After spending my past summer in northern Spain, I cannot help but be nostalgic of the many cultures and experiences I got to expose myself to while abroad. My host town Oviedo was a small town and had many cultural differences and norms. I had many opportunities last summer to travel to other places in Spain and throughout the rest of Europe in my 12 weeks abroad, and I learned a lot. One thing that sticks with me all the time is the music. Europeans love their music and for one reason or another, I cannot stop thinking about this music festival I went to in London called Lovebox. Everything about Lovebox just felt like a dream. It topped any American music festival experience I have had, and that is a lot. Here are just a few reasons why European festivals are better in nature than American ones.
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival only sells weekend passes, and those are a whopping $400. Make no mistake; it does not end there. Indio, California is a high-profile area and housing can get expensive for America’s most iconic music festival. It is also necessary at Coachella to purchase a shuttle pass to get to and from the venue without fighting to get a taxi or Uber. East London’s two-day 2016 edition of Lovebox offered both weekend passes and single-day tickets (what I purchased) for £50 and was set in Victoria Park with many transportation options available. Not to mention, you are getting a whole more bang for your buck with the amenities at Lovebox. Sometimes I feel like Coachella purposely ups its prices because of the corporate label mindset and drive.
Because Coachella is the most popular American music festival, it is also the most crowded. The Goldenvoice-promoted festival has shattering attendance levels and the 2017 festival is about to be a whole lot more crowded. Indio’s city council approved a proposal in April of last year to raise the attendance cap at Coachella from 99,000 to 125,00o in a 3-0 vote. Trust me when I say in terms of personal space at a festival, less is more. The fewer the people, the more enjoyable the experience can be. When I walked into Lovebox in July, at first I thought I had walked into a carnival. Seriously, there were rides. The venue consisted of areas woven throughout the massive park with everything from glitter stations to gold bathtubs. There was something so liberating about being able to have so much space. We could have missed every set that day and been entertained with all the choices of things to do. Want a better way to visualize Victoria Park? You can access the festival’s gallery from 2016 here.
Lovebox 2016 was a rave of two halves and quite arguably the best thing I did while abroad. However, it is not just about Coachella and Lovebox. America has tons of other music festivals that I have grown up counting the days for a lineup to come out and anticipate a weekend to remember. Europe too has many other music festivals that parallel or outdo the music festival experience that I got at Lovebox. I am talking about Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland is a global electronic music festival in the heart of Belgium that is notably one of the biggest and most celebrated music festivals in the world. Tomorrowland is so big that it now has a Tomorrowland in Brazil and the United States. However, attending Tomorrowland some time in my life is now a priority because of the mission it has to use the power of music to “unite the people of tomorrow and connect souls from all over the world.” The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, joined the People of Tomorrow and his words of wisdom served a symbol of global unity in 2015 when he explained that Tomorrowland’s mission aligned with the core values of the United Nations: dignity, respect, diversity and solidarity. You can watch the video of his global message of peace here. That is why I love music. Music has the ability to connect people from all types of cultural backgrounds and make them have memories and friendships to last a lifetime. It is one of the only art forms in the world that can reach so many people on so many different levels. It is the common ground amongst many differences. It is a beautiful thing, and it can help us guide the way to a happy and healthy life.