According to an old saying, necessity is the mother of invention. After attending this year’s Voodoo Experience last weekend, it was clear that Voodoo needed to invent a better way to control its trash. Apparently, the event organizers didn’t correctly estimate the number of trashcans they would need to accommodate a 40,000-person crowd. Once the trashcans began to overflow, things got messy – fast.
It’s not like the festival didn’t try to keep things clean. They hired a team to pick up after everyone, but the workers’ method of walking around with a bag and plucking up each individual piece of trash didn’t come close to meeting the demand.
It was at this point that I was reminded of an experience I had the previous year at Sasquatch! Festival in Washington. The main stage was located directly in front of a giant hill. There was a walkway in front of the stage. They also had a booth that provided attendees with sign-making materials. This gave me the idea to make a sign, display it to the crowd while strolling around on the walkway, and see if I could persuade people on the hillside to bring down their trash. It worked! Everyone came forward with garbage, and a group of random volunteers and I filled countless trash bags.
With this experience in mind, I made a couple of signs before the third day of the Voodoo Experience. I had interviews scheduled for earlier in the day, so I decided to do my trash pickup at around sunset, during Griz’s set. As I headed out into the crowd to see if I could find some volunteers, a couple of festivalgoers recognized me as The Festival Guy and instantly agreed to lend a hand.
Off we went. They held the signs, I held the bag, and we danced our way through the crowd. Just like at Sasquatch! Festival, the crowd happily brought us the trash around them. Everyone wants a clean festival, but it’s hard to do anything about because the scope is so big. By putting signs up and walking the bag around, we made it easy for people to help make the festival cleaner. Now that this method has proved its effectiveness in a couple of different scenarios, I think that all festivals should do trash sweeps. Instead of having individuals wander through the crowd hoping to keep a lid on the problem, we should motivate the crowd to be a part of the solution.
Here’s a video I made that combines the two different experiences into one video. My hair is very different, but my clothing style (Grandma’s clothes) seems to be the same. So were the results.
Name: Voodoo Music and Art Experience
Dates: October 31st-November 2nd, 2014
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 40,000 (estimate)
Years Running: 15
Lineup: The Voodoo Experience lineup was a solid mix of major festival performers combined with a fun group of New-Orleans style musical acts. It flowed well and gave attendees plenty of options to explore.
Stages/Sound: The music viewing experience at Voodoo left much to be desired. The visual production on its five stages was acceptable, but the sound was a real problem. None of the stages had speaker towers, and too much sound bled from one stage to the next, which made it hard to focus on the music coming from the stage you were at. The biggest mistake was the lighting. The Ritual Stage and the Le Plur stage each had giant flood lights intended to help light the backstage area, but instead were pointed into the crowd’s eyes. This giant beam of light completely killed the festival magic that should happen when the sun goes down.
Name: Life Is Beautiful
Dates: October 24th-26th
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Size: 25,000 (estimate)
Stages/Sound: Life Is Beautiful offered a solid music viewing experience. Each stage had world-class sound systems that easily covered their respective music viewing areas. The stages also had enough production to achieve the magic that all festivals should strive for.
(Photo Powers Imagery)
Crowd: As much as I loved LIB 2013, I left the festival thinking that it was the worst crowd I had ever been around. A large portion of them had no idea what they were doing or who any of the artists were. It turns out that, that year, the festival distributed free tickets to residents living near the festival, so these attendees were not really festivalgoers. Thankfully, this was not the case this year. The crowd was great, a diverse crowd consisting of music lovers of all ages. They all did a fine job of keeping the event garbage-free.
(Photo by Powers Imagery)
I’m excited to announce that my mobile app FestEvo has just released it’s 2.0 version. If you are not familiar- FestEvo allows you to discover new festivals all around the world and listen to the artists that are playing it. Our new version is faster and easier to use than the previous edition. I’m totally in love with it.
To celebrate the release we are giving away a pair of tickets to the legendary Voodoo Music and Art Experience. Voodoo is the ultimate way to spend your Halloween. For one, it’s in New Orleans which is going to be a treat in and of itself. The lineup is silly good with artists like Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters, Flux Pavillion, Griz, Outkast, Pretty Lights, Skrillex and dozens more world class artists.
To enter just follow these steps.
1. Download FestEvo on your Android or iOS phone.
2. Search Voodoo Experience and select that you “Want To Go.”
3. Share this photo on and tag @FestEvo.
Location: 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, GA.
Dates: September 26th-28th.
LineUp: The TomorrowWorld lineup featured the biggest names in electronic music. The big names were great, but the lack of diversity made it hard to keep my attention by the third day.
Having the right tent at a music festival can make or break your weekend. The right tent needs to be big enough for you, your crew, and all your gear. It also needs to stay cool during the day so you can actually get some sleep. I had the opportunity to test the 13-ft Lotus Belle Outback tent at festivals across North America this summer and I am finally ready to deliver my review.
Life is funny, in that all we have is the present moment. The past is a memory, the future is a guess. You never know when your present moment might change your future and shape who you will become. It’s been eight years since I was a freshman at Colorado State University, so I have enough mental distance to look back and recognize how a single random occurrence not only transformed my college experience, but shaped me into the guy who gets to review music festivals for a living.
I had just arrived on campus, and was filled with excitement and fear. Everything was new to me. It all seemed so much bigger than the little high school I had attended. I had been on campus for a week and was exploring the student center – literally. I was just wandering down random hallways to see what was there. I figured that if I was going to be here for the next four years, I might as well get to know my surroundings. As I journeyed down a long hallway, I came to a door marked KCSU. There were lots of pictures on the wall of people having fun. It looked like something that I might like to be involved in. I was nervous, though. Going through this door and introducing myself to new people was a scary thought. I had an urge to take the safe route and just walk away, but something in me said, “Just do it. Just go for it.” So I opened the door and put myself out there.
This was a defining moment in my life.