(Photo via shemagazine.ca)

With the warm weather right around the corner, everyone is talking about one of the best things to do in the summer: music festivals!  And why not, what’s not to love about music festivals?  They’re outside, it’s warm, there’s music and beer. That is literally the best things about summer combined into one venue.

And while I don’t go to a lot of music festivals, I know a lot of people love them and I inevitably get caught up in the hype of the line-up announcements. The problem is, once the line up is announced, I have to sort of pretend that I’ve heard of the bands and I suspect a lot of people do too.  I mean, I guess that’s okay. Part of the fun of a music festival is finding new bands to love. Or maybe I’m getting older and ever really knowing the majority of a music festival line up is now well out of reach. That’s why I wanted to do a little experiment and see just how bad the problem is.

Here’s the math equation that I’m using: The amount of bands I’ve heard of at the festival divided by the amount of bands playing at said festival  The definition of “heard of” is this: “Hey, so and so is playing at a festival, have you heard of them?  Yes.”

Let’s play. Feel free to put your percentages in the comments section:

August 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Number of bands performing: 100
Bands that I know:  17%

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 11.15.41 AMSled Island
June 18-22nd
Number of bands performing:  250+ but only 12 have been announced so far.
Bands that I know (so far): 1.6%

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 11.25.42 AMCanadian Music Week (CMW):
May 6th to 10th.
Number of bands performing:  483
Band that I know: 1%

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 11.32.47 AMNXNE
June 13th-22nd
Number of bands performing: 153
Number of bands that I know: 1%

Possible conclusions:

-I need to listen to more CBC Radio 3.


-Festivals are just making up  the bands, because who is actually going to follow up and check the entire line up?

Mike Morrison


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  3. Let’s see: 29% for Oshega, 66% for Sled Island (so far), CMW and NxNe are all about new acts, so you really shouldn’t know who they are, but of the ‘marquee’ acts highlighted on the CMW main page I’m at 8/23 and could recognize 16 bands on the NxNe list (10%).

    Like Kelly mentioned above, it is always so much more about the vibe, the venue, and who you are hanging with. And always more fun if you have good access and can stay our of the throngs – no offence @kelly but I would have cut a wide berth around your teenage self. 🙂

  4. Love this, Bloggity! Your honesty is refreshing, and your point totally relatable.

    I just about peed my pants last night when Jimmy Kimmel’s roving reporter took to the streets of SXSW in his Lie Witness News segment. She interviewed dozens of ‘music fans’ as to what they thought of everyone from DJ Metamucil to The Tampons. Of course everyone had totally heard of all of them, loved their new albums, and couldn’t wait to see them perform. So good.

    And at the risk of sounding ancient, I will say that my fave music fests of all time were Much Music’s Snow Jobs in Banff, winter ’95 and ’96. And proof that line-up and location are second to being 16 yrs old, ziploc baggies of booze in your bra, crashing with 500 friends at the YMCA.

  5. Is this a joke? You’re supposed to be an “entertainment” writer, yet your piece is actually about how little you know about entertainment? Get a clue. Turn on your internet box and start listening to the quality independent (and in most cases well known) Canadian and international artists listed above.

    Get your head out of your ass or stop pretending to be writing about entertainment and culture.

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