Tuesday, May 18, 2021
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The Era of the Festival Fugazi

We all know by now that 2020 sucks, and it sucks more than any year our lives for the most part. The lockdowns and social distancing have hit the dance music community particularly hard. The music and events we love are built around togetherness, grandiosity, social connections, and epic production. Needless to say, we are all yearning for a return to festivals. We are looking for any opportunity to dance together again. Event promotion groups know this, and they’re pumping out events and lineups left and right. The thing is, any festival right now is just a “fugazi”.

Many of you will recall this classic scene from The Wolf of Wall Street, and it perfectly describes the situation we find ourselves in with festivals right now.

Fugayzi, fugazi. It’s a whazy. It’s a woozie. It’s fairy dust. It doesn’t exist. It’s never landed. It is no matter. It’s not on the elemental chart. It’s not fucking real.

The Wolf of Wall Street

These events are barely real at this point, so promotional groups can announce whatever they want. After festival season 2020 got rescheduled to Fall 2020 and then canceled anyway, we became skeptical. Yet, these cancelations and reschedules are still happening, now with festivals scheduled for 2021. So that festival that just got announced for April or May of 2021 sounds great, but who’s to say if it’s real. Even Summer 2021 festivals are pushing their dates out further.

Too Easy to Announce a Festival

Until one decent-sized festival occurs as planned, every festival is just a “fugazi”. It’s an idea and nothing more. How hard is it to get a bunch of DJs on a flier with a time and place that is totally subject to change? After what happened in 2020, people have learned that cancelations are possible, maybe even probable. They have to know that nothing is a sure thing right now. Sure, let’s reschedule this US festival to April and let’s do it in Mexico at a resort! So you see festivals pumping out lineups, throwing up teaser videos with clips from 2019. It all sounds amazing and you desperately want to go. However, this is partly an effort to sell some tickets that provide the company some much-needed funding to stay afloat. Your ticket purchase is a loan to Insomniac or Electric Zoo or whoever.

The 2022 Events

Some festivals, perhaps wisely, have decided they’re gonna take the safe route and skip 2021 too. So you have festivals announcing dates and lineups for 2022. It’s almost enough to make you laugh. I mean, it’s still 2020! Think about all that can happen in your life between now and festival season 2022. Even if the festival is going to take place as planned, it’s so far off that it’s pointless to even think about right now. Do you really look at a lineup today and say “I need to buy this ticket now so I can see Illenium in 2 years”?

I won’t call out any individual events because what else can we expect them to do at this point? It’s not necessarily a scam, because they do want to hold the events. They want to be able to return and they need funding. It’s not necessarily wrong of them to try hosting events, and these festivals need months of lead time to be successful either way. These companies have been shuttered by the government with almost no help or hope, and they’re the last in line to re-open. However, the festivalgoers need to proceed with caution.

Traveling for Festivals Is Still Iffy

There is temptation to buy a ticket and book a flight to a destination festival. Maybe April or May will be fine, and some places are lax about the lockdowns – but you never know what can happen. As NYE approaches, “party destinations” around the Americas are clamping down. Tulum’s ZAMNA Festival was rescheduled to April with no word on refunds. Puerto Vallarta just implemented a curfew and curtailed all parties. Are you willing to buy a ticket and book flights and hotels when the event might get canceled at the last minute? We’ve already seen boutique destination festivals get canceled, like BPM Malta.

The end result of all of this is that right now when a festival announces pretty much anything, even out into 2022, it’s just meaningless to me. I don’t even get that FOMO “I have to go” type feeling I would normally get upon seeing an amazing festival lineup. I want to go to a festival again more than anything, but in the current environment, it’s not happening. It’s just words on Facebook or an old video clip from the good times in an effort to get some money.

The good thing is, there will be a festival (hopefully soon) that actually takes place as planned. Once that happens, we will have our world back. Then you will be able to see an announcement and book your trip with much less worry. Some group of ticket buyers will be the first to luck out and attend a real music festival again. Let’s hope that happens soon.

Scott Lombardo
| South Florida Construction & Business Litigation Attorney | JD/MBA | PIKE | ? | Trancefamily | Technoteam |
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