Festivals used to be great

Festivals used to be great (why?)

This Sunday, is the 2nd try of the “rain or shine” Hoboken Spring Arts & Music Festival (which was canceled due to rain that didn’t really happen). Plus Leon Russell is gone, and Ian Hunter is in. Whatever.

More my point is the history of festivals. I think we’ve opined about this in a similar fashion over the past decade but here’s today’s version.

Festivals brought “new” and “fun” to the people

Festivals in the “old days” were different. Why? Well, precisely because they were in the “old days.”

In the old days, people didn’t have instant gratification, nor did they have the incredible selection of things, products, food, entertainment, etc. Life was simpler.

And when the “festival” came to town (or nearby), it was an opportunity for ordinary families to have some “excitement” that was not part of both every day life – or their available options that didn’t require large expenses.

Thus, it was an avenue for most people to “experience” something new or different.

Hoboken arts music festival played out

Today? Festivals are NOT what they used to be

In today’s modern world with cheap and easy travel, instant entertainment, and almost limitless ability to acquire anything from anywhere, “festivals” are a bit outdated.

Maybe not too outdated for those who have exponentially reduced their range by switching to bikes, but I digress.

But don’t you see how the whole scope of the festival has changed?

Sure – it’s always been about money for participants, but the audience and methodology has changed.

A roving shopping mall and entertainment complex

Let’s first think about who “profits” from said events.

Back in the day it was a way for some people to peddle their wares, make a living while showing people things they’ve never seen before.

Today? Most heavy (and proficient) internet users know pretty much a little bit about a lot of things. A lot more than days past.

Back in the day (like we already said), it provided “slow,” or oridanary basic communities with some excitement. Included with most festivals are fantasmagorical rides for kids, horrible food like cotton candy, and so on. Good or bad, it was certainly a “big” event… Most people went and diverted their minds from reality.

Festivals add almost nothing “new” to your life anymore

Like we previously mentioned – the festivals of days past were a “Tsunami of new!” crap for everyone.

Today’s festivals offer practically nothing new that you can’t already get almost instantly. Food, products, etc. About the only thing going here these days is the live music – which is average at best.

It’s just a marketing gambit with multiple profiteers. The City of Hoboken, all the vendors (most whom are from out of town, and can hurt some local shops), police overtime, etc.

On the flip side, sure – it may bring excitement to some people here in town. There are options for kids (who need non-stop entertainment), and many people might just be too busy to find some things otherwise. “It’s something to do,” one might say. Or “no harm, no foul, the more the merrier.”

But what do you think? Are city festivals like these played out? Or will there always be a market for them?

Leave a Reply

2 Comments on "Festivals used to be great"

4 months 18 days ago

I do agree that the festivals have become watered down. But there are some diamonds in the rough, it just takes some effort and patience.

Festivals further away from the big cities are usually more home-grown and unique.

4 months 18 days ago

Well you make interesting points. When I contemplated the flat/dullness of what used to be a nice festival my mind went to Gerry Fallo the long time Director of Cultural affairs. A creative certainly knows how to pull together an interesting festival regardless of the times. I think the dullness of the admin overshadows the creativity of the artistic community and what it is capable of. Just my 2 cents.