Music festivals have become a growing trend in the past decade. There are large and small music festivals for just about every music genre. More than 800 festivals are held in the U.S. annually.
Festivals are most popular among young adults, giving them a chance to dress up and see their favorite artists live. Along with smaller bands and single acts, many Grammy Award-winning artists headline music festivals.
Kolina Hocevar, a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, has attended the Austin City Limits music festival for the past four years. Austin City Limits, better known as ACL, has hosted musical artists since 2002 at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. Last year, ACL hosted seven-time Grammy Award winner, Kendrick Lamar.
“Seeing Kendrick live for the first time was like a dream come true,” Hocevar said. “I’ve always been a big fan of his, and being able to finally see him live, especially at ACL, was something I’ll never forget.”
Austin City Limits has also hosted big artists, such as Radiohead, Corinne Bailey Rae, Flume, and even Mumford & Sons.
“My favorite genres of music are pop, hip-hop, and country,” said Hocevar. “ACL has musical artists from all of these genres, which is what makes this festival so popular. Fans from all genre types all come to this one festival to experience their live show.”
Many concerts are held in Texas year round, however Austin City Limits is an entirely different experience.
“ACL is a lot of fun, even for people that aren’t big fans of going to concerts,” said Hocevar. “The only downside to ACL is that every year, it is held in October. In most states the weather is cool during the fall, but in Texas the heat is still something that can be unbearable, especially when closely surrounded by hundreds of other fans.
“My first year at ACL, I didn’t realize how dehydrated I was, and I actually passed out in the middle of a crowd while the Band of Horses was playing. It was definitely embarrassing having to leave and go to the hospital, but thankfully I was OK. Even though it’s hot and you get sweaty, I’ll still be sure to buy a ticket to Austin City Limits every year.”
Other popular festivals are Buku Music and Arts Festival, Voodoo Arts and Music Festival, South By Southwest, and JMBLYA, all of which Angela Ngyuen has attended.
Ngyuen, a junior and art history major at the University of Mississippi, said music festivals are something she looks forward to all year.
“I absolutely love the experience,” she said. “You can go to the same festival every year and have a different experience every time … When you’re there experiencing it, nothing else matters in the world. You just forget about everything, and all you focus on is the music and your cute outfit. And of course, having the time of your life with best of friends.”
For students like Ngyuen, festivals are more than just a concert. It is an opportunity to create long-lasting memories with friends.
Not only is she a big-time festival goer and electronic dance music fan, sophomore Denise Bernal has also risen to the top of the EDM festival world.
“My favorite part about attending festivals is meeting the people that attend it, the stages and light systems, the food, and PLUR,” she said. “The term PLUR means peace, love, unity, respect, and it is what the EDM community is known to live by and express at any EDM festival.
“This always is one of my favorite parts to see because it gives each person in attendance the feel of being part of a large family with one common interest, which is music,” says Bernal.
After counting every festival, Bernal said she has attended over 20 music festivals since age 12.
Every festival has many people who work together to make everything happen. Not only are the musical artists an important part, but the behind the scenes people play a large role as well.
After attending festivals for three years, Bernal decided to becoe more involved. Today, she is one of the top promoters and publicists for City Light Events in Dallas, Texas.
“City Light Events is one of the biggest promotional companies that is also involved in creating the show or festival,” she said. “It is made up of many young adults all across Dallas. I think that being so young, it helps that I can reach out to people who are my own age.”
There are also many perks to her job as promoter.
“I am able to meet a lot of people in Texas,” she said. “I am the person that encourages others to actually attend the event. I am able to meet the artists at each festival and interact with them.
“I think music festivals are something that everyone should be able to experience at least once in their lifetime. I took my mom with me to a smaller festival one year, and it was the most fun I had ever seen her have. Each festival has a sense of ‘magic’ to it. Going with friends that enjoy the music as much as I do is great because it enhances the experience.”
Whether you are a fan of country music or funky dance music, Bernal says there is a music festival for you.