Two Extremes: This Year’s Conflicting Concert Trends

Ashley Winward

2014 is here in full swing, and as always, I’m looking for concert tickets. This really isn’t a “new year” thing for me, but more of a constant obsession to see my favorite artists perform live and in front of my face.

In my online search for winter and spring tours, I’ve noticed an interesting split between the types of concerts musicians are putting on; either small intimate shows or larger festival setups. Both have their pros and cons, leaving the avid concert goer with the ultimate choice of which show might be the one they spend their holiday cash on.

Festivals have been a staple of my concert-going experience every summer, seeing as I’ve had a running date with the Vans Warped Tour five years straight. I’ve noticed recently, however, that festivals have not only become more of a year- round trend, but also have been popping up in new locations across the country.

The first festival of 2014 already took place a couple of weeks ago; Holy Ship, the EDM festival in Florida, which was held on a docked cruise ship in Miami. The South is primarily dominating the festival market right now with their warmer weather, as well as festival cruiselines like the Weezer Cruise and Paramore’s Parahoy! But once March hits, there will be artists flocking shows like Coachella, Firefly, Rock on the Range, Riot Fest, The Vans Warped Tour and many more for the rest of the year.

Many love festivals for their atmosphere and the ability to see multiple acts for a cheaper price than buying individual tickets. You also have the chance to see new bands you’ve never heard before and have a better chance to meet your favorites that may be wandering around the festival grounds. I’ve met some of my favorite bands at Warped Tour and already have my ticket to go this July.

There are downsides to festivals though; there is always the chance that two performers you wanted to see will have overlapping set times, and with many of the full weekend festivals, you have to choose only one day to go because the tickets are so expensive.

On the other side of the spectrum is the rise of a popular trend; the intimate acoustic venue show. Basically take any pop-punk/pop-rock performer who has the ability to sell out an arena show, put them in a smaller venue they haven’t played since they “made it,” and make the ticket market twice as limited as the usual ticket availability or more. Add in the fact that these shows are special and will never happen again? Dates sell, and fast.

Paradise Fears had their acoustic show in the city sell out in less than a minute…so they opened a second show that same day, which sold just as fast. Yellowcard is going out on their second run of their Ocean Avenue Acoustic tour, and The Summer Set is out touring their album Legendary Unplugged. The Maine and All Time Low are also touring small shows in venues they haven’t been to in years.

I recently went to see the Wonder Years over the holiday for their Ugly Sweater Acoustic holiday show and it was amazing.

If you can actually get a ticket to these shows, you are able to see a side of a band you love that you’ve never seen. It’s truly an experience for the diehard fan. Plus acoustic shows are just raw, beautiful and unique.

The downside to this is that some people aren’t into the small acoustic sets, but it’s the only time these bands might be touring for a while. Also some of these pop-punk fans like the music for what they are; loud and crazy, not quiet and slowed down.

My opinion? I like both types of shows for what they are, but in the bitter cold of winter I’m missing my summer festivals. Which would you choose?