A Summer of Live(stream) Music

Summer festival season is upon us. For the past few months, we’ve been crying over lineups (and subsequently over our bank accounts) and now that the season is here, those of us music fans who weren’t so lucky as to have acquired coveted passes to these beloved festivals are forced to swallow the fact that they are happening without us (and maybe release some more tears).

Fortunately (praise technology!) these tears are a thing of the past.


For the past few years, YouTube has partnered with a variety of well-known summer music festivals (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza) to provide a live broadcast of their lineups. With two or three channels of livestream hosted on the festival account, a majority of beloved acts are covered. There have been a few upsets in the past (‘le gasp, they’re not streaming _____??’). It's true even with the technology and streaming capabilities available today, it’s impossible to broadcast every set to keep every fan pleased. Still, it’s still a music-fan-on-a-budget’s paradise, and while it certainly doesn’t compare to actually being there, it comes pretty darn close.

It’s a compromise that gives us many desirable conveniences: thriftiness, luxury, privacy, and the music itself. How else can you dance pants-less to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the privacy of your own home, with the luxury of air conditioning and icy cold lemonade, pretending you’re front row, all without spending a dime? See, the livestream opens many doors that aren’t even possible to the festival go-ers themselves. I’ve learned that with festivals like these, it’s all about the experience. While the people who actually got to attend the festival get to brag about being there, you get to talk about your own unique festival experience. Sure, it might have been via YouTube. You might have been in varying degrees of dress, alone in your apartment (Lollapalooza livestream in the nude, anyone?). But no matter how you experienced it, it is your own unique story to gush about. Maybe next year, you’ll make it to the festival. But for now, revel in the livestream and make it an experience all your own. The music brings us together no matter the medium.


DISCLAIMER: This is me trying to occupy your brain with my music taste. Radiohead performing the breathtaking “Give Up the Ghost” at Bonnaroo 2012.

Image composed by author (individual images via here and here).



Hailey Simpson is currently a reporter for BARE Blog. A first year Media Studies major from SoCal. When not scrawling in her notebook or getting used to the widespread use of 'hella', she enjoys concerts, British and comedy TV, drinking tea, and exploring the Bay.

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