With masses of CHS students flocking to music festivals and venues across the state of California, there’s no doubt that Carmel High has a dedicated concert-going crowd. Costs for weekend entertainment can range from a low of $80 for a two-day pass at the First City Festival in Monterey to an average of $933 for a three-day pass at Coachella, the nation’s most expensive music festival.
Just a week after school kicks off in August, local hipsters can be found at the local First City Festival, enjoying a weekend of acoustic-oriented indie pop in the company of friends, family and even teachers. This fairly recent rock-inspired festival takes place at the Monterey Fairgrounds, and even includes free carnival rides.
Senior Robin Myers points out that First City is a great venue to discover new music. It was at First City that Myers fell in love with indie jazz and soul group Lake Street Dive, which hails from Boston.
“I didn’t know them, so it was a pleasant surprise…now I listen to them all the time,” Myers says.
CHS students also prize First City for its convenience and its social aspects.
“It’s located here, so there aren’t any problems in finding rides and all that complicated stuff,” Myers notes. “It’s cool to have such a thing in our community, and it’s fun to see all sorts of different people from other areas come here for it.”
However, First City is far from the only festival that students attend.
The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, which takes place at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, has a wide selection of food and has starred numerous Grammy winners in prior years.
“My favorite part was listening to Kanye West rant during his performance,” senior Makena Ehnisz says. “All the songs he didn’t finish because he would just stop to talk. It was really nuts.”
In October, one can find hip-hop fans bobbing heads on the green lawns of the Shoreline Amphitheatre for Rock the Bells, which has featured artists like Too $hort, Talib Kweli and the Wu-Tang Clan.
“It was at the end of the night and all the kids from Carmel High were together, and it was really fun,” says junior Sam Snowden, whose favorite performance came from new-age rapper Kid Cudi.
“It was memorable because all my friends went together,” senior William Kehoe says. “My favorite part was seeing a lot of my favorite artists live.”
Even in freezing temperatures, the Snowglobe Music Festival at Tahoe packs skiers, snowboarders, and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) lovers in an outdoor arena at the Lake Tahoe Community College, where they can dance to loud and energetic tunes from DJs like Disclosure, Odesza and Skrillex.
Like many avid Snowglobe participants, senior Sam Klemek enjoys Snowglobe because of its uniqueness.
“No other festivals are in Tahoe, or even in the snow, so it’s very interesting,” Klemek says. “The theme is winter and New Year’s, and that’s really cool.”
Snowglobe also allows students to make new friends in a comfortable setting.
“It’s a place that is very accepting,” Klemek asserts. “You don’t have to worry about people judging you or anything like that. It’s all really nice people that are easy to talk to and connect with especially when you find people that are there to see the same artists.”
But there seems to be one festival that holds the most clout.
At Indio, in the heart of the blazing southern Californian desert, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (known to most attendees simply as “Coachella”) provides alternative rock devotees, electronic-loving vegans and trust-fund-babies-turned-rap-junkies with an outdoor carnival-like weekend. This year’s lineup includes hundreds of artists, ranging from rock legends AC/DC to lesser-known rising stars, like Britain’s beloved FKA twigs.
Junior Matt O’Grady says his favorite part of Coachella was watching special guests unexpectedly come on stage to perform with other acts. However, the drama doesn’t always end there.
“What made it really memorable was helping my friend Dylan when he got a heat stroke,” O’Grady says.
Nonetheless, just about everyone has a great time.
“I liked being with my friends and listening to some good music,” senior Athena McPartland recalls.
With a nationwide resurgence of music festivals, attracting crowds in the hundreds of thousands, Carmel High students remain eager to attend.