The terrifying image left was the still image advertisement for the Listen Out festival. There has been a wave of cancellations and downsizing in the music festival world — perhaps not unreasonably given the ridiculous rate of growth we’d seen over the past decade. Parklife was perhaps the largest festival for dance music in Australia but, in response to the realisation that we’d hit Peak Music Festival, it refashioned itself as the artistic, smaller, and ‘more intelligent’ Listen Out.
It was so artistic, small, and more intelligent that it even advertised itself in French. French ballerinas. Creepy, soul-eating, nightmare fuel, electro-tech French ballerinas.
It was so artistic, small, and more intelligent that police were able to seize $10k in drugs.
What is surprising is that the latter story continues to be the dominant lens through which most of the population interprets music festivals. It’s a fun time in the blistering heat listening to a variety of different artists while being fenced in with Australia’s drug culture.
In other words, there seems to be tacit agreement that music festivals are not really art forms worth critiquing in any meaningful or intelligent sense. There’s no discussion about their composition or construction. There’s no analysis of the interaction between the shifting, nomadic audience, the transient performers, and the physical location of the entire ordeal. There’s no interpretation of that which is being interpreted.
Which is weird.