Vibrant, colorful light radiating from the stage, thousands of euphoric people in the same place, an opportunity to see your favorite artists live in the span of a few days: the ecstatic feeling of going to a music festival is unmatched. While any type of large event has its safety concerns, experiencing an alternate culture and creating long-lasting memories make music festivals well worth their safety risks.
The rising popularity of music festivals around the country has brought hundreds of such events to the forefront of the entertainment world. According to Billboard, 32 million people in the U.S. attend at least one music festival a year. Oftentimes, when one attends a music festival, a sense of belonging and security is amplified through the unique experience of connecting with new people who enjoy the same artists.
Music festivals push people out of their comfort zones to pursue novel experiences. Exposure to artists they haven’t heard before or experimentation with a different genre can open doors to future interests or experiences.
Often, one may be traveling to experience a music festival, providing a chance to encounter new cultures, whether it be in the heart of the city or the middle of a desert. Some argue that these faraway festivals are too expensive in terms of traveling and tickets and can exclude populations that cannot afford the experience. However, the experience of an up-close live setting is far more valuable than any material item.
The electric energy that concertgoers feel in a lively crowd is an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. A 2019 study by the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences reported that by listening to music we enjoy, our brains produce significant amounts of dopamine, a “feel-good” hormone. The liberating atmosphere of music festivals allows people to express individuality while still feeling a sense of unity with other concertgoers.
Unfortunately, festivals do have their safety concerns. Rapper Travis Scott’s recent Astroworld Festival in his hometown of Houston, Texas tragically resulted in 10 fatalities and over 300 injuries, according to Forbes magazine.
The Astroworld tragedy serves as a huge wake up call to the music festival industry. In an atmosphere of thousands of eager fans, there is a risk of falling in a mosh pit or becoming easily dehydrated due to the compression of the crowd, amongst other dangers. Aggressive fans can push their way up to the front of the crowd, which can cause dangerous surges. This can lead to increased possibilities for injuries and fatalities.
Fatalities at music festivals are not a common occurrence. Most major festivals in the U.S. have been thoughtfully planned out to prevent such catastrophes. However, the blame for these tragedies does not always rest on the management of the festival. Some concertgoers can get extremely rowdy and hostile, but there still remains a spirit of unity. Oftentimes when someone gets hurt in a mosh pit, people move out of the way to make a path to the nearest medic or assist the injured by providing water or carrying them out of the crowd.
While music festivals are a place to be mindful of potential safety issues, the risk should not deny people a euphoric experience. Festivals are worth the possible hazards to create a lifetime of memories.