Experience: summer music festivals

Photos courtesy of Bre Cura.

As a student, one of the highlights of summer is the ability to enjoy music in ways you might not always have time for in your typical school-year schedule. Instead of cramming in a 2-hour show on an already busy weekend (and skipping out on your assignments), you actually have time to set aside for seeing some of your favorite bands. From block parties, to traveling music festivals, to week long concert experiences- the summer holds something for every kind of music lover. I was lucky enough to experience some of the most common forms of music festivals these past few months, attending and photographing Radio 104.5’s Summer Block Party, Sad Summer Festival, and Creation Festival. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the positives and negatives of each concert experience, and what to expect when attending.


Flora Cash at Radio 104.5’s Summer Block Party

Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 hosts the perfect, one day only way to experience great music. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s free! For the concert goer who doesn’t have the time or funds to spend on a typical show, Block Parties are the perfect way to satisfy your music cravings. With lineups and ticket raids announced ahead of time, fans have multiple chances to “win” tickets to the event at no cost to them. Setting up booths at local events and businesses, Radio 104.5 gives away tickets to their upcoming Block Parties. Bringing the community together in an entirely new and fresh way, these shows allow music enthusiasts to see artists they might already enjoy, but also exposes them to new and upcoming musicians as well.

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These shows take place rain or shine, so attendees should come prepared to weather, well, the weather! With temperatures hitting some record highs this summer, staying hydrated is key to outdoor events. Thankfully, Xfinity Live is fully equipped with food, drinks, water sprinklers and shaded areas to escape the sun/or rain. Local businesses set up tents and provide giveaways to concert goers, adding to the already incredible experience.


The Maine at Sad Summer Festival

“The entire atmosphere of the experience was very loving and it felt as though both the bands & the audience were just kids who loved music & were enjoying it together!! I remember hearing the end of The Maine’s set and thinking, ‘I can’t wait for next year.”’ – Eira M.

This summer, the first ever Sad Summer Festival made its way across America. With big names headlining such as The Maine, Mayday Parade, The Wonder Years and State Champs, there was a band there to satisfy almost every concert junkies musical cravings. Working a little differently than many other festivals, Sad Summer has few unique attributes, allowing it to stand out from the rest. Sad Summer works as a traveling, one day event. While you can attend in more than one location, you can expect to see the same artists, perhaps just in a different order. Lineups changed each night in terms of set times, and who closed out the show. Special guests whose attendance varied by location were invited to take the stage as openers for the regular performers. Keeping it fresh and exciting, many of the nights closer’s had a close connection to the city they were playing in. For example, The Wonder Years (a Philly based band), finished out the Philadelphia date’s evening with a roaring encore.

The Wonder Years at Sad Summer Festival

One of the highlights of Sad Summer was seeing the bands personal values displayed around the venues. Signs featuring definitions and examples of “consent” were posted near bathrooms, and reminded attendees that if their consent was not respected, to find an employee and seek help. Sad Summer also set up stands for non-profit organizations rooted locally at each of their shows, to help support the communities they were playing in.

Many are anticipating Sad Summer Fest to be one of the biggest scenes for punk, rock, and alternative music. If this summer proved anything, it was that Sad Summer Fest can hold its own, and it’s only direction from here is up.

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Tenth Avenue North at Creation Festival

Creation Festival was back this summer for their 40th annual gathering. Camping, rain, and sun are the staples of Creation Fest, and of course, the insanely talented lineups. Four entire days of music, speakers, and more. One of the largest Christian musical gatherings in the world, Creation Fest hosts anywhere from 50,000-100,000 guests every year. Guests are able to purchase week long tickets, or passes for a certain day of the festival.

One of the risks of a four day festival is that if you cannot afford to stay in a nearby hotel, you are required to camp, which most patrons choose to do. This does leave you exposed to the elements, and as it is held every June, you can either expect burning heat, or pouring rain. This summer, community was key as the festival was struck with an enormous storm, leaving camps destroyed. Skillet and Andy Mineo were set to close out the festival, and many wondered if it would be cancelled. Staff members and attendees sprung into action and helped to clean up the entire festival grounds, and while the lighting structures were destroyed in the storm, every artist scheduled to play that night was able to take the stage.

The unknown in terms of weather is balanced out by the numerous activities Creation has to offer. With booths hosted by popular radio stations, a festival styled dining area offering every fried food you could imagine, daily sessions for children and adults, and so much more- Creation has it all covered.

The following years festival is announced the last night of the week, and the lowest ticket prices are available to customers. Headliners and other musicians are announced continuously, keeping audiences on their toes in anticipation of the highlight of their summer.

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Bre Cura is a fourth-year student majoring in professional studies. BC902453@wcupa.edu

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