Drive-In reunion, and now he is tossing his cookies in the only port-o-potty that is not already clogged.

Rain started to pour down in the middle of the day, the hospitality tent is all out of trash bag ponchos and the entire festival ground has become a mosh pit of mud and broken flip flops.

Not to mention walking around for three days straight causes extreme lower back, knee and foot pain.

The general experience is uncomfortable, sticky, foul-smelling and expensive.

Is the live music really worth putting up with annoying people, inflated prices and heat stroke?

No, it is not.

Luckily, not all music festivals are this offensive.

Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass are in San Francisco where the summers are mild and the breeze is cool. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass also has free admission.

Summerfest, an 11-day-long festival in Milwaukee during late June and early July, is right next Lake Michigan and each show is free with a day’s admission, which costs anywhere from eight to $15. The days are warm and the nights are perfect; and although hundreds of thousands of people go to the festival each year, the grounds are large enough for everyone to be comfortable.

Unfortunately, these pleasantries are hard to find in Southern California festivals, whose negatives outweigh the positives.

Unless a music fan is also into large crowds, unyielding heat and overpriced concessions, they will be sorely disappointed by the experience.

Allison Lavelle, a senior communications major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by email at

Latest Stories

Related articles

Coachella goes back to alternative roots

The indie resurgence was a success at the 2024 Coachella music festival. The two-weekend three-day event took place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio with the first weekend kick-off on April 12 through April 14 and again on April 19 through April 21.

Festival fashion becomes creative and fun

With Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2023 having kicked off the festival season, people can expect to see unique and new fashion trends. Each festival season brings a trend that becomes all the rage. Some may recycle an old trend while adding a modern twist. 

Coachella is risking lives for entertainment

After a two-year hiatus, Coachella – one of the most popular arts and music festivals in the United States – will return this April and be held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, with a catch. There will be no COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Commentary: Coming to terms with the new normal

I flew back home planning only to stay for the duration of spring break then return to campus to finish off the spring semester.