The Northside Festival will bring close to 400 acts to Williamsburg in June. Photo: Northside Festival
Another summer, another series of music festivals. Governors Ball at Randall’s Island from June 3 to 5 is arguably the most high-profile festival in New York City this summer, featuring a bevy of top-tier acts including Kanye West, the Strokes, Beck, the Killers, HAIM, Father John Misty, and Courtney Barnett. The lure of the festival isn’t just the sheer number of artists you can soak in over a couple of days–there’s also the promise that you might get to witness a historic performance like Daft Punk’s killer set at Coachella in 2006, or Jack White’s turn at Bonnaroo in 2014.
At the same time, mega festivals have their downsides,which Brokelyn laid out neatly, and New York Times music critics Jon Pareles, Ben Ratliff, and Jon Caramanica explored in the article, “Why We’re Not Making Plans for Coachella and Bonnaroo.” They argue that the lineups at those festivals have become less exciting and theme-less; that’s it’s not about the music anymore; and that you can watch the action anyway online. (That article prompted a retort from music website Consequence of Sound on why these huge rock festivals still merit coverage.)
For me, there’s one simple reason why I am unlikely to go to these mammoth events: money. For instance, a three-day admission to Governors Ball will cost you $305 (a single-day ticket is $105). That’s not even counting the cost of the ferry service to shuttle you between Randall’s Island and Manhattan. Add what you’re going to blow on food and bottled water, and by the end of the weekend, you’re likely to run up a pretty big tab.
Even if you’re shut out of Governors Ball, rejoice in the fact that there are very cool music events happening all summer long in New York City that are less expensive (and in many cases free), probably not as crowded, and transportation-friendly. To prove the point, let’s create an alternative essential summer concert list–yes, some of them are festivals, but on an entirely different scale–based on the price of tickets to Governor’s Ball. (more…)
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