2018’s Festival Season Strikes

California’s festival goers debate over which brings the best bang for their buck


A student holds a ticket to this year’s Blurry Vision festival.

Zack Hage , LETH Writer

Coachella, Smokers Fest, and some new names like Blurry Vision are just some of the many festivals heading to California this year, creating a more competitive West Coast scene for music fans than previously assumed.

I’m unsure if I should go due to Blurry Vision with my friends due to me not knowing many of the names and it being more than 100 dollars.”

— Mitchell Hansen

Due to scalpers and high prices, the decision for most is to decide on one festival amongst a group of friends. This has become  more hectic considering that two heavy hitters, Outside Lands in San Francisco and FYF Fest in Los Angeles, have yet to announce their slates of artists. In fact, it is not uncommon for students to complain about a certain lineup, if they have bought tickets in advance.

“I remember hearing students complaining about last years Outside Lands lineup and its headliners,” senior Clayton Conover said. That year featured The Who, Metallica, and a Tribe Called Quest– acts not as recent and popular as some might have hoped for.

There are, of course, festivals who have shared their lineups, which represent the growth in popularity that hip-hop has experienced in the past couple of years. The aforementioned Blurry Vision and Smoker’s Club only feature R&B/hip-hop acts, and Coachella’s “big three” were all from this genre. Artists featured on these stages range from The Weekend, Beyonce, and SZA all the way to more hardcore, mosh pit placements like 2 Chainz, Lil Pump, and Eminem. It is the rest of the lineups that have some students like senior Mitchell Hansen concerned.

“I’m unsure if I should go due to Blurry Vision with my friends due to me not knowing many of the names and it being more than 100 dollars,” he said.

Conversely, some are more ecstatic towards such lineup. Blurry Vision is letting indie artists share the same stage with Billboard chart-toppers, a move that has been widely appreciated, as Coachella separates certain stages by a performer’s popularity.

“I’m not going to Blurry Vision on Sunday. Their indie mix then is one of the reasons for that,” JP Cometorg, a university freshman, said.

Some students’ plan to gravitate towards lesser-known artists during California’s upcoming festival proves that many festivals have recently been struggling with a lack of identity. Multiple festivals across the U.S. have locked a lot of the same headliners (which usually include Eminem, The Killers, and more), and this problem is even spilling into some of the general lineups. Boston Calling, Bonnaroo and Firefly have been identified as the worst offenders, although these are not located in the Golden State.

Nevertheless, 2018’s festival lineup for California is a bit more expansive, albeit still centered around recent music trends. It is uncommon to see as many entirely new festivals pop up at this time, and the indie genre continues to find its way into these events, even wedged between genre and artist reliance.

“Blurry Vision has a great, diverse lineup Saturday as opposed to Sunday, I’d like to see that continue more in other festivals,” said JP Cometorg.