6 Reasons To Love Going To A Smaller Music Festival
by Chelsea Holdom
When summer rolls in, it’s near impossible to avoid the social media hype that surrounds the biggest music festivals of the season. If you’ve got a serious case of festival FOMO but don’t think your summer budget can handle going to a massive event, check out why trading in the glitz and glamour for a smaller, more intimate festival could be the right move for you! As a bonus: Check out the announcement of Motion Notion’s 2017 artist lineup!
There’s no better reason to check out a smaller music festival than the diversity of their lineups. With less ticket revenue, smaller festivals have a tighter artist budget to work with, so they search far and wide for hard hitting headliners as well as plenty of underground and undiscovered talent. (Just think, you can say you knew them first!) Some even offer competitions for up-and-coming artists to win the chance to debut at a festival, and most will include some form of workshops and group activities, such as yoga, in their lineups!
Check Out: Motion Notion, an electronic festival of 4,000 to 5,000 people nestled in Golden, British Columbia, Canada. We can announce the just released headliners, featuring Datsik, Avalon, Dirtyphonics, Koan Sound, Minnesota, and the M Machine. The festival shows huge support for the local funk scene with performances from Defunk and The Funk Hunters, and have curated artists from all corners of the globe, like Slynk from Australia and K+Lab from New Zealand to name a few. They even have a full lineup of workshops including hula hooping!
After a long day of cutting shapes on the dance floor and walking what feels like miles between stages, the long trek back to your campsite becomes a daunting task. However, one of the many perks of going to a smaller music festival is that the venue size reflects the attendee numbers, and this means less travel time across the festival and camp grounds. All that energy you save on walking between stages and camp can now be spent on dancing your socks off!
Check Out: Standon Calling, a boutique festival capped at 10,000 people, is held on the grounds of a 16th century mansion in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. The campgrounds are located right at the site entrance and there’s even boutique camping available on site, as well as a pool and hot tub!
The Lack Of Commercialization
As if we aren’t bombarded with enough advertising and product placements in our everyday lives, massive music festivals go hand in hand with massive amounts of sponsorship from giant corporations. Want to take a weekend off from over-commercialization? Smaller festivals will often opt for local sponsorship or even no sponsorship, relying solely on ticket sales to fund their events. This creates a more intimate and authentic feel and is a welcome break from corporate reality.
Check Out: Shambhala, a 10,000 to 12,000 strong festival held on the Salmo River Ranch in British Columbia, Canada. In its 20th year, Shambhala continues to pride itself on not accepting any form of corporate sponsorship, staying true to the community and music culture.
The Environmental Awareness
Music festivals may be the most fun events of the summer, but it’s not often that they’re the most eco-friendly. With the earth in its current state, smaller festival organizers are taking it upon themselves to create environmentally conscious fun events. Recycling programs, biodegradable food containers and utensils and even environmental add-ons to ticket sales are just some of the ways smaller festivals are helping to reduce their carbon footprint and raise awareness within their communities.
Check Out: California Roots Music & Arts Festival in Monterey, California, which has a maximum capacity of 11,000, has initiatives in place to be a zero-waste event, such as composting food waste, recycling programs and the sale of reusable pints and water bottles. You can even add a Redwood Pass to your ticket purchase, meaning two redwood trees will be planted in the nearby forests!
The Local Support
Smaller festivals are known for having closer ties to the communities they operate in, meaning great things for festival-goers. For starters, you are introduced to food and drink you might not get to try at a massive festival, sourced from local farms, food trucks and breweries. Then there are the local vendors selling all sorts of hand made wearables and crafts. You also get the chance to support the local community and economy, with many festivals getting involved in local charities, making everyone a winner.
Check Out: Blissfields is held on a dairy farm near Winchester, United Kingdom, attracting around 5,000 attendees. They have a wide array of local vendors, such as organic gourmet ice cream from four miles down the road, diner style classics with locally sourced ingredients, and a bar run by Paul from the local pub.
The (Lack Of) Crowds
We had to save the most obvious reason for last, but with fewer people in attendance, smaller festivals have the benefit of feeling far less crowded. You’ll have the pleasure of seeing your favorite artists without having to camp out front and center hours before their set starts, and when they’re finished you won’t have to fight through a jungle of people to make it to the next stage. On top of this, smaller lines for the bar, food and toilets means more time for dancing the night away.
Check out: 515 Alive, held at Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa, and hosting up to 10,000 people in its first year of providing onsite camping. A new venue for the 15th anniversary celebrations will make for an even better party with even smaller crowds!