Commentary: Too Much More — Four Day Festival Exhaustion (2023)

Are four-day music festivals too much of a good thing?

Aftershock, Sacramento

Do you remember when big music festivals lasted for three days? I do. It was just a couple of years ago, before the covid-19 pandemic. Ah, the good old days.

All major music festivals were cancelled in 2020 because of covid, so when the next year rolled around – and we were still facing covid restrictions – festival promoters had the idea that an extra day added on to the festival would be a nice bonus because we all had missed out completely the year before. That sounded pretty good at the time. More bands, more beer, more food, more music. And it was pretty good. The first year. 2023 is the third year in a row where four-day music festivals are commonplace, and it is starting to wear me down.

The thing about four-day festivals is they are really long, an expensive. For fans, that is an extra day they have to take off work, an extra day in a hotel (or camping), and extra day of food and drink expense. It adds up. For some people, like me, the third day was a bit wearisome, having spent day one and day two hitting it hard. A fourth day can test your limits of endurance, and if it does that, the fun really starts to slow down.

So why does the fourth day persist? I can think of a few reasons off the top of my head. For one thing, there is the illusion of value. Prices have gone up for festivals, but they did not go up 33% as we might expect for that extra day. Four days then seems like a good deal to people (setting aside those extra day expenses I mentioned a second ago). Most importantly, the fourth day persists because there really isn’t any choice, is there? If you are going to a festival in the area where you live, you probably don’t have three or four different ones to choose from every year with the kind of music you want to see. So, you take what’s available.

Heavy Montreal

From the promoter’s point of view, four-day festivals make more money because they sell food and booze and merch for an extra day. The rental of the festival grounds might be a little higher, but the biggest expenses are fixed cost – the headliners, the stages, etc. – so an extra day does not add to those costs much, if at all. They would have to pay more bands to play, if there were more bands playing. You might have noticed, though, that many of the big festivals have reduced the number of acts per day as they added an additional festival day. Are there really more bands? Not many.

I think the situation is that four-day festivals have become expected, so scaling back might be perceived as a loss in value and quality. Therefore, we might just be struck them for a while. Personally, one of my favorite festivals was always Heavy Montreal, and that is a two-day festival. It was paired with the one-day ’77 event (a punk festival), so you could easily opt out or in, depending on what you wanted to do. Psycho Las Vegas has the optional add-on Psycho Swim on the Thursday before the festival, making a nice separating option. That’s a good way to go, too. The only thing you can do along these lines for most four-day festivals is by one day at a time, which is priced to be considerably more expensive.

Sunday Afternoon at Louder Than Life, Louisville

I hate to miss out on the big festivals where heavy metal bands play, but I am worn down by the four days. This year, I am going to concentrate on the smaller events (one- and two-day metal fests) and the ones that kept it to a tight three. For the most part, anyway. I do expect to be at Blue Ridge Rock Fest this year, and probably Aftershock, but otherwise I am capping it at three days. So, that’ll be Psycho Las Vegas without the swim (I’ll be there on Thursday but look for me sitting at the tables), Metal Threat, Heavy Psych Sounds, Hell In The Harbor, Rock Fest, and festivals like that. I love music festivals. I just don’t want too much of a good thing.

Photos by Wayne Edwards

© Wayne Edwards

Commentary: Too Much More — Four Day Festival Exhaustion (2023)

Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India (2022)

This is an unusual non-musical post for FFMB. I was at the ancient temple sites of Mahabalipuram in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu late in 2022 and took a few pictures with my cell phone. I was surprised that some of them turned out not too bad, especially given the rudimentary nature of my phone. Because I like the place so much, I decided to post some of the photos here.

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, is a site of several temples, stone carvings, and caves originating from to the 7th and 8th centuries. Many of the carvings are made in living rock – statues carved from a single existing boulder, or a cave structure carved into the side of a rock face. There is a lot to see there including the rathas (temples in the form of chariots – the Puranas in the Ramayana and Mahabharata), the cave sanctuaries (mandapas), an huge open-air rock relief titled in modern times “Descent of the Ganges,” and the Shore Temple, dedicated to Shiva. These few photos will give you some idea. Of course, the best thing to do is to actually go there, wander around for a few hours, and see for yourself.

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Tamil Nadu tourism site for Mahabalipuram, https://www.tamilnadutourism.com/blog/mahabalipuram/

UNESCO World Heritage Site page for Mahabalipuram, https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/249

© Wayne Edwards

Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India (2022)

New Year’s Day, 2023

Here we go.

It’s a new year, and a new set of opportunities. More important than anything: more heavy music.

This year we are stepping it up at Shardik Media. The plan is for five new release reviews every week, expanded coverage of live music including music festivals we have not covered before, and a couple surprise features that will be new to Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog. Stay tuned.

Speaking of something new, we are looking for an intern to do some of the writing and posting for the blog. It is unpaid, so it is not a good deal, but if you like heavy music and you want to get involved, pop us an email at shardik@flyingfiddlesticks.com.

I am going to put up a couple of random photos that haven’t been on the website before as a little celebration of the year to come. Let’s make 2023 count.

Wayne Edwards

King Diamond, Mercyful Fate
Blackie Lawless, W.A.S.P.
Amon Amarth
Primitive Man
Moru
Dying Wish
Spirit Adrift

Photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links and info.

Contact email address: shardik@flyingfiddlesticks.com

I also write for Ghost Cult Magazine: https://www.ghostcultmag.com/

Social Media accounts used regularly…

Instagram, @wayneedwardsffmb

Twitter, @we21011

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100082879764669

Mastodon, @ShardikMedia@universeodon.com

© Wayne Edwards

New Year’s Day, 2023

Goodbye 2022

Well, that’s another year in the rearview mirror. Here at Shardik Media – and Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog – we had a pretty good year. We published 238 new release reviews, covered twenty-five live events, including six music festivals, and put up 365 articles in total. That is the most we have done so far in the four years we have been operating, so I am going to mark that up as a win.

Our gratitude and thanks to all our readers, the bands, record labels, PR people, and promoters. It was a great year in heavy metal, and I predict an even better one in 2023.

Happy New Year.

George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. Photo by Wayne Edwards.

© Wayne Edwards

Goodbye 2022

Happy New Year’s Eve 2020

I don’t have to tell you about 2020 – you were there, too. Usually, at the end of the year, I spend December choosing some photos to repost for good vibes and great memories, but this year I didn’t take a single photograph of a live show. Yeah. So, I am going to post a few photos from 2019 that did not see that light of day then, just for fun. I am keeping the cameras warm for 2021 because hope springs eternal.

There was a lot of excellent music released this year. We published 188 reviews in 2020, a lot more than we thought we would. There are so many “Best of 2020” lists out there that I decided not to do one for FFMB. Instead, I am throwing up a couple of covers from albums we didn’t review this year that were really good – just couldn’t get to everything. We’ll try to do better in 2021.

Thanks to everybody involved with Flying Fiddlesticks Music Blog and the Shardik Media Cabal. Deep gratitude and thanks to all the bands, record labels, venues, publicists, and promoters keeping music alive for all of us.

We’re still here and we are carrying on in 2021. See you out there.

All live performance photos by Wayne Edwards.

Aftershock

Heavy Montreal

Clubs

Albums

© Wayne Edwards.

Happy New Year’s Eve 2020

T-Shirt Inventory, Ebb Tide

The T-Shirt Inventory Project 2020 has been a lot of fun. There are still other shirts lying around here that didn’t catch a wave. I wouldn’t call them a wave, exactly. Let’s call them a tide. An ebb tide. Here are a few shirts that did not appear in the eight waves that came before.

And just in case you are interested, here are direct links to each wave so you can check out the shirts that rolled ashore.

First Wave

Second Wave

Third Wave

Fourth Wave

Fifth Wave

Sixth Wave

Seventh Wave

Eighth Wave

© Wayne Edwards.

T-Shirt Inventory, Ebb Tide

T-Shirt Inventory, Sixth Wave

Week six was heavy week at the T-Shirt Inventory Project. By the end of the week I had turned nostalgic and just wanted a beer. Actually, I pretty much always want a beer.

From the “13” Tour.
The Final 2-3 Year Tour.
Green Death.
A Classic Band and a Classic Design.
More Black Sabbath — The End Tour.
One of My Earliest Rock and Roll Influences — Alice Cooper.
My Favorite Bar in Long Beach.

© Wayne Edwards.

T-Shirt Inventory, Sixth Wave

T-Shirt Inventory, Fifth Wave

It is Clutch Week at the T-Shirt Inventory Project. It is a complete coincidence that Clutch started doing livestream performances from their rehearsal space, The Doom Saloon, this week as well. I hope you are watching those on YouTube and I hope you are wearing Clutch shirts while you do it.

I slipped this one High On Fire shirt in for Sunday.

© Wayne Edwards.

T-Shirt Inventory, Fifth Wave