For someone who more or less detests large crowds, isn’t terribly fond of super-loud music, and prefers to be entertained in enclosed settings (or at least those that don’t require standing in line for a Port-a-Pottie when you need to do your business), I love a good music festival.
Back in the live music-filled salad days of my early twenties, I braved the original Lollapalooza, hit H.O.R.D.E. (warning: latent hippie tendencies may surface from time to time), and even five or six Grateful Dead shows (see: previous warning). When I lived in New York, I’d hit the Siren Music Festival in Coney Island each summer (Superchunk + the Wonder Wheel + Nathan’s hot dogs = major fun in the scorching sun) and stood in the dirt to watch Pavement, Sonic Youth and Guided By Voices play the SummerStage at Central Park (not on the same bill… pity).
Not to harp on the age thing, but all those shows were before I turned 35 and – poof! – turned into the crusty but lovable curmudgeon I am today. That said, I’ve been to Bonnaroo – twice, in fact. But both times it was on my terms: I had a VIP press pass and drove out only for the day, which meant I slept with my head on a pillow instead of in a puddle.
In the name of giving it up for all the amazing music festivals that have gone before the ‘Roo, I’ve rounded up a few choice images from concerts gone by, including Woodstock and Altamont. Retronaut has some other amazing shots, if you want more.
First, a video interlude, starring the incandescent Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane.
Three quick observations pertaining to this clip: 1. Grace Slick’s outfit is incredibly cool. 2. Grace Slick is incredibly high. 3. Observation number 2 has absolutely zero bearing on Grace Slick’s voice, which is – you got it – incredible.
Janis at Woodstock by Henry Diltz.
Woodstock concertgoer, from Life magazine.
Woodstock, via The Sartorialist.
Jagger at Altamont by Ethan Russell.