Why do International Festivals look so hype? Questions from an American

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Being an American festival enthusiast is an electrifying ride. The breadth and diversity of experiences offered by the homeland have given me memories as rich as the 35mm Kodachrome reel. From the glamorous desert landscape of Coachella to the sonic bloom of Electric Forest, I’ve seen unity in diversity. I’ve watched the moon replace the sun while standing amidst the pulsating crowd of Bonnaroo, each of us losing ourselves to the symphony of the moment. Ive honestly done so much in the American festival scene. Which brings me to my question… Why do international Festivals look so HYPE?!

There’s just something about International music festivals that has always drawn my gaze across the Atlantic. It’s akin to yearning for a song you’ve heard only in fragments, or a melody from a dream that you struggle to remember upon waking. It’s an allure that transcends the stages and the costumes and is somehow more profound, more enigmatic. It’s the history, the lore, the cultural significance that these festivals carry.

America has its unique blend of music festivals, each with a charm and character all its own. Coachella, synonymous with high-profile performances and festival fashion, has become a cultural phenomenon. It’s a living, breathing Polaroid snapshot of the millennial zeitgeist. Electric Forest, on the other hand, is a realm of enchantment. A neon-lit wonderland that takes you through a vivid dreamscape of music and art, blurring the lines between reality and the fantastical. Festivals like these have filled chapters of my life with irreplaceable memories.

I am also keenly aware of Burning Man, a festival known for its transformative power. Although I haven’t been, the tales I’ve heard suggest that it is perhaps the most European-like experience you can get on American soil. A journey of self-expression, of art, community, and radical self-reliance, set in the Black Rock Desert’s vast expanse. Despite this, my heart continues to hear the distant drumbeats of European music festivals.

Photo: Christian Eede

While the music festival scene in the U.S. holds its own, there’s an irresistible magnetism that international music festivals exude. It’s like they’ve tapped into an unseen force of energy, elevating their allure to heights that often leave their American counterparts in the shadow. Perhaps it’s the exotic locations that provide a spectacular backdrop, or maybe it’s the eclectic mix of cultures, creating a flavorful cocktail of experiences, each sip more intoxicating than the last.

The electric spirit that international festivals embody feels amplified, almost as if the collective joy, excitement, and passion of attendees from around the globe come together, generating an explosion of palpable hype. The unifying rhythm of a shared musical journey transcend language barriers and geographical boundaries. After all, is there anything more thrilling than dancing to your favorite tunes amidst a sea of revelers under the glow of a foreign sky? As we delve into some of these spellbinding international music festivals, let’s get ready to dance across borders –

Glastonbury, nestled in the green heart of Somerset, England, has always been a beacon. Birthed from the counterculture revolution of the 70s, Glastonbury has grown into a colossal celebration of music, art, and British eccentricity. The sprawling fields below the ancient Glastonbury Tor have been graced by music royalty, but the festival’s true magic lies in its spirit. It’s a multi-generational gathering, where music is intertwined with theater, circus, and poetry. The result is a beautiful cacophony that feels uniquely old-world and profoundly immersive.

In stark contrast stands Tomorrowland, a festival that catapults you into a fantasy realm. Originating in Boom, Belgium, Tomorrowland is a Mecca for electronic dance music lovers worldwide. But it isn’t just about the music. Tomorrowland is an artist’s dream breathed into life. Its stages are grand spectacles, rivalling any cinematic epic. Every inch of the festival grounds contributes to an atmosphere of whimsical adventure, making you feel like a character in a fairytale brought to life.

Further north, in the small city of Roskilde, Denmark, another festival paints a different picture. The Roskilde Festival is one of Europe’s largest music festivals, driven by a strong non-profit ethos. Unlike many commercial festivals, Roskilde has a sense of purpose beyond the music. It’s deeply rooted in social activism, supporting initiatives related to music, culture, and human rights. Attending Roskilde is akin to joining a transient, annual community that lives, dances, and dreams together.

Each of these festivals pulses with its distinct rhythm, united by a deep-rooted cultural significance that feels different from American festivals. The intriguing blend of history, music, and artistry seems to offer an adventure that’s both thrilling and deeply enriching.

Photo: Roskilde

That said, my love for American festivals is unwavering. They’ve played the soundtrack to my youth, provided a canvas for self-expression, and served as a platform to build lifelong friendships. These experiences have shaped my musical palette and personal identity.

Yet, the magic of the global festival scene is impossible to ignore. There’s a sense of romanticism and enchantment that resonates with the storyteller in me. It feels like a narrative waiting to be explored, a melody that’s drawing me in. As I stand on the precipice of this new journey, the American festivals that have shaped me will always hold a special place in my heart. However, it’s time to heed the call that I’ve been hearing across the ocean.

The allure of all festivals isn’t about proving one scene superior to the other. Instead, it’s about embracing the rich tapestry of global music culture. As I prepare to embark on this journey, I realize that it’s not about choosing between one ore the other. It’s about harmonizing these diverse beats into one resonant melody. In the grand dance of life, the beauty lies in moving to these cross rhythms, celebrating the collective human experience in all its vibrant, joyous forms. And I can hardly wait to join the dance.

– Scene Kid

Previous Post
Tip Top: The Latest Festy Treat
Next Post
Women Are Taking Over the Rap Game in 2023, and We’re Here for It