All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

(Photo courtesy of

By Zelda Dominguez

I heard a pastor say, “Have you ever noticed an alcohol commercial or billboard?” He pointed out the fun they project and the ad filled with beautiful girls. The pastor ended with, “but why don’t they show the reality of what that girl looks like drunk, passed out, or barfing her guts out?”

It’s marketing a product and that’s big business. They use emotional branding masterfully to make us fall in love with their brand. It’s exactly the opposite of what the behavior in the ad suggests. The advertisers are selling their product and it is their job to erase any negative aspects. Don’t be deceived. All the more reason we need to be wise and discerning, not always taking the sales pitch automatically as truth but instead, think about doing some research first.

In the same, way music festivals and raves have become big business. In 2014, North American Corporation spent $1.3 billion sponsoring music venues and festivals. Anheuser-Busch InBev led the charge, sponsoring almost one-third of music-based properties. “We aim to win the hearts and minds of a new generation of consumers — young adults of legal drinking age,” said Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Super concerts have come a long way from the first Woodstock, attracting thousands of people, now marketing an experience. 32 million are attending U.S. festivals every year — more than the entire population of Texas. Imagine there are festivals for every genre, and now globally, which aren’t included in that number.

Last year’s Coachella brought in $95 million over the course of  just two weekends. A new trend catering to millennials who want to avoid the tents and mud, can have for a price, special VIP perks now referred to as “glamping.” But attending a music festival is not the same as going on a relaxing vacation. This year, the Frye Festival was billed as a luxury experience in the Bahamas. People arrived to find no infrastructure and due to poor management and planning, nothing was ready. They cancelled the festival but it was too late for the people who had already arrived to the island. People tweeted the actuality of their so-called “lavish experience.”

Here are a few things, they don’t advertise so you can fully know what to expect. So, before you buy your ticket, take a look at these music festival reality checks.

Plan According to Your Budget

Count the cost. Once you decide what type of genre and festival you’d like to attend, figure out your budget. Plan what is reasonable and what you can afford. Bigger festival tickets run from $335.00- $558.00 and VIP tickets and privileges run from $1208.00 – $1749.00. Then figure in air tickets if that’s a factor, transportation, housing or tenting, and food. Assess what are the reasons why you’re going, can you afford it, and don’t get into debt. The Bible speaks of who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the costs to see if there’s enough money to finish.

What to Wear

Depending what event it is, you will see from wild costumes, to pasties, remember you’ll be standing for long hours in varied weather, so dress for comfort. Also wear a closed-toe shoe. I know you want to look cute but practicality is key. You will be walking around in dirt, mud, possibly vomit, trash, or poop. You never know what you’ll be stepping into or what the likelihood is of someone stepping on your toes, so dress accordingly.

Be Ready for Unpredictability

The weather can be scorching hot by day, or rain and cool at night. With wall to wall people, expect sweat, grime and body odor in the air. Drugs are everywhere at a festivals; it doesn’t mean you have to participate, but expect unpredictable behavior by some. Imagine possibly someone obscuring your view with their iPad, iPhone, or girlfriend on their shoulder blocking your favorite artist. How about those people who still are into mosh pits and lunge themselves in front of you into the crowd. Maybe you’ll see a celeb or most likely people really showing PDA (public display of affection). Also, prepare for being apart of a meat market where many are looking for someone to hook up with. With those dancers wildly getting their groove on, you can also lose your friends, wallet, keys or sanity! Anything is possible and some things are a definite, including long lines for food, bathrooms, and vendors, overflowing porta – potties, and no more toilet paper. Also, running into a lot of people with little clothing is expected. When we follow Christ, we cannot simply follow our own inclinations. It is important to note that we cannot follow Him and the world’s way at the same time.

Be Prepared

Bring cash because many food trucks and vendors don’t accept credit or debit cards. Expect a security check and high prices. Wear a fanny pack or light backpack. Hand sanitizer and baby wipes can be very useful. Take sunscreen and an empty water canteen you can refill. Don’t forget your phone charger and download the festival app to familiarize yourself with the venue. Check artists lineup so you can plan who you don’t want to miss.

Things are not always as they appear to be. Like anything new, hopefully you investigate and check things out before moving forward. Don’t be pressured by friends, or manipulated by media.  If you are thinking of, or planning to go to a music festival for the first time, consider some of these tips.