Opinion: Are Music Festivals Coachellizing?

This past weekend I had the amazing experience of attending Governor’s Ball in NYC. The festival was amazing and I am ecstatic when I had the chance to meet The Struts in person. I got to talk to lead singer Luke Spiller for awhile about touring in the United States and the band’s new album planned for the fall. Sunday night, I was able to hang around and see the closer for the weekend…Eminem.

Eminem’s performance was dope, but seeing him up on stage reminded me that I had seen his name a lot recently…on the lineups for so many other festivals. Eminem is headlining at Firefly, Bonnaroo, and already played at Gov Ball and Coachella this year. How often have festivals repeated a same headliner in the same year? Last year was the only year that I really paid attention to who was playing where before now…Last year I noticed that Chance the Rapper headlined both Gov Ball and Firefly. As more festivals pop up through the summer season, are existing ones giving up their niche to stay relevant?

Many skeptics point at Bonnaroo as the prime example of a festival that lost it’s identity. Bonnaroo was known only a few years ago to be the experimental rock and indie modern “Woodstock” festival. The festival had attributes of liberally timed sets and    Now, Bonnaroo barely schedules any indie rock artists to fill the day-time sets like previous years. Additionally, the headliner “rock” bands are The Killers and Muse. The Killers are playing at Firefly two weeks later. Once again another headliner repeat seen in the same year.

Both MGMT and Odesza performed at Coachella this year, and they are both on the lineup for Firefly this month. Sylvan Esso just performed at Gov Ball this past weekend, and is one of the top names on Bonnaroo’s lineup for this weekend. The repetition of these names through the major festivals assures the similar experience to be had attending each. I guess this part is up to debate regarding whether seeing Sylvan Esso at Bonnaroo and Gov Ball will provide the exact same experience. Both have different crowds, Gov Ball certainly a much younger one than Bonnaroo. Still, I am coining this repetitive lineup term of  “Coachellizing festivals”. I would not say it is a bad thing…although there are obvious drawbacks to it. The other question is whether the drive for this repetition is from the festivals begging the artists, or the Big Three telling the festivals how it’s gonna be. Either way, it will be interesting to see if the Coachelizing continues and every major festival eventually turns into “Coachella Tour”…RIP Warped Tour.

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