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Seeing an artist at a festival vs. concert

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So you’re researching your favorite DJ/artist – and you see that they are playing this festival that you’ve been dying to go to, BUT in addition to the festival, you also see that they’re playing at a local venue that you love. So which do you choose? Well, I’m going to tell you the advantages to both. You should go to both! I'm joking... Kinda, sorta, not really. 

First off, I think I should probably explain my credibility. I go to a concert or music festival about once every two months. I average about 3-4 festivals a year and go to about 4-5 single artist shows a year. So I’d like to think that I’m pretty knowledgeable about this topic. So which do I prefer? Well, honestly, it really depends on the mood that I’m in. But let’s break it down:

Festivals. Ahhhhhh, there’s nothing more enjoyable than getting through security, walking into a festival, and seeing everyone dressed up ready to party the day away. The environment is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s Coachella or Stagecoach, it doesn’t matter – you should go and see what the hype is all about. Now, the beauty about going to a festival is that if the act you are watching sucks, move on to the next. You’re not obligated to sit through a horrendous set, you have the freedom to move to the next stage and see if you like that act better. Festivals give you a dose of every style of music. For example, if you’re at EDC and you’re at a trap set (bassPOD) and you hate it, you can mosey yourself to the next stage (quantumVALLEY) and experience the wonders of Trance. But here’s the thing I’ve noticed about artists at festivals. The artists aren’t as invested into their sets. They usually take their concert/single artist set and cut it down to be something generic which they can play to the masses. Recently, I had the honor of witnessing my all-time favorite act (ODESZA) at Coachella. Annnnd yeah, they brought another element to their show (DRONES? WTF!) that wowed the crowd. But six month prior to that, I witness the same exact set in Vegas, but felt that they just watered down their Coachella set. After the set, I was a little disappointed in the show they put on considering they were one of the major reasons I wanted to attend Coachella this year. It just felt so generic and so overplayed. And this is coming from a girl who’s seen them nine times live. Even the drones couldn’t save that set unfortunately.

Now onto concerts/single artist shows. I feel like if you’re an impatient person and you do not want to deal with the crazy crowds, than going to a concert might be your best bet. You may have to sit through some interesting opening acts, but you know that this is the show that the artists has spent hours planning for their fans to see. In some ways, I find single artist shows to be a lot more personal than festivals. If I can put it bluntly, I would say festivals are about experiences and single artist shows are about emotions. Artists during concerts are also generally more interactive with the crowd and it feels more personable, which reminds you that they’re still human. In addition, you also really feel the amount of work and production each artists puts into their show. Usually these artists design the stage, the visuals, and the special effects. In my opinion, a DJ/act’s concert is their masterpiece they have been waiting to show the world.

A great comparison for the two like going out for ice cream. A festival is where you can try all the flavors and figure out what you like, but a concert is finding the flavor you love and sitting there and enjoying how amazing it is. Festivals have so much more to offer than just your favorite act’s set. Again it’s the experience, but what adds to that experience is the crowd, the art, and the food to name a few. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in a new world, a break from reality. Concerts are just very straightforward. You’re paying to watch this artist play a show and the show is dependent on how much work the artist’s put into it. (For example, go see ODESZA, they bust their ass with the production and visuals for their sets)

Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with either – it’s really what kind of experience you want. If you’re someone who wants it all – well, maybe you should check out that festival. But if you’re someone who wants to feel connected to the artist and the music, then maybe you should buy tickets to that concert. Either way, you’re going to have a blast jumping and dancing the night away! And statistically speaking, I could very much be in that crowd enjoying live music with you!

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