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Lindsay Thompson / Her Campus

Music Festivals; Are They Really Worth the Hype?

The weather is getting warmer and music festival season is getting closer. All of the lineups are getting released, people are getting their music friends together, and tickets are selling rapidly. I remember my first music festival and how it really amplified my love for music. Lots of people think music festivals are just places where people get trashed or take drugs, getting so fucked up that they don’t even remember the performances. I mean yeah, that is probably true for some people, but I think for the majority they are places to truly connect with new artists, old artists or the ones that hold that number one spot on your Spotify end of the year chart. Music festivals are so much different than concerts and so much better in my opinion. In this article, I will be talking about the music festivals that I have gone to, and maybe I will inspire some of ya’ll to gather up your music pals and hit up a festival. 


I went to Bonnaroo the summer going into my freshman year of college, making it the first music festival I had ever been too. My parents were worried sick because it was a four-day camping festival in the heart of Tennessee and no adults were accompanying us. Maybe it was due to my perceived newfound adulthood, or the police on horseback, but I did not share the same fears as my parents, and I don’t think anyone else should either. Bonnaroo was by far the best festival I have been too. The atmosphere was so calming and friendly that it made me feel so comfortable. The festival takes place on a large farm, so the stages were very spread out, preventing huge obnoxious clusters. This festival also had the best water layout of any festival I’ve been too, to the point that when I go to other festivals I yearn for the water stations at Bonnaroo. This is a camping festival, and I’m not gonna lie, because of the heat I did feel like I was showering in my sweat every morning upon waking, but I highly recommend this festival for anyone and everyone because of the easy going and relaxing nature of it. 


I went to this festival the summer after going to Bonnaroo, and I will say that the atmosphere was very, very, different. I loved it nonetheless, but if you are looking for a more chill setting then I would not recommend this festival. Lolla is amazing because of the phenomenal lineups. I mean, the year I went I saw so many of my favorite artists that by the end of it I was struggling to name an artist that I would still like to see. Lolla also has a very youthful and bustling energy since it is located in the middle of Chicago and a lot of young teens attend. This part can be a good and a bad thing. Yes, it does make it more fun and rowdy, but it also means that the kids go super crazy and it can be very crowded. The water set up is pretty average (Bonnaroo does it better), and also you need to time it well on when you will enter the event due to long lines. The weather is way better at this festival in my opinion, and there are also more shady areas to take a break from the sun if you need to. I would totally recommend this festival, and I hope to go back, but just know that it is a very different experience than Bonnaroo.

Music Midtown

This music festival is in Atlanta, Georgia, and I have only been here once. I have a bestie who goes to school in Atlanta, so of course freshman year me decided to drive down with some friends for the weekend to go to this two-day festival. Was it the best decision? Maybe not. Did a couple of us faint? For sure. Was it still fun? Duh. Although this festival was a rough one, I still enjoyed the musicians in attendance. The lineup for this festival continues to be amazing, which keeps tempting me to go back, but the set-up of the festival was not so great, at least the year I was there. The water is really hard to access, AND they didn’t let you bring camelbacks, which are basically your saving grace at music festivals. Because of this me and another one of my friends fainted due to dehydration and being too stubborn to not camp out for our favorite artists and take the long, long trek to seek water. This festival was also just set up terrible, with there basically being two parts which took FOREVER to move between. This festival proved somewhat of a bummer to my friends and I because of the layout because it prevented us from seeing as many artists as we wanted to. However, I do think this festival could’ve been really fun if we’d just done our planning better and searched photos of what the layout looked like before hand. 

Common Ground Music Festival

I didn’t fully experience this festival since my friends and I only went to see Halsey, but by what little I did see, it seemed like a fun beginning music festival. This one is located in Michigan during the summer, so the weather is literally amazing. It was also a fairly small festival, so it would be really good for beginners to try out. The lineup was also good by what I remember, and it was pretty inexpensive. 

I know that music festivals are quite expensive and can be a hassle to plan, but at least for me they have been experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I literally crave going to musical festivals because they are so much fun. Anytime I hear songs by the artists I saw I can’t help but think of all the great times I had, and it’s like I’m reliving that concert all over again. If you love music, concerts or both, I strongly encourage you to save up your money, get a group of friends, and go to a music festival. 

My name is Mallory. I am a Senior sociology major at DePauw University. If you knew me you would know I am really into skeletons and love going to music festivals!
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