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What They Don’t Tell You About Music Festivals

Music festivals are glorified, romanticized, and aestheticized through their social media promotions and overall population consensus. I am guilty of being swept away by the waves of influence, and buying into an idealized product. 

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Bridgeport’s inaugural music festival “Sound on Sound.” Primarily an indie themed festival, the weekend was full of great artists, fantastic food, and delightful company. Stevie Nicks, the Lumineers, Dave Matthews, and a myriad of other talented artists made this a memorable weekend. 

However, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses—it was partially cloudy for the majority of the weekend. There were scattered rain storms, compressed crowds, and a lack of water. We felt akin to cattle being herded around to watering and feeding troughs as we were pressed against thousands of individuals waiting for a glimpse of the musical artist. Upon arrival, we realized it was nothing like we thought it would be. Here is a list of what the influencers, social media stars, and your fellow peers fail to mention about music festivals.

The Crowds


Turns out that everyone has the same good idea as you when it comes to going to music festivals. Perhaps because it was the inaugural one or maybe they just wanted to break even, but this festival was completely overpopulated. On the first day, the masses were so large and packed together that it was impossible to discern the food lines from the crowds waiting by the stages. There were just blobs of people everywhere, with absolutely no spaces in between. The amount of people made for long lines for toilets, water refills, and just general refreshments. Our lowest moment was standing in line for water for forty five minutes while the free water filling station was just 100 feet away. We will leave that in the past where it belongs.

Expenses

In addition to your $300 wristband, the expenses won’t end there. Parking alone surpassed $100. Every food vendor charged extra because it’s basically the Hunger Games within the festival barriers. With no way out, they know that they can drain your pockets just for you to meet your basic human needs. Go into the festival knowing that money will be spent, and that is okay. 

Survive and Thrive

I learned that for music festivals, you must be in survival mode. You have to be attentive and aware of your surroundings, or else you will be smothered by the crowds. Also, it’s important to stay hydrated, even though the lack of water refills stations won’t help your case. Enjoy your time, but also stay alive and safe out there. 

While most of this seemed glum and nitpicky, I had the time of my life at this music festival. There’s no comparable feeling to singing along with your favorite musical artist with your best friends. I saw some of my favorite bands of all time and they didn’t disappoint. The Lumineers were especially nostalgic, singing dated songs that have been in my music library for over ten years. To all of you headed to music festivals in the future, watch your back, watch your pockets, and watch your favorite bands take the stage and show you a good time. 

Meredith Harper

Conn Coll '24

Meredith Harper is a junior at Connecticut College. She loves to write, listen to music, and hangout with friends.
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