COLUMN: Music festivals not as sexy as they seem
Music festivals sound attractive, until you arrive. When I first thought about going to a music festival, all I considered was that a handful of great bands would all be in the same place. Festivals, like Austin City Limits, have unappealing aspects as well.
There is pain: You will get sunburns. You will get blisters. You will get dehydrated. You will get mosquito bites. No amount of water, sunscreen or comfortable shoes can stop the inevitable pain.
There is sweat: With temperatures in Austin, TX in the mid-to-high 80s and no breeze on the first day of ACL, the heat was brutal. My body was so sweaty, someone could have run a Slip ‘n Slide on my back. Meanwhile, all of those cute festival clothes you picked out weeks in advance will end up with pit stains the size of Africa.
There are hipsters: I used to fancy myself as slightly hipsterish until day one of ACL. If I have to see another ironic T-shirt that looks like it came from Goodwill but probably actually came from American Apparel or another studded fanny pack I might scream. There is such a thing as too much irony and ACL has surpassed its limit.
Forget about getting close to stages: You’re not going to get close to any of the headlining performances; you will watch the performances on the screens. Even if you stay at the same stage since noon, to be front and center for The Black Keys set at 8:30 p.m., you will still be ten rows back and behind a ridiculously tall man when the band goes on.
There is no toilet paper: The small, portable bathrooms will run out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer almost as soon as the day begins. The less said about the state of the restrooms, the better.
Everything is expensive: I would need to take out a student loan just to afford beer at this festival. At $7 for 12 ounces of beer, prices were steep and with inflation and high demand, the cost will probably be up to $10 next year.
As soon as Florence Welch sang the opening bars to “Dogs Days are Over” and after jamming to the brilliant saxophone solo in the middle of M83’s “Midnight City,” all was forgiven. ACL ran me ragged on day one, but watching The Black Keys play their hearts out to hundreds of thousands of people made it all worth it.
Carmen Forman is a journalism junior.