Sound Off

How Social Media is Ruining the Music Festival Experience

I had been waiting more than 20 years to see Pearl Jam live, and the time had finally come: I was going to see Seattle's finest at the final weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

It was worth the wait. Eddie Vedder drank a bottle of wine onstage and sang his heart out. Mike McCreedy played the guitar solo for "Even Flow" behind his head. The crowd sang "Alive" in perfect unison.

It was an amazing experience -- right up until the moment a short middle-aged woman in front of me stuck her hands up to record the band's rendition of "Jeremy" for her Instagram account. Every 15 seconds she'd hold up her phone, not only blocking my view but ensuring that she experienced what was obviously a favorite song, one she'd presumably paid a lot of money to see live, through the screen of her phone.

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Jason Keil was the Phoenix New Times culture editor from August 2019 to May 2020.
Contact: Jason Keil