International Festivals Unite Music Fans

April Issue: Global Edition

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A lot of people are familiar with the popular music festivals in the United States including Firefly (Dover, Delaware), Coachella (Indio, California), and Ultra (Miami, Florida). But these three make up only a few out of hundreds of festivals held throughout the year in places around the world. From Melbourne, Australia to New York, and from Seoul, South Korea to Stockholm, Sweden, millions of music lovers flock to these cities, ready to enjoy and celebrate the music of their favorite genres and artists. These festivals range in size and encompass many genres of music including Country, Electronic Dance Music or EDM, Rock, Jazz, Hip-hop, Folk, and more.

Sonar, a music festival in Barcelona, Spain, is ranked 5th on a list of top 50 music festivals in the world by the travel site, Timeout. Founded in 1994, Sónar is an electronic and advanced music festival. It attracts some of the biggest names in Electronic music every year including Skrillex, Diplo, and Pet Shop Boys. In 2015, with around 120,000 people in attendance, the festival not only consisted of live musical performances, but also a technology and record fair, video art projections, and art installations. Its founders had the goal from the beginning to create not just a concert experience but a place where aspiring electronic artists, established artists, and fans can come together to enjoy three days of fun and learning at the same time.

Across the globe, Ultra Music Festival takes place in Seoul, South Korea. Some of the notable names performing at the 2016 festival include Afrojack and Avicii. 100,000 EDM fans took a pilgrimage to the Olympic Stadium Complex in Seoul for the festival. The Ultra Worldwide company also has annual festivals in Tokyo, Rio, Miami, and Johannesburg. When asked about his impression of International music festivals, Andrew Conces ‘16 said, “I have heard a lot of great things about them and hope to go to one someday. A lot of people have told me that the atmosphere is very different from music festivals in the US. I definitely want to experience it.”

Unlike other festivals, Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland attracts listeners of Jazz from different countries, religions, and ethnicities. Lasting over two weeks, the festival attracts around 200,000 people every year and has featured notable performers including Lionel Richie, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, and John Legend.

Skyrocketing ticket, food, and campsite prices do not scare festival regulars away because attendance increases steadily each year. Although international festivals attract different crowds, each brings thousands of people together to enjoy their favorite music.

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