The beginning of March brought an end to music fans’ wait for summer music festival lineups.
Now that three of music’s major festivals have released their performers, it comes time for fans to buy their tickets. Between Firefly Music Festival, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, concert-goers have a tough decision to make.
Firefly, the “East Coast’s Premier Music Experience,” opened up last year in Dover, Del., with a gang of heavy headliners. The largest letters on the lineup list spelled Jack White, The Black Keys and The Killers. This inaugural set brought a huge audience and a promise from Firefly to return in 2013.
Although the major headliners of this year’s Firefly remain unclear, some of the festival’s biggest names include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers, Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Alabama Shakes and several other well-known names.
The announced headliners, both of which were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame within the last decade, are the reason Jeff Tinkoff bought his ticket.
“I’m going to Firefly because a lot of my friends are going and because of the various bands that they have been going such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Zedd, Kendrick Lamar and Tom Petty,” Tinkoff (freshman-marketing) said. “My friends were all talking about how much fun they had last year so I made sure I went this year.”
The festival’s success last year promises a strong sophomore return, Ryan Fox said.
“I really want to see it grow because last year it started off awesome. It was a great way to kick off a new festival for a new area, the East Coast,” Fox (junior-advertising) said.
Location is key, Fox said.
Firefly is the closest to State College of these three festivals. The shows take place in a wooded area adjacent to the Dover International Speedway.
“It’s really cool because it’s right near my house, an hour away,” Fox said. “The fact that you can camp out and they have this cool thing called ‘The Pathway.’ It’s this cool woods area that lit up at night, and during the day, bands play and people hang out.”
As far as lodging and ticket prices go, Firefly is also the cheapest of the featured festivals. This is another big aspect to consider when on a tight budget, Chronic Town owner and State College band-booker Jeff Van Fossan said.
“The biggest bang for your buck is Firefly,” he said. “For the bands going, that’s the cheapest.”
Although this is a major facet when facing a decision between festivals, it is not the only one, Van Fossan said.
“If I was a millionaire, I would definitely go to Coachella,” Van Fossan said.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, or simply, Coachella, is the oldest of the great music festivals
Located in Southern California, Coachella began officially in 1999. The festival’s vast and varying lineup now spans over two weekends, featuring Blur, Modest Mouse, Phoenix, the Stone Roses, a reunion show by The Postal Service and countless others.
“I’m really impressed with the 90s Brit-pop bands that they have going,” Van Fossan said. “It’s cool to see the bands from the 80s and 90s that were important.”
The lineup also umbrellas nearly all of Firefly’s lineup including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Passion Pit, Vampire Weekend and many more. Coachella’s stretch across decades is an interesting appeal, Van Fossan said.
“They have really awesome old rock bands and really good new rock bands,” Van Fossan said. “It’s a great way to see your favorite bands and check out other bands you may not have heard before.”
The 2012 Coachella featured a surprise performance from a holographic Tupac Shakur. This year’s lineup hopes to surpass that of years past.
It is the best of the best, Kyle Ennis said.
“Bonnaroo had some heavy hits, but Coachella is the one where I can look at the line up and say ‘that one, and that one, and this one and that one,’ ” Ennis (senior-chemical engineering) said. “I feel like Coachella brought that kind of blend, where you could be entertained all day from one act to the next, with each act being completely different than the one you just saw."
The Bonnaroo Music Festival began in 2002, building its foundation in Manchester, Tenn. Since its initial year, the festival has nearly sold out every summer for over a decade.
This summer, Bonnaroo’s lineup features Paul McCartney, Mumford and Sons, Wu-Tang Clan, Wilco and more than fifty others. The festival’s wide stylistic scope is reason for attendance, Cullen McGowan said.
“I think I might go to Bonnaroo simply for the fact that they have the most diversity,” McGowan (senior-marketing) said. “Just so many diverse genres and different styles, you could really get the most out of it.”
The weekend deemed “the American rock festival to end all festivals,” by Rolling Stone magazine, requires a thirteen-hour drive from State College. Bonnaroo is worth the travel time, McGowan said.