As the winter fades into spring, a certain excitement and exuberance begins to build into the souls of music fans.
With pleasant sunshine and snowmelt comes the anticipation for the festival season. Spring festivals will begin in the following weeks, and summer festival line-ups are beginning to emerge, creating criticism, competition and debate with each announcement.
The festival experience consists of an eclectic mix of music, crowds and activities. The decision of which one to attend can be difficult with the ever-growing amount of festivals on the circuit and the frequently changing line-ups.
This spring kicks off with two nationally renowned festivals that have gained a reputation for attracting some of the biggest names on the circuit: Ultra Music Festival and Coachella Music Festival.
Set in Miami, Fla., on March 26 and 27, Ultra attracts some of the most sought after DJ acts from around the world including Tiesto, Eric Prydz, Deadmau5 and Groove Armada. While still catering to a electro-jam oriented crowd by booking the Disco Biscuits, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights and Ghostland Observatory.
Due to the rapidly growing Boulder electronic scene and the convenient dates that lie directly at the end of CU’s spring break, many students are flocking across the country to attend the festival.
Dana O’Connor, a 19-year-old sophomore integrated physiology major, said she is looking forward to the perfect combination of location and the best electronic acts.
“It’s in Miami so it’s a great location,” O’Connor said. “And why wouldn’t you want to go to Miami and see an electronic festival? I’m really excited to see all the big name acts like Deadmau5, Tiesto and Armin van Buuren.”
O’Connor added that convenience was another factor in her decision as she is staying at a friend’s house instead of having to book a hotel.
While Ultra attracts a strictly electronic line-up and crowd, Coachella Music Festival seeks to diversify the experience by attracting a variety of genres including indie rock, folk, hip-hop and many of the same electronic acts from Ultra. Coachella takes place on the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., April 16, 17 and 18.
According to Coachella’s official Web site, “The 11th Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will feature a mix of artists ranging from Pavement, Thom Yorke, Vampire Weekend, Them Crooked Vultures, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Tiësto, Faith No More, Deadmau5, David Guetta, MGMT and Public Image Limited.”
A festival attendee can see an even broader range of artists from rapper Jay-Z to singer-song writer and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. Soul and funk legends Sly & the Family Stone, The Dead Weather and Les Claypool add to this genre transcending festival.
While these festivals take place in warm weather during spring, Colorado must wait for the snow to melt for the festivities to begin. The bluegrass festival, Mishawaka Music Festival, will feature some local legends including Billy Nershi and Drew Emmitt as well as some up-and-coming acts such as Cornmeal. It will take place on May 14 and 15 at the Mishawaka Amphitheater in Bellvue, Colo.
The second annual Bisco Inferno will help jump start the Red Rocks summer season on May 29. It will feature electronic acts such as the Disco Biscuits, Glitch Mob and the Crystal Method.
While it may be too early to assess the complete summer festival scene, line-ups are beginning to be announced with close interest from festival goers. The line-ups have already made for an interesting summer with more yet to come. With Rothbury taking a temporary leave of absence and Bonnaroo shifting back to a mainstream audience again, there is room for smaller festivals to take the stage including Wakarusa, All Good Festival and High Sierra Festival.
Nick Grahf, 21, a junior economics and environmental studies major, said he is excited for the summer because that means summer festivals.
“I’ve never really been into Bonnaroo,” Grahf said. “I’m really excited for Wakarusa and Summer Camp. Wakarusa has Widespread Panic and other big names, and Summer Camp has a great line-up for a really good price.”
While these line-ups have been announced, there is more to come, even in the initial line-ups. Lollapalooza has yet to be announced and Denver’s newly successful festival, Mile High, has yet to release a list of artists.
Furthermore, local favorite Telluride Bluegrass Festival consistently holds one of the largest bluegrass and folk festivals in the nation in breathtaking Telluride, Colo., on June 17, 18, 19 and 20. There are only a few announcements including Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, and Jerry Douglas with many more to come.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Davis Brown at Brownfd@colorado.edu.