Small music festivals offer alternatives

Being the music-loving, concert junkie that I am, I always get overwhelmed as festival season approaches, because it means I have to consider cost, distance and of course, lineup.

These days, there are new festivals popping up all over the country, but which ones are worth the cost?

There are the notorious festivals like Ultra, Coachella and Bonnaroo that always pull the hottest artists and largest crowds. But as the demand for tickets steadily increases, so do the prices. Hence, newer and smaller festivals with decent lineups appear attractive to music lovers who don’t want to break the bank this season.

Let’s take Firefly, for example. Firefly is about to celebrate its third anniversary and has a similar feel to Bonnaroo. The general admission is cheaper than Bonnaroo’s, and the lineup holds its own, with headliners like the Foo Fighters, Outkast and Jack Johnson.

However, Bonnaroo’s general admission ticket includes camping and parking, a feature that is not included in the Firefly ticket. General camping costs approximately an extra $150 per camping space. When I attended Firefly last year, the camping venue was a hike away from the actual concert venue, an aspect that wasn’t ideal after long days of dancing and standing in the sun.

Also, smaller music festivals can be sketchy if you don’t do your research beforehand. Recall the UR1 fiasco? Thousands of ticket buyers expected a festival featuring Kanye, Lou Reed and Santigold, among others, but the festival was cancelled due to “strong winds.” Ticket buyers were promised the show would be rescheduled or they would be refunded. Neither has happened. Don’t let yourself get duped this festival season.

Consider the lineups. Are these bands going to be at other festivals this season? Jack Johnson and Outkast are the big names appearing at a variety of different venues this summer, so don’t push your budget on a big festival when you can see either act at smaller and cheaper ones.

Keep an open mind and try new festivals. Ultra is definitely an experience, but is it worth more than $500? Be sensible. We are fortunate to live in Miami, and a lot of the DJs that appear at Ultra play in different venues around this city for much cheaper outside of Ultra.

Do your research, don’t aimlessly buy tickets, and enjoy.

Jamie Servidio is a sophomore majoring in journalism.