Students go to great lengths for festival music
by Paige Carmichael
April is a month known for blooming flowers, gorgeous spring weather and tweeting birds waking from a long, winter slumber. However, to many college students, April is not so peaceful.
Many music festivals and raves are in full swing, including the most famous ones like Coachella, Stagecoach and Ultra. Just in time for spring break, these music festivals are not even close to your average concert; they are a three-day weekend event that require immense planning and a pretty penny as well.
Going to music festivals has developed into a hobby for students lkike junior communications major Derrick Ly. He guesses that he has attended fifteen festivals. Having been to so many, Ly knows how to prepare financially by prioritizing his spending.
"I usually spend about 200 dollars on a ticket," Ly said, "So I am pretty much eating cup noodles for days after I purchase them."
However, for students like junior Kirsten Enlow and senior Sarah Buckley, the hobby of attending these festivals has turned into a part-time job. No longer being able to dress in outrageous costumes and let loose, Enlow and Buckley must act professional at these events as it is a part of what they are being paid to do.
"I work for an EDM [Electric Dance Music] booking agency and officially don't pay to attend festivals anymore." Enlow said, "I now go with artist passes every time, but it is great because it's what I love to do and it just turned into a career."
Not having to pay for a ticket is every festival-goer's dream, however now students do not have to pay the full price for tickets initially: Select festivals have instilled payment plans. For example, a ticket to attend Ultra Music Festival in Miami is $399.95, however if someone would like to utilize a payment plan, an initial payment of $287.85 would be followed by two more payments of $98.95 in the next two months. This is essential for students like Ly, who utilized this for EDC, as they would not have enough funds at that time to pay for the whole ticket up front. While saving up funds is the most standard way to afford a ticket, Buckley's family gives her tickets to Stagecoach as a gift.
"Every year my family buys tickets to Stagecoach," Buckley said, " that's the only gift we get because it's so expensive that we can't afford to buy any other gifts for each other."
Another aspect to keep in mind while considering to attend these music festivals includes accommodations and travel arrangements. This may entail camping in your car or in a tent on festival camp grounds. Although renting a camp site may increase the price of your ticket, students can all agree that it is all in part of enhancing the festival experience.
"I loved camping," junior Graphic Design major Andrew Le said, "I definitely enjoyed the experience."
Students mainly carpool to these festivals as many of them are held in California. Of the six students interviewed for this article, all six of them said that they carpool to the festivals unless they are in other states, then they fly.
"I usually drive," Enlow said, "I basically live in my car."
Camping, flying and carpooling are all part of the festival experience, many students agree that some of their fondest memories were not even at the festival, rather spending time with friends and making a trip out of it. For students like junior Kelly Denten, she enjoyed spending time with her friends while waiting to get into Coachella.
"I enjoyed waiting in the lines getting in," Denten said, "Some people act so miserable but some of the funniest times at Coachella that I had was just goofing around in the lines."
Although the full camping experience is fun, the thrill of seeing your favorite band play right in front of you is really what everyone pays to experience.
"Coachella 2010 was my favorite festival." Buckley said, "All of my favorite bands were playing, including my brother, so I had a very strict schedule to make sure I saw every band. One of the days I waited three hours at one stage so I could push my way to the front to watch She & Him."
Every festival has its own audience and people tend to dress to match that certain image that is portrayed. There are different cultures when attending different festivals, which leads to different stereotypes of the different audiences attending certain festivals.
"It depends on the festival," Ly said, "EDC is full of ravers and partiers while Coachella and Outside Lands attracts hipsters."
While for some students it is a hobby, there are many students that have never been to a full-blown music festival like Stagecoach and Ultra. Senior business administration major Kelsey Menton, has never been able to find the time to attend one.
"I am always busy," Menton said, "I can never find three straight days where I have nothing going on."
Avid festival attendees have great advice for students like Menton looking for the time to finally experience a festival for the first time. Many students explained that they wished they had been given the same advice before attending their first festival.
"Be with close friends." Le said, "Don't be so reliant upon having your phone and establish a meeting spot and time in case you get lost."
And don’t forget to adjust for weather.
"Most of the time you are in the middle of a desert area." Buckley said, "It's hot during the day and cold at night, so make sure you are prepared for the weather changes and all the dust. Remember to use sunscreen, bring baby wipes, and drink lots of water."
Here’s some added advice.
"Always bring a bandana because it can get really dusty," Enlow said, " Also eat a huge meal before you go, drink water all day, always have a buddy, do what you want to and do don't just follow what your friends are doing because it is much more fun this way. Don't hold back, let loose and be yourself, be silly, act crazy because this is the one and only place where you are free to be whoever you want to be for the weekend. Embrace it, love it, and have the time of your life. Bring good vibes everywhere you go, love everyone, look out for your friends, and just be happy."
Most of all, it is about enjoying the music, feeling grateful that you are able to experience the culture of these festivals and most of all, making memories with the friends that join you.