Recently, Bonnaroo unveiled its star-studded lineup for its celebration of music in June of 2014. With headliners including Elton John, Kanye West, and Jack White of The White Stripes, and many other featured bands including Lionel Richie, Phoenix, The Arctic Monkeys, and Skrillex, to name a few, the music scene went somewhat crazy. Ok. It went massively crazy. Who can blame us? The lineup is one of the best lineups to hit a music festival in recent memory. Seeing the overwhelmingly positive reception to this lineup, and many (including myself) virtually lining up to buy our weekend passes, it got me to thinking: is a music festival a social intervention? Tens of thousands of individuals all coming together for a single purpose under one ideology: their love of music?
For three days in June, we all will unanimously enter a symbolic reality at Bonnaroo. We will all go from stage to stage, hear various artists, various genres of music, and step into the respective band’s world that they have created over many arduous years of honing their craft. Some of the artists may not be very good, and we will struggle to find a name for what we just experience. However it’s all for the sake of music, for music is, no matter how big or small, still beautiful. We will be all be one for 3 days. Then return to reality and resume our daily lives.
I think one of the biggest pieces of a music festival as a social intervention is that of the ideology behind it. Well, there are many ideologies that will be at this festival. First and foremost, there will be ideologies courtesy of the various musical artists. I know for a fact that I am in for a real treat when Kanye West takes the stage. However, there are the individual ideologies as well. While music festivals have definitely evolved from their early hippie days in Woodstock and Lollapalooza, there is still a hippie mentality that arises at a music festival. It may not be immediately present, but by the end of the day when everyone gathers around one stage for the headliner, it’s in full force. I think our craving for music creates a biosocial need for togetherness. As the headliner plays, it only gets stronger. The feeling I got last year, at another music festival called Forecastle, when the headliner for the night came on was amazing. Nothing else mattered. Just the music. It is a feeling I will never forget, and I look forward to experiencing it again in June.
Update on the critical essay: I have sent in the proposal, and the professor approved it. I am now starting to collect research on the topic I have selected, which I have narrowed down to the Sound City recordings and Dave Grohl’s decision to purchase the studio, as recommended.