Among some of the biggest changes to music festival is are the artists. Fashion and festival goers- whilst far more digital- still hold the hippy, carefree nature of the festival, just in their own, modern, Instagram friendly way. Artists, however, now are the best of the best that headline. Everyone from Kanye West to Ed Sheeran to the Red hot Chilli peppers, My Nu Leng and Fat Boy Slim whatever the genre of the festival, the biggest names will be headlining. And while the nature of the music festival was somewhat lost among all the glamour, there is something to be said for how the status of festivals now have the power to propel artists careers and is, the exposure and publicity that a festival can give artisits is second to none. The Radio 1 introducing stage at various festivals across the country have included artists Jack Garratt, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra, Bombay Bicycle Club, Little Simz, Blossoms, Loyle Carner, Slaves, Rosie Lowe, Glass Animals, Soak, Viola Beach, Catfish and the Bottlemen, James Bay, Royal Blood and CHVRCHES. Many artists who have gone on to headline the same festival that boosted their careers.

Beyond exposure for new artists, headlining a major festival is a career goal for many musicians.

But, from speaking to many festival-going-millennials, the artists themselves aren’t actually their favourite part of the experience. In fact, when propositioned with the question ‘What’s the best part of a festival and why do you go to festivals.’ Most of them had a similar response

 

“Escaping the real world with your gang.” – Ben, 21.

I think it’s easy to look at festivals in a superficial way because of the likes of Glastonbury and the amount of money that goes into the acts and production. “I love exploring the festivals, seeing all the different, crazy stages and the amount of effort that has gone into the production of the festival.” Said Tom, 19. And I think there’s something to be said for the way that young people enjoy festivals.

When we post video’s and pictures from festivals on social media it isn’t as much us saying ‘haha, look what I can afford, and you can’t’ or ‘pics or it didn’t happen.’ But instead the modern way of showing appreciation for the effort and work that’s gone into the #bestweekendofmylife.

More to the point and despite my, slightly pessimistic, expectations, not one person asked mentioned social media. In fact, here are some of my favourite responses:

“I become a ‘flaneuse’ of the modern festival, I watch, I absorb, I am. And finally, I am free.” Fran, 22

 

“A festival is like its own little world, everyone’s just there having a sick time. It’s so unlike normal life.” Sam, 31

 

“All of my friends are on the same level, and we don’t need to worry about how we’re going to get hope- it’s like living in a dreamland.”- Paige, 25

 

“The best part is the coming together of thousands of people all for the same reason.”-Tobias, 20

 

“You can meet like-minded people and discover new music, a chance to get away from reality”- Ilaria, 18

 

Without these social media active, festival lovers, things like introducing artists wouldn’t be half as successful, by sharing it with your friends, directly connecting with artists on social media it keeps both the festival and the performances alive long after the festival is over. The majority of music festival publicity is done through sharing and online discussion, primarily benefitting the festivals future.

Most people I spoke to said that yes, the use social media before, during and after festivals, but to show their appreciation for the production, and the display and share the buzz of their experiences. If anything, benefitting the festival and the artists. Without the use of social media many artists wouldn’t have even been discovered and the mass audience at festivals and their activity online allows free endorsement for the festival and the artists. Publicity through fans is free and also more wholesome, real. Publicity through advertising or bigger sources can feel false or forced.

There are too many hashtags and too many videos on twitter in which all you can hear is the scream of the videographer drunk singing. But social media publicity at festivals is actually beneficial to the festival’s future success. Yes, some of the responses were a bit soppy and some may say pretentious, but at least they sort of reflect the traditional festi values.

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