Raving itself is easy. Partying is always easy. But it’s the lead up to an event that can cause more stress than it’s intended to relieve. When you make the decision to attend a large music festival like EDC Las Vegas, you are committing yourself to a long weekend full of spending money and sleepless nights. In the end, we’ll all agree that it was worth it, but when you look at the individual pieces of planning it takes to actually get there, it’s mind-boggling how we all consider this our “hobby”. These are the unintended repercussions of attending a music festival:
1. Soaring Ticket Prices
Music Festivals are expensive. There’s no getting around, and that’s just for the tickets. Coachella, EDC, Ultra, Lollapalooza, all seem to have set the admission bar at around $400 dollars for a three or four day weekend of music, and that’s not including camping passes if those festivals allow it. Let’s look at European music festivals to really get a grasp on how much these things are costing. Exit festival in Serbia, which over the past decade has grown into one of Europe’s most popular festivals, is still the cheapest overall, with a daily cost of around $60. Compare that to nearly $130 per day for festivals like Glastonbury in England, and we start to see the absurdity with which we buy festival tickets. Is there a price we won’t spend? Look at the new Desert Trip Festival by Goldenvoice that has rock legends like Paul McCartney and The Who playing in October where there are different price tiers where the cheapest ticket BEGINS at $400. I know this type of festival is trying to attract an older and probably wealthier class of festival-goers, but the principle remains the same. We pay an arm and a leg to have fun.
2. Travel Expenses
Unless you’re lucky enough to live right near a venue, chances are you’re going to need a way to get there and a place to stay. And chances are that the local hotel chains and airfare providers know exactly why you’re going to Vegas Thursday-Saturday or need a room near the Atlanta Speedway in August. The two biggest electronic music festivals in America, EDC Las Vegas and Ultra Miami see skyrocketing AirBnB fare’s, increase in public transportation rates, or even forced cancellations to re-book places to stay for a higher price. The industries that support the music festival industry take advantage of those who are trying to relax and can cause some last minute frantic and frankly expensive purchases.
3. Getting Time off From Work
It seems that nobody I know has had this problem but me, but I know that is impossible. Some of us don’t work typical 9 to 5 Monday-Friday office jobs, and getting two straight days off on the opposite sides of the week can be hard. We all know that we need that extra day off after Sunday to get home safely and hopefully recover in time to be a good worker, but it’s easier said than done. I’ve had to request days off 6 months or more in advance to ensure that I could attend a music festival that I had already bought tickets for since they sell them so far in advance. It’s just an added stress that doesn’t make the planning process any easier.
4. Group Collaboration
This is potentially one of the most frustrating aspects of attending a large music festival. For those of you who go solo or roll in groups of two or three, you’re lucky. For those of you, like me, who have a typical rave posse, it is almost impossible to try and coordinate with your group beforehand or even during an event. Somebody fronted money for the hotel room, so we have to pay them back. Everybody has different work schedules, so not everyone can leave for the festival at the same time. The girls have to match their outfit colors perfectly and apply, then reapply glitter all over their body. We say let’s leave at 8. Then its 9. Then its 1030 and we’re finally getting into the uber. We have a great time, but it’s all business until we get inside. And then once you are inside, its hectic, chaotic, loud, and before you know it, you’ve been waiting at the water station for twenty minutes and your friend who left their phone in the car is no where to be found.
5. Physical Endurance
3-days of nonstop dancing and walking around will knock anyone down for the count. You can never really understand what you have to physically endure for a weekend long music festival unless you attend one, but I’ll try to break it down for you. You’re on your feet for nearly 36 straight hours, most likely standing in the same spot, elbow to elbow with the folks next you. In the hot sun, you become dehydrated very quickly, and will drink more water than ever before forcing you to walk in and out of crowds, to and from the water station. But that doesn’t help with the secondhand smoke or dirt or dust that inevitably find its way into your respiratory system and nasal cavities creating a perfect storm of post-festival sickness. There is no way to leave a weekend without having something wrong with you. Whether it be your extreme fatigue, gnarly sunburn, or runny nose, that next day of work is surely going to suck.
6. First Day Back to Work or School
For many reasons, this is the worst day of your life. Until after the next festival of course, but this is not a joking manner. You feel tired, guilty that you had so much fun while your coworkers weren’t, and you’re bound to have a feeling of disconnect with the world around you. You left the “real” world for a few days, and when you return to it, it can be very jarring. You’re probably not that productive at work, don’t want to study, and most likely use company time to buy your next tickets online. It’s not normally something people think about when attending these things until the end, but it is one of the worst repercussions when looking at the overall experience.
There’s is nothing quite like celebrating life, love, and music with your best friends at large-scale festival. Everybody said it was going to be fun, just nobody said it would be easy.