Take Your Giant Music Festival and Shove It
2015 just might be the year the major music festivals lost their collective souls.
The lineups for Coachella and Bonnaroo have been released, and they both absolutely suck. Seriously, Coachella is only four hours away and I could probably a finagle a free ticket, and I still won't go. Shoot, I wouldn't go if it was in Glendale.
Now, some music writers would get all deep into the lineup on why it's bad, but forget all that noise, I'm going to start from the top. How are you trying to sell me on Drake being a good headliner for Coachella?
Just look through the amazing headliners that fest has pulled -- Rage Against the Machine, Jay Z, Daft Punk, and Bjork just to name a few -- and putting Drake into that club seems like bad practice.
Quite frankly, I don't think I need much more of an argument against heading out to Indio this year than "Drake's playing." But Coachella wanted to make my decision even easier by inviting AC/DC to headline.
Quite frankly, someone at Coachella owes Jack White an apology.
But it was all good when it happened, because Bonnaroo would release its lineup a week later, and those jammy hippies on the farm know how to party. Bonnaroo's lineup would fix it all, until it announced Billy Joel and Mumford and Sons would be headliners.
Do not get it twisted; I love that piano-playing alky. I think his song "The Downeaster 'Alexa'" is pretty freaking spectacular, and "New York State of Mind" has probably reduced me to blubbering homesick tears more than any other song I've ever heard.
But I still don't want to see him sit on his 65-year-old ass on the main stage at Bonnaroo to play the pop hits. I've been to 'roo and it changed the course of my entire life. I was a sportswriter the first time I entered Centeroo, and I've written about music ever since.
You know who the big-time old guys at Bonnaroo 2011 were when I went were? Buffalo Springfield, Robert Plant, Gregg Allman, and Dr. John. A bunch of fellas that a fat, drugged-up stoner like myself would be proud to do 'shrooms with. But Billy Joel? He's a coke-and-liquor musician.
If you think I am implying that a solid Bonnaroo headliner has to go well with psychedelic drugs, you are absolutely correct.
Then there's Mumford and Sons. I was there in 2011 when Mumford played its first set on the farm. A set that has gone down in Bonnaroo lore as one of the best ever put on by any act that has ever set foot on the hallowed ground of the Great Stage Park.
I got bored and walked away because Mumford and Sons are the death of folk music.
Everything they have ever done, except headlining Bonnaroo, is the opposite of what Bob Dylan would do. He wrote great songs, they write bad songs. He had a tremendous social conscience; they don't even rock the vote.
What makes folk music so great is that it's hobo music; it's the blues for white people. It's where real stories of loss, atrocity, love, and rebellion are told by those who lived through it. What Mumford does is the Walmart version of that. A heavily packaged, over-produced mess that has no real soul.
Which is probably the best way to describe a major national music festival in the year 2015.
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