Festival purists: Your independent world is crumbling to bits and pieces. Save yourselves!!!
In what appears to be a murky freeze-frame out of every festivalgoer’s worst nightmare, yet another move from the nation’s largest entertainment overlord, Live Nation, looms over the fate of what’s to become of festivals everywhere.
A few days ago it was reported the behemoth company bit a controlling chunk out of Bonnaroo Festival’s meaty thigh. Bonnaroo is an event that takes places annually over four days at Great Stage Park (“The Farm”) in Manchester, Tennessee and is one of the largest in the world on a per attendee scale — with actual festival goers in the range of more than 80,000.
“We feel like having a partner that brings to the table all of the knowledge, scale and assets that they do puts Bonnaroo in an amazing position to continue to be one of the leaders in the space and provide the best fan experience possible,” says Bonnaroo co-producer Rick Farman in an interview with Billboard.
The two entities jumping between the sheets together is the latest in a trend of Live Nation buying up music festivals in an obvious effort to jump on the skillet while the butter is still fresh. Late last year it bought a controlling interest in concert promoter C3 presents, giving it access to both Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. Also, in the summer of 2013, it was revealed Live Nation and the Electric Daisy Carnival’s promoter Insomniac Events would be in cahoots for events moving forward.
With Bonnaroo, the festival rakes in an estimated $25 million dollars each year; it’s no wonder why a company would look towards it (and the festival culture in general) to heavy-up those gunny sacks. It’s a real investment, and one the company is likely looking at for long term development because — fuck it — the festival madness isn't going anywhere.
The partnership, and the players behind it, assure its fanbase the merger is nothing more than business as usual, and the access to more funds and resources is a way to fast-track future ideas, such as giving The Farm a facelift with added structures and upping the ante in user experience.
For more information on the way loaded funds are affecting the festival culture, look to our May 2015 issue and an article titled “Until The Festie Bubble Bursts” — where we examine the current trend and try to put everyone in a terrible mood with our blatant cynicism.
FUN FACT OTD: This sentence is on the Bonnaroo Wikipedia page:
“IN 2004 Bonaroo diverted 120 tons of trash by taking recycling so seriously. “