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Music Festival Mania Explained

Why great musical events are sweeping the Bay Area in August.

You’re not imagining things—outdoor music festivals are everywhere. This month alone, you’ve got the brand-new First City Festival in Monterey and Outside Lands, expected to attract record crowds to Golden Gate Park. And these come on the heels of May’s BottleRock debut, the third Phono del Sol in July, and last year’s Noisette. “The [increase] has been happening for a while,” says Goldenvoice’s David Lefkowitz, the guy behind First City. Festival paychecks are now artists’ most reliable income (thanks, Spotify), and audiences like the binge-y, noncommittal format: “It’s short attention theater,” Lefkowitz says. Each of this month’s fests has its own vibe: reliably epic (Outside Lands) vs. indie boutique (First City). Because that’s another thing audiences like: plenty of options.


Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco

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