The Rise of the “Super Concert”

Music festivals–now seen as the most cost-efficient way of being seen and heard by as many people possible–are exploding across North America. The first-ever WayHome festival north of Barrie, Ontario, attracted 35,000 people and grossed $10 million. People are freaked out over Osheaga. There’s Edgefest and Pemberton and Riot Fest and Ottawa Blues Fest and Festival d’été de Québec. And that’s just Canada.

With the rise of these music festivals, there’s plenty of opportunity to make money. The Huffington Post looks at the rise of the “Super Concert” and how things are being commercialized.

Music festivals are in a constant state of evolution. Community driven gatherings focusing on music and the arts developed into music festivals over the last century in North America and Europe, and especially in the past 20 years as music festivals have seen a resurgence and presence in the music industry. Music festivals began as small gatherings and developed into larger events, bringing with them a generated vibe that propels a festival forward through word of mouth and a must-attend quality to the event. As festivals grow in scope and audience, they become popular destinations with wide appeal, bringing in larger crowds that have new tastes to be appealed to. Music festivals are capable of catering to the needs of fans and making the event a fan-friendly experience devoid of the mass commercialization found throughout the music industry.

Yet music festivals are now evolving into Super Concerts. These are events that seem like music festivals but lack the grassroots history of the event, do not have years where the festival developed and saw audiences grow over time, and have an overall commercial presentation to fans. As commercialization increases, Super Concerts are labeled as music festivals and made to be a hot ticket of the summer. This is not the natural progression for the thriving music festivals in America and around the world, but a bastardization and redefinition of the concept of a festival, a word and event that is shared worldwide across cultures, a common thread of familiarity between everyone.

This is a calculated approach by large scale promoters and music industry corporations that results in cut backs to the community aspect and familial quality of festivals and increases marketability while ticket prices raise year after year.

Keep reading.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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