Photo courtesy of author. This post ran originally on THUMP Canada.
Dear festival promoters,
Ah spring! That time of year when the crocuses start poking their heads out of the snow, the patios at one's favourite watering holes reopen, and a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... wait sorry, wrong letter.
As many of you have already have already began announcing who's playing your spring and summer festivals, with more to come in upcoming weeks, I'm writing to you today with one simple request. I know you're all busy trying to talk Marshmello's booking agent down from his usual fee right now for a 30-minute set ("He's no Daft Punk!"), so I'll try to keep this brief and to the point. I'm coming to you all as not only the editor of a music site, but as someone who's been known to occasionally partake in enjoying live music, with one plea—please stop with the gimmicky lineup announcements.
Let's look at some of the options I've seen used to unveil your meticulously-crafted and unique snowflake bills. Watch a Facebook Live video of the names being painted on the side of a building? How about a webcam showing crop circles of a band's logo? Dial a hotline to find out performers? I can hardly be bothered to call my father to wish him a happy Father's Day every year. What makes you think I'm going to pick up the phone to find out what middlingly tepid British indie rock band is headlining Sunday evening? (It's alt-J, it's always alt-J.)
Please don't make me play an online game that asks for my middle name, birthday, email address, Facebook login, banking details, and a blood sacrifice to the Mayan bat god Camazotz. If I wanted to play puzzles, I'd pick up a book from the dollar store. They say time is money, and in this case, that money could be used towards saving for your $2,000 exclusive platinum package which includes your own cabana, air-conditioned bathrooms, open bar access (Budweiser, Goose Island, or Red Bull-based cocktails only), and one (1) vial of James Murphy's tears (I've heard that drinking them slows aging).
"Now Max, what do you have against fun?" I hear you ask, "Surely you have more important things to do than rail against how festival lineups get announced? Isn't Deadmau5 picking a beef with someone on Twitter that you could write about instead?" And you would be absolutely right on both counts. Complaining about corporate festivals is like that episode of The Simpsons when the newspaper runs a picture of Grandpa Simpson with the caption "OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUD." It's ultimately pointless.
Look, I understand that simply posting a picture on Facebook or Twitter with a bunch of artists in varying font sizes won't get you as many sweet, sweet clicks, or help you amass valuable personal information to provide to sweet, sweet brands. But promoters, I implore of you, please, please, please just put them into one easy-to-copy-and-paste press release like the good Lord intended. I promise people will still pay gobs of their hard-earned cash to stand around in a dusty-ass parking lot or field with thousands of drunk, sweaty strangers watching the same 20 bands that play every summer festival. With the time you'll save brainstorming ideas, you'll be able to devote that energy to more important matters, like drug testing and harm reduction at your events. Besides, if prospective attendees want games, they can always generate fake Coachella lineup posters.
Also while I have you, could I get a couple of three-day VIP wristbands? Thanks in advance.
Max Mertens is on Twitter.