Festivals: To Go Or Not To Go?

noah | June 12, 2009 2:00 pm

Not only is this weekend the time for the muddy, Phishy, mushroom-peanut-butter-cup-free spectacle that is Bonnaroo, the UK is currently in the throes of the spiky-edged Download Festival, which has a lineup today that in these eyes trumps today’s offerings in Tennessee. This is mainly because the reunited Faith No More’s headlining set at Download (which takes place in Leicestershire’s Donington Park) begins at 9 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET), and they still haven’t scheduled any dates here yet. (Sadface.) Sure, I would have had to sit through Limp Bizkit’s apparently LOL-tastic set to get to that point of sweet release, but we all have to make sacrifices, no? I mean, just check out this clip of “I Started A Joke” from Wednesday’s show at the Brixton Academy:

Patton’s possibly pleated pants aside, that clip made me go “holy whoa” this morning. And it definitely helps bump the rest of the lineup for Download up from “eh” to “vaguely interesting in a semi-academic way” (although I would probably steer clear of Attack! Attack!’s set because when I saw them at the Bamboozle I was vaguely fearing for my life). Certainly the prospect of seeing Faith No More for the first time in a very long while is more of a draw to me than the prospect of multiple Phish sets and a chance to see Bruce Springsteen (nothing against the Boss, it’s just that he’s really blitzed the NYC area in recent months). But should one artist define whether or not a festival is worth going to, what with all the time and money one has to lay out in order to just get one’s foot in the door, never mind sustaining yourself through the whole thing? And in these cruel economic times, is it smarter to maximize your economic value and go to festivals where there are a lot of bands that you’re vaguely interested in–or is value actually maximized by saving your hard-earned dollars to watch the cream of the crop? Or is it just better to wait, since these days, 10,000 people will have uploaded the damn thing to YouTube before the band even gets back to its bus–and it’s likely that at least one of those people will have elbowed her way to a better place in the crowd than you ever could? Oh, and if you’re still in front of your computer at 4 p.m. ET, you can fire up the Download Festival’s live stream and watch what will probably never appear on these shores. Sigh. Faith No More I Started A Joke Brixton [YouTube] Download Festival Webcast [Official site]