TheVine story: ‘The overseas music festival – cheap and boofhead free’, July 2012

A feature story for TheVine, published in July 2012. Check out the excerpt below, or click on the link at the bottom of the post to read the whole story.

It’s little secret that the Australian music festival sector has been under pressure in recent years. Much of the talk focuses on there being a saturation in the market, particularly during the busy summer season when cities throughout the country are overrun by beefcakes and babes with more drugs than they have items of clothing.

But local promoters have had to indirectly deal with another issue, and that’s the high Australian dollar. Never has it been easier for people in their twenties and thirties to travel overseas to other first world countries, and many are now tacking a music festival onto their trip. By Australian standards, overseas festivals undercharge whilst over-delivering on entertainment. To top it off dickheads, as well as the draconian rules that go with them, seem to be rare.

TheVine wanted to drill down and get more of an Australian take on these overseas festivals in order to discover how they contrast with local offerings. So we dug up seven smug pricks that, for the most part, had the experience of a lifetime. Unsurprisingly, this story will make you green with envy: overseas festivals are officially awesome.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Where: Indio, California

When: Third or last weekend of April

Coachella is an annual three-day music and arts festival held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California. The festival has become known for its impressive line-ups – understandably, given its close proximity to Los Angeles – and in 2012 the organisers dealt with increasing crowd numbers via the innovative step of holding it twice on consecutive weekends.

Marieke, 25, Sydney

“Coachella this year was awesome. We went the good weekend, I think, so we had all the nice weather. I guess it was something that we had wanted to do for a few years, and it was just timing. We had a few friends who were going, and it was just a matter of getting the people together – that coupled with the line-up made it pretty hard to resist.

The setting was just spectacular. It was surreal to be in the middle of the desert and in the middle of a ring of snow-capped mountains – they’d have these dramatic sunsets every night. There were also these great Ferris wheels that you could hop on and get a great view of the entire festival, so that was pretty special. Obviously, the music was excellent. I guess my surprise favourites were The Weekend and SBTRKT. The Snoop [Dogg] and [Dr.] Dre thing was obviously really cool, also. In terms of costs it was around $350, so it was relatively cheap, and you get this incredible line-up.

I was expecting the crowd to be rowdier and more aggressive, like they are at some of the big local festivals, but everyone was really easygoing and chilled out and friendly. I think Australian festivals are better at dealing with the heat – there were shaded areas, but probably not as many as there would have been in Australia at festivals like Falls and so on, where in the past they’ve been really conscious of providing sun cream and water and doing safety announcements.

It was four nights and three full days. We had a few days in LA beforehand, then on the way back we drove up to San Francisco along Highway 1. I’d been to both cities before and I actually really liked LA. We had a friend who could show us a few different places that we may not have otherwise ventured to. We got to know Venice Beach pretty well and we discovered a little neighbourhood called Silver Lake that was cool.”

For the full article, visit TheVine.

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