Long live the festivals
by J.P. Kallio
The regular readers of my blog know I like to keep things quite positive around here, but once in a while something gets up my nose. Music journalism is a funny field, good journalist in my mind is someone who introduces me to new music I might like. Unfortunately too many music journalist think criticising the artist, event organiser or venue is what us passioned about music want to read.
Last Saturday The Irish Times journalist Jim Carroll wrote an article called “Forget Slane. And Electric Picnic. Music in fields is so over.” You can read the article HERE. This article was published on the day of Slane festival, where Foo Fighters rocked in front of 60000 people. It was awesome! I know, I was there,
The article brought out many of the problems faced by the festivals, performers and the audience. I fully understand and respect the fact that the article was Mr. Carroll’s personal opinion and he is entitled to it. But I for one found it first of all very much concentrating on the negative side of festival, thus making it very one sided. Mr. Carroll also tried to make it sound like he understood what the independent artists would prefer.
So let me just say this, festivals are great, but definitely not for everyone. And thats fine, I believe there is need for more boutique venues catered to listening audiences who are there solely for the music. But for everyone who likes to listen to their music in comfort, there are another fan who actually like to relive the Woodstock mud dancing.
I did not have problem with the fact that Mr. Carroll does not like festivals, but I do think to publish article on the morning of a legendary festival that has been going on for 24 years already hosting some of the biggest acts in rock music, is simply bad taste.
And I don’t know any up and coming band who would swap their festival slot, no matter how early for an indoor show in one of their local venues. The point is to expose your music to new audience, and sure it can be tough, but that is the name of the game. We get up on that festival stage on a blaring sunshine, or pissing rain while the crowd is only making their way in to the festival, because we want to win over new fans. We are glad of the opportunity. And for any festival that has failed to pay an artist, which is really crap when it happens, there are those that are happy to pay you the second you get off the stage.
And I do not believe it is “time to leave the fields behind” Why don’t we try to cater for everyone? Surely the bands, especially the up and coming ones would be happy to play both kinds of shows. On Saturday night on the grounds of Slane Castle there were a lot of soaked people who forgot about the rain the second Foo Fighters came on to the stage. You see, Mr. Carroll, some of us are still more passionate about the music it self and like to share the experience, than the comforts of indoor venue. Oh yeah and the sound in Slane was very good this year.