The summer of 2017 has been an incredible time for music festivals. In a time where much of the nation is divided, it seemed as though music was what brought many together.
I was able to attend three separate festivals: Boston Calling, Newport Folk Festival, and Lollapalooza. The music was incredible and vibrant, and the vibes were all varied — but all exciting and alive. All three were different in their own like, but all strived to unify the surrounding community through music. Ranging from Mumford and Sons to Big Sean, The Head and the Heart to Chance the Rapper, each festival brought a variety of music, and exposed their attendees to new sounds.
Obviously in Boston, this festival had upgraded to a bigger and better location than prior years, allowing concert-goers to easily go back and forth between stages. Although the location had improved, there were many issues with food and drink vendors, and the incredibly long lines in order to purchase anything. Boston Calling tried to rectify the situation by changing processes on the second day, but it definitely left its mark amongst concert goers. Nonetheless, even though the food trucks weren’t serving, the music did. The headliners were as diverse as they come: Chance the Rapper, Mumford and Sons, and Tool. This lineup most definitely pleased many, as Boston is known for its up and coming music scene, featuring all genres. There were other great bands including Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Majid Jordan, Brandi Carlile — who had shown her vocal strength through her set — and Mumford and Sons, who played a very diverse collection from their four albums.
Newport Folk Festival
This has become more than just a festival, but a tradition for so many music fans, many millennials included. Located in Newport, Rhode Island at Fort Adams State Park, Newport Folk Festival is rich with history (it’s where Bob Dylan got his start!), and the festival does an incredible job of honoring those who have played every year. Many ask what type of bands play in Newport, and although the focus is mostly on folk music, Newport Folk Festival always pushes the boundaries on what folk actually is. What Newport does best is getting people before they explode. Hozier is one example, as they had him as a performer in 2014, right before Take Me to Church was on your radio 24 hours a day. More traditionally considered folk bands performing included Mandolin Orange, The Head and the Heart, and newcomers Joseph. Stretching the boundaries of folk, there were more soulful, rock singers like L.A. Salami, the Seratones, and Regina Spektor.
This festival arguably is the one that stole the show. It’s one of the most diverse in music genres, and that may even be an understatement. A massive event with a tremendous amount of talent, Lolla (as it’s known for short) brought creatures from all walks of the earth to celebrate EDM, rock, hip-hop, and soul. The line-up included known artists such as DJ Snake, Big Sean, Blink-182, Lorde, and Alt-J, as well as not so known artists like Noname, Maggie Rogers, Leon, Jacob Banks, Sampha and Bibi Bourlley. However, the one who stole the show was Chance the Rapper. Making his third appearance at Lolla, Chance made his homecoming worth it to every person who was there. Chance’s show was said to be the biggest crowd ever at Lollapalooza. Although the crowd was big, they were happy and thrilled to hear songs like Sunday Candy, Juke Jams, and the incredible Blessings. Chance did not disappoint by bringing copious amounts of energy, fly dance moves, and amazing fireworks.
All and all, these three festivals were different in their own like, but all strived to unify the surrounding community through music. It’s important for millennials to realize that we’re not so different, and these festivals are a good reminder of that. It’s an opportunity to come together to enjoy and celebrate music, and enjoy the community around us.