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  • Writer's pictureMarc Pulisci

Time to get back on the music festival tours

This is an article ‘Time to get back on the music festival tours’ by Marc Pulisci

As news about mutated coronavirus variants continues to break and the number of new cases are on the uptick leaving many of us feeling grim about the future, musicians and event promoters have remained upbeat about what the last quarter of the year will bring in terms of the music festival experience. Given that the president officially announced the end of COVID-19 during his 60 Minutes interview, music lovers are preparing to flock to their favorite events and get back on the festival bandwagon.

From annual big-name festivals to the intimate indie ones, you can rest assured that most of these music events will have health protocols firmly in place. Many will probably enforce the usual vaccination and booster protocols to ensure everyone's safety but perhaps sans social distancing or even face mask requirements.

Coachella and Bonnaroo already jump-started the year's first-half salvo, followed by a Rolling Loud festival that sparked controversy courtesy of DaBaby. However, the second half of 2022 still told festival-goers that there is more to witness in terms of impressive lineups. One is the assembly of Post Malone, Green Day, and SZA at Outside Lands in San Francisco just this August. Tyler, the Creator, also headlines the Made in America music festival in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, this month.

For a curated list of the best music festivals so far this year, check out these three best picks:

Noise Pop, February 21-27, San Francisco, California

The Noise Pop Music & Arts Festival transforms the top venues in the Bay Area into a massive music festival ground where numerous films, art exhibits, happy hours, and concerts occur throughout the seven-day San Francisco and the East Bay marathon. Attendees can choose between individual events or purchase an all-access badge for everything.

Well-known performer and cultural icon Azealia Banks ended the annual music festival on a Sunday night with a stellar performance in San Francisco. Banks performed hits including '212' and 'Anna Wintour,' along with deep cuts like 'No Problems' and some new fan favorites.

Festival attendees enjoyed highlighted sets, most of whom were dancing fans inspired by performances from young producers Vegyn and Sega Bodega. At the same time, Berlin techno giants LSDXOXO and VTSS hosted a late-night blowout, unlike anything the city had seen in a long time.

Lollapalooza, July 28-31, Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

Another annual music festival highly anticipated by music fans all over the country, this year's four-day Lollapalooza attracted hundreds of thousands of attendees. The 2022 lineup included Dua Lipa, Metallica, and Green Day, among hundreds of others. Festival goers rose to the occasion by dressing up to celebrate the music festival's signature eccentricities, from those that came in inflatable cow costumes to neon-lighted suits.

For the first time since the epidemic began, there were no masks or immunization restrictions at the festival, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot encouraged attendees to enjoy themselves and spend money in the city.

For the first night's headliner, Metallica attracted heavy metal enthusiasts that flocked in droves to bang heads to fan favorite 'Master of the Puppets' with a dedication to Eddie Munson from "Stranger Things," who sings the song in the series, as well as material for both new and old fans.

By Friday, Machine Gun Kelly played classics off his most recent album and brought out Avril Lavigne for 'Bois Lie.' Another headliner, Dua Lipa, came out in a sparkling outfit giving fans a mix of new and old favorites off Future Nostalgia and her debut self-titled album.

Saturday headliner Willow gave a short set containing a mix of songs from across her repertoire, while J. Cole delivered a mix of new songs and fan favorites from his earlier albums.

Finally, Green Day closed the festival with a bang on Sunday, and South Korean headliner J-Hope served as a last-minute replacement for Doja Cat.

Despite some local activists' claim that the four-day festival violated the city's recent 10 p.m. curfew, local authorities waived it for locals and guests, reiterating that Lollapalooza was advantageous for the city's youth and tourism efforts.

Firefly, September 22-25, The Woodlands, Dover, Delaware

Now a decade old this year, the annual Firefly music festival welcomed thousands of attendees this past weekend who traveled through tall gates and into a new world where urban life seemed like a myth. Only 90 miles from College Park via shuttle bus, the Woodlands featured, among others, four stages that featured Halsey on Thursday; My Chemical Romance, Weezer, Avril Lavigne, All Time Low, Zedd, and Big Sean on Friday; Green Day, Yungblud, Bleachers, and Haim on Saturday; and Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Conan Gray, and T-Pain on Sunday.

In response to previous concerns about the shortage of female musicians in the top slots on the bill, Firefly made sure it had an ample number of headliners from the fairer sex on its 10th year. Among them, Willow performed on the weekend and the festival's youngest performer, DJ Sophia Rocks, a prodigy turntablist who started the Saturday set at the Pavilion Stage. But this year's edition also featured a drag show along with brunch and bingo dinner hosted by Jasmine Kenndie of Rupaul's Drag Race fame. Firefly has always been a very LGBTQIA+ positive event. As community members carried the rainbow flag with large letters spelling out "pride," Philly brass band Snacktime led the gathering across the grounds while playing Whitney Houston and Crystal Waters covers. The set made for remarkably uplifting action right before the revelries ended.

Other highlights this year included a newly built rotating main stage to allow for a significantly shorter turnaround time between acts. Attendees also enjoyed a wide variety of gig grub, and so much more.

The rainy weather couldn't hinder the success of this year's music festival despite appearing to end on a low note as attendees chose to wait out the rains in their tents and vehicles. For a moment, it seemed like the rest of the weekend was about to be canceled. Fortunately, the bands played on according to schedule once the skies cleared.


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