Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Music Festivals and Value

I noticed a festival in Seattle I had never heard of before called Northwest Love Fest coming up on August 27 & 28 in Fremont at the end of Stone Way. When I was a kid I thought having a street named Stone Way was hilarious, but I found plenty of things hilarious back then. This is their 2nd annual festival, so I missed last year's completely.

After looking at the lists of bands for the 2 days I got more interested - there are acts I'd like to see: The Missionary Position (note: these aren't my videos,dug 'em up on youtube):

Elbow Coulee, Common Market (!):

Yogoman Burning Band (saw them before, would enjoy seeing them again), and may other bands I've never heard of that sound interesting based on the description, well over 30 bands total in 2 days. Hmm, definitely worth checking out.

After poking around the site a bit I found that admission is $10 a day, or $15 for both days. That seems like an amazing value to me - if I have $15 and I'm available those days I'll have to consider going; if I can get somebody to go with me it's a slam dunk. Well, almost; I'll have been out of town in India for 3 weekends leading up to the weekend of the Love Festival, and the following weekend is Bumbershoot (going all 3 days), so I may have to give it a pass just so I can hang out with my family a bit.

The whole process of deciding it was a great value got me thinking, though. I like new experiences, and seeing bands that I never heard of putting on excellent shows is one of my favorite things. Not everybody feels that way, and many of the new bands I see are somewhat forgettable, and occasionally they are somewhat lame in one way or another. I cut them a lot of slack - they got a group together, rehearsed, and got booked for a show, which is more than most of us ever achieve.

The math works for me - more than 30 bands for $15, less than .50 per band, an awesome deal. Others with different taste and higher standards might disagree, though. Paying $15 bucks to see bands you don't know could be a waste of your money, especially if you don't like novelty (in the sense of new to you) all that much.

I can only experience things from my own point of view, though, so I'll continue to see shows like this as a steal and go out of my way to attend them when I can. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, of course, but I sure have seen a pile of bands I've never heard of put on awesome shows! I just love the experience of seeing unfamiliar bands that take me on a mental and emotional journey that I had no idea was coming, to a destination I'd never considered - for me, it doesn't get much better than that.

Of course, an element of this is the "Indie Rock Pete" thing - indie Rock Pete is a character in Diesel Sweeties who likes knowing about bands before everybody else does, and no longer likes the band once they get popular. It's summarized nicely in this Venn diagram:

The comic is too wide so the final punch-line gets cut off, sorry about that, but the Venn diagram on the left is what I was referring to anyway. Like any good satire it overstates things, but I do like being ahead of the curve a bit on bands.

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