• John-Michael Scurio

*IMO | Our Music Festival Future

In 1952, the Newport Jazz Festival was founded in Rhode Island, marking the inception of festival culture to the Western world. 13,000 people attended the festival to hear jazz, gospel, and blues performances by well known singers like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.


Today, 2020-2021. Newport Jazz and other well-known iconic festivals like Coachella, Lollapalooza, & Life Is Beautiful have become part of our culture in America. And smaller festivals, like our very own Spaceberry and Hillberry are gathering places on a spiritual level for those who share a love of live music. But ever since all music festivals were cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic, people have been wondering about the future of music festivals and what will happen in a post-Covid world.


Follow along as I share my thoughts on this subject *in my opinion.

Having spent four years of my life as a young man at The Boston Conservatory of Music, I took away so much from that experience. As I bask in the excitement of the return of dancing and music back into society, I am reminded of the teachings from my time at The Conservatory . . .


Music touches all aspects of our lives – physical, emotional, psychological, and behavioral.


So, that said, it is my opinion that music festivals will never go away but the experience will begin to evolve a lot faster forward.


In every culture on earth, there is some aspect of music whether it is as simple as a percussive beat of tribal drums, or a full-blown Bollywood production, music captures people through these four channels of our life experience. In a mass gathering environment, there is a co-creative element that happens with the energy emitted from a crowd that gives us a therapeutic rush and makes us feel very alive.

As a therapy, music is a proven way to reduce stress and to get into a mindful state of consciousness. Music therapy includes listening, communicating, and understanding. It is a popular method used in hospitals, educational institutions, and other clinical settings to ease clients and make them comfortable. I often use something as simple as my tuning fork just to get me into a state of relaxing meditation.


Psychologists believe that music therapy improves the quality of life. From pain to personal loss, attention disorders to relationship issues, music therapy is one fix that has the ability to suit all. Our local event, Drumming In The Park, is such a joyful experience here in Eureka Springs and I cannot wait for it's return as well.


The restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic have taught us so much, but one thing seems certain and that is that music festivals will stay the course, no matter what. Here's one reason why:


In the wake of cancellations and restrictions, artists have found incredibly creative solutions.


Tomorrowland

One of the world’s largest global electronic dance music festivals, Tomorrowland, took place digitally over the weekend of July 25-26, 2020 to keep fans united during the Covid-19 pandemic. The extravagant stage design created an entirely new experience – and certainly one that will shape the future of music festivals all around this now socially-distanced world. Check out this amazing video featuring a section of the 2020 digital festival.


The festival is well known as a concert industry innovator by way of showcasing new technologies, immersive experiences and leading music acts at live events. The 2020 two day digital event elevated the traditional music live-stream format, which normally features DJs mixing in a studio or at home, to a new form of visual entertainment combining ultramodern video elements and entertainment technologies.

The result is utterly spectacular and the theme, Reflection Of Love, is perfect.


Just before the festival, co-founder Michiel Beers said,

“We pride ourselves with uniting people from over 200 countries every year in Belgium but by going digital, we hope to attract even more people to experience Tomorrowland first hand without having to travel.”

In addition, UK indie rocker Sam Fender put on a socially distanced concert which, though not necessarily a success from a traditional standpoint, helped keep the art of live performance alive. There also was the first-ever EscapeTracks Virtual R&B Festival, which allowed fans to support struggling musicians by donating to Musicares.


It is innovative solutions like these, coupled with the therapy that is offered to us throughout the immersive experience that will forever keep the music festival culture alive - even during times like these. I believe that no matter what happens in the future, this culture will adapt and remain strong.

Finding ways to remain on a path to wellness is important for most, if not all, of us. As we all know, music has healing powers and offers us an array of favorable benefits.


This has been a time to reflect on what this pause has meant for all humanity, for everyone on earth. It's been a good time to reevaluate our habits, in terms of how we treat the planet and how we treat each other. This pause has taught us to be in the moment and try to live that moment to the fullest rather than film that moment, or snap and send it, or document it in some other way for someone else that isn't there with you - because when you do this, it's no longer yours in it's fullest form.


Covid-19 has made us grateful for what we have had, and for what we can do, and for what we will have again. We were so comfortable with the freedoms that we had that when they were taken away from us it caused us to reflect.


When things come back, we're all going to be more happy, more grateful and living every moment to the fullest, I can feel it in my heart.


The Lollapalooza website says it best:

"Music is our DNA. With 8 stages, and 170+ bands from all over the world, every Lolla lineup makes hands wave, heads nod, and crowds holler."

Therapy for us all. When you see a festival happening in any format, like our very own Hillberry at The Farm in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, go'n'git you some!❤️

*IMO is a blog-series where I, John-Michael Scurio, am able to express my own personal opinion about some subject or situation in particular. "But what about the opinion of others?" they wonder. "Yeah, that," I reply . . . "well, this specific series isn't about those opinions - just mine. Hence the acronym *IMO. If I opened it all up to all those opinions, I'd need to change the acronym to something else and it probably wouldn't feel as cool, but, hey, that's just my opinion."


Do you want me to have an opinion about something? Ask me: jmscurio@yahoo.com


Please take a moment to check out the different posts in this particular blog series on www.iloveureka.com

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