Coachella. Stagecoach. Sasquatch. Bonnaroo. Lollapalooza. Austin City Limits.
Those are the music festivals I attended this summer, PopWatchers, and believe me when I say, those were enough. Completists will notice that I missed Pemberton (during Comic-Con), All Points West (the weekend after Lollapalooza? I don’t think so), Outside Lands (went to Vegas instead), and my first Bumbershoot in three years (couldn’t afford the plane ticket). Nevertheless, I feel like I became something of an expert in the art of festival-living during the summer of 2008, in which I pushed my limits — and the limits of my editors — by enthusiastically throwing myself into a self-issued challenge: Could one girl, armed only with a Nikon and a notebook, singlehandedly revolutionize the art of concert coverage?
Well, no. But I did take a boatload of sweet pictures, meet some lovely new friends (with whom I will never again drive in a golf cart), and experience the full range of human emotions while standing at the feet of musical giants. It was then suggested by a co-worker that I should create my own awards ceremony, honoring the best — and worst — of what I reported here on PopWatch this year. I happily took him up on his genius idea and have thus put together the first-annual Festie Awards, now broadcasting live in gallery form on the front page of EW.com. It’s a good chance to click through some never-before-seen photos of Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Foo Fighters, Jenny Lewis, and more; plus, I was miraculously able to find video for nearly every single specific moment I wrote about, from the sparkling blanket of lighters stretched across the field during Pearl Jam’s set at Bonnaroo to Perry Farrell’s totally cracked-out introduction to “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” in front of a pit full of small children at Kidzapalooza. (Tragically, I still can find no trace of Broken Social Scene’s glorious “Ibi…” from B’roo; will pay, like, a whole dollar for video of that if you’ve got it.)
So go check out the 2008 Festies, watch some video, relive the memories, and then c’mon back here to share with the group: Did you hit any of these festivals? Agree with my conferring of honors? And if you were to hand out trophies from your own personal summer concert season — doesn’t have to be festivals; could just be your local bar band — who would they go to and why?
UPDATE: Whoops. It’s just been brought to my attention that a website called MelodyTrip handed out some “Festies” themselves last year. My bad. Let’s call mine the “Festeez”!