View of the main stage at Austin City Limits Music Festival with the Austin skyline and people buzzing by at sunset.

The Beauty of Music Festivals

By Haley Ray
Music Journalist

After attending Austin City Limits this month, I’ve been taking some time to revel in the true beauty of music festivals. ACL 2015 was my very first music festival and I’ll always hold it near to my heart because it opened a door to a new love.

Since then I have been to different music festivals around the country like Voodoo Fest in New Orleans, Panorama in New York City, and Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee. Festivals are beautiful to me because it joins together my love for music and human interaction, and provides a great escape from the stressors of everyday life. 

Photo from the crowd at an Austin City Limits Music Festival with people on each others shoulders.
Photo from the crowd at a concert at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Image via Austin City Limits.

Music-wise, festivals allow you to see some of your favorite artists as well as discover new favorites all in one weekend, which is a huge plus for me. Instead of having to buy individual tickets for each show, you’re welcomed with non-stop action of shows back to back.

The magic of live music fills the festival grounds and provides an electric energy for all. Seeing live shows really gives you a taste of what the group is about. Being able to see their mannerisms, the differences in their music and their art being purely projected for an audience is a kind of pleasure that is unattainable by watching videos or streaming music.

For me, it’s common to fall in love with a band I didn’t know after seeing them live at a festival. Live performances leave an imprint on me and are usually better than the recorded tracks. I love seeing the raw talent and love flowing out of a musician. 

People smiling in the sunshine at the iconic fountain at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.
People smiling in the sunshine at the Bonnaroo fountain. Image via Bonnaroo.

Popular music festivals usually have a large lineup with an array of genres to bring in as many patrons as possible. With such a huge mass of people from different walks of life, festivals give you the chance to connect with those who you may never have met otherwise. I’ve personally met some of the coolest people I’ve ever met at festivals.

Bonnaroo is a four day camping music festival with a capacity of 80,000+ people, bringing together friends from around the world. The campgrounds are rows and rows of cars and tents surrounding you with neighbors. This past summer my friends and I had the pleasure to be neighbors with a super friendly group of friends from New York. We all became friends on the first night and ended up exploring the festival and seeing shows together.

We now communicate through snapchat and have a friendship that will hopefully be rekindled this next summer at Bonnaroo. I think it’s really special when strangers connect in such an open loving environment because most people don’t get the opportunity in their day to day life styles. 

To me, maybe the most beautiful thing about festivals is the escape that it gives you. Festivals create a stress free environment where all you’re focusing on is which act to see next, which food truck to eat at and what landmark to meet your festival crew at. With all of the stress and tragedies we experience in today’s age, having time to relax and have a mental break is important for a healthy mind.

I would truly recommend music festivals to anyone. I would also recommend checking out some of the volunteer opportunities at festivals like The Love Hope Strength Foundation at ACL and Clean Vibes at Bonnaroo. I’ve volunteered with both and had a great time while saving money on tickets.

Featured image via Austin City Limits.

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