2010-19: Rise Of The Festival-Industrial Complex

Festivals are now a cornerstone of dance music culture around the world: weekends where day turns to night turns to day, where the experience of listening and dancing feels unbounded, pleasantly surreal. All the familiar dance music platitudes about escapism, hedonism and community start to feel possible again—or at least more possible than they do when you’re shoulder-to-shoulder in an over-priced club in the city.

It’s hard to imagine now, but at the turn of this century, festivals just weren’t that big a deal. There were plenty of them, obviously, including massive dance jamborees like Creamfields and Tribal Gathering in the UK. But taken as a whole, they didn’t have the same cultural penetration, nor the same influence on summer calendars. The turning point, in Britain at least, was probably Glastonbury 2002: the year the “super-fence” went up, and with it a sudden veneer of exclusivity around a festival that was previously best known for hippies, mud baths and hordes of freeloaders, who now had to fork out £90 to get through the 12-feet-tall barrier…

Read the feature on Resident Advisor (January 2020)


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