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Firefly, This Is the Best Venue We've Ever Played Because...

Andre 3000 and Big Boi Round Out Day 3 of the Festival with One of Their Last Performances Together
Andre 3000 and Big Boi Round Out Day 3 of the Festival with One of Their Last Performances Together
Photo by Theo Wargo

With July forging ahead, the music festival circuit is in full swing delighting thespian travelers, "band-aids", and artists alike with the unique opportunity of being engrossed in lyrical euphoria for a few days. Having recently been to the Firefly Festival last month, these musical romps truly are life-changing and an event I declare as the "best experience of my life"; however when musicians enact these phrases all willy-nilly at the height of their sets- it feels a little inauthentic. With all the concerts, events, TV shows, movies, award's shows, and other countries they get to play for, it seems performers have many reasons to declare their fun-having superlatives; whereas for most concertgoers, the only other musical experience they ever had was a free cover-band at the local waterpark. Therefore, in order for these nomad fans to feel like they are truly participating in exclusive appreciation all-around, musicians should recognize the best features of playing in that particular venue. Below I have detailed a few popular festivals and detailed why some of these artists with "time of my life" diarrhea-of- the- mouth should alter their crowd interaction:

1. Summerfest (6/25-6/29, 7/1-7/6)- featuring Lady Gaga: Her explicative tagline should've stated, " This is the best show of my life because I am performing in the longest running music festival, and to an international crowd, even though my music is losing momentum/ my fans are niche "little monsters". Being a longtime fan of "Mother Monster", it is apparent her appreciation is always genuine; but with all she has experienced in her hay-day, this festival probably looks like child's play in comparison. However, in realizing her current popularity lapse, to still be in the presence of consistent "Top 40" performers such as Bruno Mars, she must acknowledge this event as a specified superlative experience since it will probably be one of the last hyped performances of her career.

2. Bonnaroo Festival (6/12-6/15)- featuring Kanye West: His intimate interaction with the crowd should've stated, " I know this is the best musical event of your life because I'm here, but I must show appreciation because you are the vessels I'm using to turn this hippie-fest into a chronic episode." With West's constant self-love, it is hard for him to admit specific instances that set each performance apart because he is constantly fabulous. However, with this festival morphing from a hippie-dippy weed-fest, to a hybrid of drug-prevalence, with the recent introduction of past hip-hop groups who promote use, Kanye can pat himself on the back for playing a part in bringing all variations of chronic-loving folk together to drink drugs and mellow in harmony.

3. Firefly Music Festival (6/19-6/22)- featuring Outkast: This unique groups' verbal declaration to the crowd should've been, "Although this is our last tour, we are happy to be one of the most notable headliners during this festival's existence so our legacy continually rises after we retire". Seeing that Outkast has played in every venue all over the world, to mention playing in the backwoods of the little-know Firefly Festival was the "best gig of their lives" would've been a bold-faced lie. But, realizing how the grass-roots' promotional efforts for the venue have been so strong, i.e. the event has tripled in size and doubled in length since 2012, it's evident this experience will give the group notoriety by continuing the successful progression.

4. Wawa Welcome America Concert (7/4)- featuring Nicki Minaj: When standing over a sea of fans hopped up on freedom and " 'merican" pride, she should've proclaimed, " I'm so grateful to be playing the largest free concert which will offer me recognition as the "people's artist", while also keeping myself/my fans invincible via great music". With Minaj viewed as a performer of eccentricity and outlandish behavior, she has a niche audience who she always celebrates as the best because they are her only interaction. However with this event providing an invitational outlet for all people to come experience her music and-hopefully- jump on her bandwagon, she must recognize their efforts personally as the venue was the most attended free concert in history. Furthermore, with understanding Philly's violent antics, especially when the citizens get full of patriotism and beer; Nicki/ her viewers defied the odds in order to partake in this once-in-a-lifetime and experience.

5. Essence Festival (7/3-7/6)- featuring Prince: During this throw-back R&B homage, Prince should've adopted the manifesto, "I am honored to be in front of an audience who still appreciates my purple velvet get-ups, and the fact I am God's gift to music/women." In earlier years, being in Prince's presence was "thank you" enough and performance was, obviously, the most notable experience for all involved; but with other newer acts rising in their quirkiness and narcissism, he needs to give the fans a reason to continue his reign. Therefore, Prince highlighting his trademarks and reiterating why he continues to be the most beloved of all self-involved performers, gives audiences a reason to feel like they are a key piece in a legacy.

With many more music festival fare to come this summer, artists need to remember that these unique experiences are brought into existence by the personalized artist interaction. By stating the same ol' clichés, these performers will receive a moment of disdain rather than infamy of discussion.

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