Today has been an interesting one in my neck of the woods. I’m sorry this is posting so late. What began as a homeschool day for me ended up being one where I had to call my husband for a rescue because I’d popped a tire on my car while attempting to pick my dog up from the groomer. Then a serious family issue came up….and here I am at 5:45 pm my time, attempting to whip up a blog in a single bound.
There’s an all night party
The line-up for KAABOO Del Mar (That’s a teeny bit north of San Diego) was announced today, which takes place September 13-15, 2019. Interestingly enough, a band you and I know and love is on the schedule. That’s right, Duran Duran is playing, and now we all get to decide if we’re headed to Del Mar in September!
One question I saw many times today, and even uttered to myself at one point was, “Why do they insist on playing festivals?”
There’s a hole in the wall next to you
As I said, I’ve asked myself this a few times. I think the answer(s) are simple: Money and exposure.
To begin with, a festival is “easy” because the band shows up with their gear. The festival organizers have already paid for the venue, the infrastructure, and the personnel on their end. The band (and I’m oversimplifying this every which way because this is a blog, not a dissertation) shows up and plays, and assumably they get paid (and I hope they get paid well) This is also a good reason for doing corporate gigs, as much as some fans despise the idea.
The bodies move like flies on a wall
On the other hand, festivals are kind of a “newish” thing in the Duran Duran arsenal of tricks. This is a band who likes to control their production, right down to the length of time they take the stage. I would imagine that festivals are pretty much the opposite. It has forced them to give up a little bit of that control in favor of learning how to play “on the fly”, with whatever circumstances are being thrown their way, if even just by the smallest bit.
As such, festivals are a new way for the band to reach people who might not normally attend their shows. It is probably a great way for the band to test unsafe waters. I mean, after all – I think fans are for the most part, a friendly crowd. If a song doesn’t play that well, perhaps we are more likely to forgive than a crowd of tens of thousands?? I would imagine the focus has to be 100%, and that takes honing the craft.
You want to run, but there’s no space at all
Festivals are likely a great way for the band to remain tuned-in and practiced. While I am sure there are fans saying “But why not just play in front of us?” I think the answer is simply that NOT playing in front of a friendly crowd is a great way to train. Sure, we can be hard on them. But we’re also very biased. A crowd that wouldn’t find themselves at a Duran Duran show is one that has to be won over, song by song.
I still hate festivals. This hasn’t changed since Voodoo or even Coachella, and it probably won’t change now. As alarming as it is to me – I’ve somehow gotten even OLDER since that time they played in the desert!! That doesn’t bode well for standing all-day sandwiched tightly within a potentially unruly, decades younger crowd, fueled by healthy (and unhealthy) doses of alcohol and other substances. I admire those than are not just willing, but ready to do it. I’ll wait until the kinder, gentler venues come along.
They’re madly searching for the door in your room
Now if I could only answer the more hotly debated topic of why the band continues to play more US shows. I tried answering this once, barely made it out alive, and have since chosen to leave it to the experts. It isn’t so much about finding a reason, as it is about finding one that many will accept. I’ll leave it for others to wrangle.