This is going to be a very quickly (and possibly poorly) written editorial on what I consider to be an epidemic sweeping the live music and festival industry: petitions.
Petitions are great. They work, and don’t work, in arenas that actually matter. You know, like government. People who care deeply and are passionate about some sort of social or environment or really any kind of issue that actually affects the well being of the people of this earth, take the time to coordinate well written petitions and educational campaigns and organize movements to gain support from the very citizens who will be affected by whatever it is the petition is focused on.
However, I’ve seen way too many petitions for or against trivial crap like music festival lineups. In recent weeks, I’ve seen petitions to remove headlining artists from prominent music festivals, three to be exact. Some 100,000+ signed a petition to remove Kanye West from Glastonbury, and more petitions have been started by fans to remove Krewella from the lineup of Summer Camp, and the latest petition I’ve seen has been to remove Paris Hilton from the lineup of Summerfest.
Please, just stop it.
Back in my day, most people didn’t buy tickets until lineups came out. In fact, most festivals didn’t even release the vast majority of their tickets, save for maybe a couple hundred for their super loyal fans, until their lineups were out. Then more and more festivals started to pop up. Competition grew fierce. Festivals began to attract ticket buyers and attendees simply based off of reputation and loyalty which meant that festivals could convince fans to buy a metric crap ton of tickets before anyone even knew lineups, and sometimes even before locations or even dates were announced.
If you are one of those people who buy tickets before a lineup is announced, you have no right to complain about a lineup.
Moreover, if you didn’t buy a ticket, you have no right to sign a petition about the festival period. If you want to make your voice heard, don’t buy a ticket. Ask any artist and they’ll tell you, ticket sales speak louder than words. But if you buy a ticket before a lineup comes out and then hate the lineup, I don’t feel bad for you. That’s like me hearing that Honda is coming out with a new version of their Pilot SUV. I’ve been happy with their previous models so I pay in full for the new SUV before ever even seeing images of it just so I can be first to get it. Then I show up to pick it up and I hate it. It sucks. It’s everything I hate about SUVs and it represents everything I hate about cars.
Whose fault is that? Mine. I’m an idiot. Why did I pay for a car before I even knew what it would look like or drive like? You shouldn’t have any sympathy for me. Just like I have none for you if you buy a ticket to a festival and then someone on the lineup is someone who makes (or plays) music you don’t like.
Let’s talk about that one part for a hot second. This is a music festival. This means that there’s a real solid chance that you can be in attendance at the festival while the one person or act you hate is performing, and you won’t have to even see or hear them. How amazing is that? Paris Hilton is spinning on the main stage? Cool, go check out one of the smaller artists at another stage and discover new music that doesn’t suck. It’s that easy. Don’t want to watch Krewella? Cool, walk around and meet people and enjoy the 20 other artists you’ll see that weekend. Take a chill pill. This isn’t about you.
You want to pick a lineup? Cool, make a ton of money, fund your own festival and curate your own lineup.
Until then, either deal with the lineup or don’t go. Or go to the festival, but avoid that artist’s set. Hey, if enough people do it, they’ll play to an empty crowd and you’ll be right, the artist shouldn’t have been booked in the first place. But guess what, these artists get booked because people will show up, regardless of the artist’s musical talent. So stop petitioning the festival to change their already booked lineup, and instead, start movements encouraging fellow festival goers who care about the “integrity” or “vibe” or whatever BS you vent about, to avoid those artists who are “ruining” your favorite festival you big dumb selfish idiot.