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Students prepare for music festivals

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2013

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05


Special to The Prospector

   A sea of thousands of people at music festivals are a common sight throughout the nation—some are jumping and countless are dancing, but most are excited for the performers about to grace the stages at festivals such as the well-renowned Lollapalooza and Coachella.

Summer is the time of year when many college student music lovers pack their bags, spend their money and camp outside to hear a multitude of bands and a much anticipated line-up.

Music festivals not only bring different touring bands from all sorts of genres, they also bring people together in an environment that is universally perceived as friendly.

Andrea Shaheen, assistant professor of music, said that music festivals bring together a mixture of cultures with the tunes on stage and the people in the crowd.

“I study music as culture and in doing so, I believe music can be telling of a community or society,” Shaheen said.

A community of music lovers embraced the movement at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in Bethel, New York in 1969, which was one of the first rock concerts that displayed peaceful audiences­—an environment somewhat similar to today’s music festivals.

Elisa Lozano, junior graphic design major, said she went to Lollapalooza in 2011 and enjoyed the three-day music festival, which was held in Chicago. She said she was surrounded constantly by a warmhearted atmosphere.

“People were just out to help each other. If someone needed water, someone could help you out or hand you a water bottle,” Lozano said. “I can see the environment of music festivals as carefree, everyone is excited, happy and everyone is for the moment of seeing music.”

She said the impulse decision was worth every penny for every memory made when she traveled to the festival at the last-minute. The memories were even better when she got a good deal on a $90-a-night hotel room in downtown Chicago.

The food that was sold in mobile food trucks throughout Grant Park was also worth every bite,  Lozano said. She added that different gourmet restaurants and grills sold food at lower prices due to the abundance of business.

“I think what I remember most about Lollapalooza is the food,” Lozano said. “It was just so delicious, they had these little hot spots everywhere and had everything.”

Being in such a large metropolitan area was most memorable for Lozano because the festival was held at Grant Park until midnight, which led some of the bands to have their own secret shows for relatively cheap prices. Lozano said she took a cab and saw Two Door Cinema Club at an inner-city venue for just $10.

“Everything was just so nice, it was nice to see the skyline, the main stages, the fancy city that had the buildings lit up at night,” Lozano said. “There were even people (who) climbed the trees, because there were trees everywhere, so they could see the performances.”

Lozano said she saw artists such as Lykke Li, Girl Talk, Arctic Monkeys, Local Natives, The Vaccine and The Kill, some of whom made appearances in last year’s Coachella.

This year, Lollapalooza will feature Mumford and Sons, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers, just to name a few from the 125 featured bands, and the cost ranges from $75 to $235. The festival will be held from Aug. 2-4 and according to, all passes are sold out.

Established in 1999, Coachella, a three-day music festival held in Indio, Calif., is growing every year, both in attendance and in high-ticket prices. Tickets cost from $349 to $783, plus other additional fees that may be included.

The festival is usually held in the month of April, but this year it will take place during two weekends, April 12 -14 and April 19 - 21.

While the festival features bands such as Blur, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Stone Roses, those who bought their tickets are especially ecstatic to experience what Coachella is known for, camping outdoors.

“Now that it’s getting closer, I’m really excited about the experience in its entirety,” said Selene Delgado, a freshman psychology major who will be going to Coachella for the first time. “A fun trip with good friends to listen to some good music is what I’m looking forward to. It’s my first Coachella ever, so I’m sure I’ll always look back on it.”

Delgado said she is most excited to see Vampire Weekend and The Postal Service.

John Brown, junior digital media production major, enjoyed his first Coachella experience last year and is ready to experience it again in the hot sun within the next coming weeks.

“I was expecting large crowds, heat, dehydration and incredible amounts of fun,” Brown said. “I was so hyped for the festival the moment I saw the bands that were performing and that hype did not fade until the end of the festival.”

Brown said he spent $425 and the experience of seeing Radiohead, St. Vincent and a holographic Tupac was worth every penny.

Held in an area of California that experiences 100-degree weather, has hot air, green grass, a giant Ferris wheel and palm trees, are all features that make the Coachella festival popular to Brown. The landscaping is the first thing festival goers notice, Brown said, but the people are who make the festival what it is.

“Without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Brown said. “To me, it felt like a dream free from worries and responsibilities, it was nothing but fun and music for an entire weekend.”

Overall, music festivals are meant to enrich the music lover’s experience by seeing bands both known and unknown.

“What I like about (festivals) is a fan might go to hear their favorite band and end up being exposed to another artist or musical style he/she normally wouldn’t have listened to,” Shaheen said. “Music festivals can open new doors for (the) listener.”

Marilyn Aleman may be reached at

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