From the Barstool of the Publisher – May, 2007


Summer is upon us. (Yes, I know that it snowed just a few days ago but I’m in denial about that, and denial is a very wonderful place.)

This month’s Festival Guide solidifies that soon we’ll be leaving our dark, dank clubs behind for the comfort and fresh air of our favorite outdoor venues. One of the most exciting things about that, in addition to the simple fact that it’s much cooler to see a show under the stars than under fuzzy sound insulated ceilings, is that this year’s festival schedule is beginning to show more diversity than it has in years.

With such a heavy focus on bluegrass and jam events over the last few years, some of the other genres have been left out, and it looks like the pendulum is finally starting (just barely starting) to swing the other way.
Case in point is Monolith. The Denver Post has already said that the festival will be the coolest thing to hit Red Rocks in years and there hasn’t even been an announcement about the line-up yet.

I have some insider information that I’m not allowed to share, but rest assured if only 10 percent of it actually comes to fruition, the festival is going to be amazing beyond words.

Even the festivals that have long been the jam-based lords of summer camp are shifting their line-ups. Bonnaroo has The Police, The White Stripes and Wolfmother on their bill. Even the Lawrence, Kans. equivalent of the ’Roo, Wakarusa, has Son Volt and Martin Sexton on its roster (granted they also have Yonder Mountain String Band and Widespread Panic). But the fact that these bastions of jam are including other acts makes it safe to theorize that future years are going to bring even more diversity to the festival scene.

It’s not that I’m championing one type of music over another here, but the lack of diversity in recent years has made some festivals suffer and, more importantly, made some fans slow down their own concert attendance schedules.

That could be why people are wetting themselves over Monolith even before a band has been announced. It’s just something new and that’s desperately needed. Kudos to the promoters for taking a step toward that all-too-scary precipice of the unknown. I hope to hell that it pays off, and I’m pretty certain it will.

As for the good old tried and true festivals, the great thing about them is that most have been around long enough to iron out any kinks and dial in their line-ups so that even if it is the same acts, the event goes off with flawless precision.

It’s going to be one hell of a summer!

We’ll see you at the shows.

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