Monday, 27 June 2011

Music In General: Festivals


As we enter summer 2011, the music festivals begin. Is it really a shock that we have so many music festivals here on planet earth? Where in many affluent countries, one of the defining personalities in people, is music taste. We see no end of festivals happening every weekend, England, Scotland, Spain even Iceland have many thriving festivals that give people something to look forward to.

We look back at the late 60's and early 70's. We see some defining festival's, we have the infamous Woodstock, Isle of White and the Monterrey Pop Festival. These paved the way for what we now see as Glastonbury, Rock Werchter and Bonnaroo (among many other worldwide festivals).

Let's look at Glastonbury, the home of the Indie chick. Today's Glastonbury (Sunday) saw Beyonce take to the Pyramid Stage and finish the festival. This did come as a shock to me, how a festival which is renowned for it's closing artists, choose Beyonce. Take the past few years, with a very energetic performance by Blur and extremely guest driven performances by Gorillaz and Neil Young. A closing set needs to sum up the festival, it has to be epic. This was a shock to me, Beyonce.. Fucking Beyonce, what the actual fuck? If I wanted to see Beyonce, I'd watch her on TV instead of wasting 90 minutes being part of an audience to watch dancing that I cant even see.

I don't want to write too much on this, it means nothing to you or I. It's just getting my opinion across about the culture shift in music. Nothing lasts, everything changes.. people.. music. Festivals show the general change in music, in 2005/6 the music was led by Indie Rock bands such as Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs and Kasabian. Pop leads the way now. Lady Gaga has helped escalate this in many ways. We see dramatic changes in our youth. It's not good, I have to admit this. Nothing innovative has came along in a while, the pop music machine is in full effect with the general populous eating it up. Even out of those circles, nothing is happening on a major scale. 

This is why Pop artists are taking to the festival circuit. Like I said, in the past Indie Rock artists took charge, this is still seen but in minimal and indirect, almost laughable selections. I was at the Latitude Festival this year and I witnessed some amazing artists on the smaller stages, I watched Cat's Eyes, Braids and James Blake on these tiny stages, whilst KT Tunstall and Rumer took the main stage. I'm not complaining, but it must be frustrating for artists to play on these small stages when an artist without any musical integrity and skill takes to a main stage (no offence Rumer, but you were shit).

So yeah, we're spoilt for choice. Take time and research each festival, taking into consideration cost, travel and the line-up. Where Glastonbury used to be he best festival in the UK, it has now shifted towards Bestival, Latitude and even Reading/Leeds are superior in terms of line-up. Size doesn't matter, it's the line-up that makes it special for me. I saw Shonen Knife, King Creosote & Jon Hopkins, Warpaint, Toot's & The Maytals and The Antlers at my local festival held in Leicester, Summer Sundae.

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