Music Oct 26, 2016 at 4:00 am

Low Attendance and a Glut of Options Suggest the City May Have OD'd on Music Festivals

Capitol Hill Block Party: Some festivals continue to thrive. kelly O


totally over festivals. rather just see a show, and be done with it. don't make me try and see a dozen acts in 3 days. i got other things to do.
It's because the festies are way too expensive. Come on now.
@2 nailed it. Who needs to pay that kind of money to be hearded around like cattle.
I love Pete Krebs and would've gone to that Hazel show, but I didn't want to buy a ticket for an entire festival just to see one band. It's a stupid business model. Sorry, Pete. I hope you guys play the Tractor or Sunset sometime soon.
Cost mostly. Plus everyone wants the same time of year. Seriously!
There are so many factors at play here, I don't really know where to begin, but here goes...

1. Most of the music festivals here have such a wide variety of acts that they all feel really unfocused, and leave a lot of people out because we'd only go to see 1-2 bands, and that sure isn't worth the price of a weekend pass. When you look at niche fests like Decibel Fest or Rain Fest, you have lineups that are musically consistent and they are well attended by fans wanting to see the headliners and might discover a new favorite band along the way.

2. Weather-wise, we only have a handful of nice weekends each year to hold outdoor festivals, so they all get lumped together in the same 2-month span every year. Maybe climate change will help spread them out more over the calendar year.

3. The bands that get the most attention in papers such as The Stranger frankly aren't really worth paying attention to, which has resulted in a weak local music scene outside of the niche stuff that doesn't get any attention. When you guys lost Megan Seling and killed LineOut, I stopped paying attention to most of the music articles, and I don't think the Seattle Times has written a music article worth reading in over 10 years.

4. A lot of people who go to these festivals don't give a shit about the music or the performers. They go because it's the "cool" thing to do for the weekend, leaving people who actually care about the bands/performers having to listen to inane, drunken chatter during a set. I haven't been to CHBP in probably 6-7 years for this reason, and I can only assume it's gotten worse.

5. Related to #4, the more "corporate" these festivals get, the less "cool" they feel. They get widely advertised, have sponsors and ads and banners everywhere, and draw a whole new group of people who don't give a shit about the music. Wading through a sea of Amazombies and listening to their bullshit is not my ideal Saturday.

6. Something I've found that's unique in both Bumbershoot and Sasquatch (and CHBP some years) is that they draw 3-4 HUGE headliners for the weekend, but then the rest of the lineup is relatively unknown or forgettable bands. When you look at lineups for the various Riot Fests, for example, there's a couple of huge bands, but then there's a lot of mid-size bands as well as newer up-and-comers.

7. Reunion sets! UGH!!! I mean, I'm guilty of going to festivals just to see a band that I thought I'd never get to see, but if that's the biggest/only draw you have, then it's pretty weak and probably not worth the price of admission.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think we have "festival fatigue," I think we don't know how to do festivals properly, and as we are rapidly becoming a city of transplants, we're losing any semblance of identity that we ever had.
Cost. If I'd asked my mom for $180 when I was a teen wanting to go to Bumbershoot, she'd have thrown a dish at me, can't imagine what teens are doing now. But I could babysit and still have enough cash left for gas and a ticket for 50 bucks. That was 2008. Now that I'm in my late 20s, $360 is better spent spread out in individual concerts throughout the year, checking out bands I know I like and I know their set won't conflict with another band I really want to see.

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