Thursday, May 27, 2010

Festivals Schmestivals

So, considering the blasphemously torturous heat and humidity that has descended on New York City and Brooklyn over the last two days, I've started to think about the summertime music festivals, held in similar weather conditions, but much more enjoyable/tolerable in comparison to that of sitting in an office (which I am doing currently).

What is looking to be the most exciting thus far?  See the following list to find out what may or may not be worth your time and lovely money in the upcoming months. 

1. Sasquatch Music Festival, The Gorge, Washington.  Memorial weekend (ie this weekend fools).
Vampire Weekend, The National, OK Go, Miike Snow, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Mumford and Sons, Fools Gold, Dawes, LCD Soundsystem, Tegan and Sara, Kid Cudi, The XX, Avi Buffalo, Local Natives, Freelance Whales, Simian Mobile Disco, MGMT, Band of Horses, She and Him, Passion Pit, The Temper Trap, Dr. Dog...what is this, the best Brooklyn indie bands meet the best LA indie bands meet the Coachella 2010 line up and explode into amazingness in a gorge in Washington state?  ME THINKS YES!!! Gosh darnit, why aren't I on a plane now going there???  It's not like I don't know people in a few of these bands or anything.  Oh right. I have a desk job. And bills to pay.  And live across the country.  YouTube videos post-festival, here I come!!!
Potential to be awesomeness (PTBA) rating scale (1-10, 10 being the best): 11.  Awww hell, 15!!!

2. Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennesee. June 10-13.
All I can say for this one is BonaBOOOOOO.  Seriously, this is the line-up they pull together?  Do they really believe that this line up is not only worth the sky high cost, but the unearable heat and mud conditions, and the dirty camping-only choice for which each festival goer must opt?  In the past, this festival was of epic proportions.  Now, it's gone to the mud.
PTBA Rating: 2 

3. Harmony Music Festival, Santa Rosa, CA. June 11-13.
I just have to throw this one in there because get their tagline: Music, Art, Ecology, Healthy Living, Spirituality.  Celebrating 32 evolutionary years of new ideas, community activism, environmental awareness, spiritual wisdom, holistic products, etc BAHAHAHAHA.  However, the Ms. Lauryn Hill is playing for god's sake!  Hello music, the environment and true hippie culture in the modern day.  Should be worthy of some hilarious journalist and music lover's adventure, and I would go if I were in the neighborhood.

PTBA Rating: 3 for music (8 for L to the H, but otherwise, meh) and 5 for potential to be full of amazingly awkward hippie wiccan types.

4. Glastonbury Festival, Pilton, England. June 23-27.
Looks like the Coachella of the UK this year, with a fair amount of Euro indie talent.  Add some Norah Jones and Stevie Wonder and the age demographic widens (if they can handle the rainy weather that usually descends).  I like this festival a lot in that Oxfam and Water Aid and Greenpeace all benefit.  Here we go with music connecting with the environment again!  They get an extra point for that.  They might be docked a half a point for the lagging navigability of their line up page though.  See here:
I would be more enthused for you and I did not most of us live in North America, not the UK or Europe!  For those of you over the pond, this does look to be one of their best line ups as of late, and I know for a fact that the people at this festival are SERIOUSLY attractive (accents included).
PTBA Rating:8, but 6.5 for being far/for being on the British Pound Sterling and costing mucho!
5. The Northside Festival, Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. June 25,26, and 27.

This one packs quite the up and coming indie punch, and at only $50 for a 3 day pass, amongst drink specials, hot mustached hipsters (not the girls clearly), and general debauchery, who would pass such a thing up?  I'll be there. Obviously.  Check plus! for that.
PTBA Rating: 7.5

6. Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago, IL. July 16-18.
Thank you to one of my favoritest indie music blogs for pulling what is looking to be the best and most succinctly put together indie music festival this summer!  I have featured many of the bands myself on this blog and on the other website I edit,, and I have to give P to the Fork major kudos on pulling all of these styles together for what shall be one fantabulous weekend adventure in one of the most fun cities in the summertime (not to mention affordable locales) for a music festival to take place.  If you are in the midwest, I might even choose this over the loved Lollapalooza (if one sadly had to choose)!  LCD Soundsystem, Real Estate, Modest Mouse, Beach House, Sleigh Bells, and my personal faves and buddies, Local Natives round out this amazing festival, so make it your festivus for the rest of us and give me a drunken musical holler on your cell so I can enjoy from my distant land in BK.
PTBA Rating: 9

7. Lollapalooza, Chicago, Il. August 6-8.
Lady Gaga, The Strokes, Phoenix, and Arcade Fire all in my hometown all at once!  This will either be really silly and sweaty and beerish, or really freaking fun.  They've got some of the definitive by coastal indies that are clearly hitting the tour circuit this summer (a la Edward Sharpe and Mumford and Sons and Dawes and the xx), but regardless of how enjoyable their line-up is, it's still a bit lacking in the cohesivity department.  I'm sure it will be great, but that pizazz just ain't there for me (new website designer might help their cause maybe??).  If you're in town, don't flake out and miss it though, it's where all the cool (and trying to be cool but seriously uncool) Chicago kids will be anywho.
PTBA Rating: 6.5

Others worth mentioning:

North by Northeast in Toronto in early June.  This one is full of music and films a la South by Southwest but not as famous or Texan.

All Points West, New Jersey/New York area (but it might not happen this year eeek!)

Benicassim, Spain--camping, beach, music, sangria and cava, what else more could you want?

Techno music festivals in Eastern Europe.  I think there is a famous one in Croatia. DANCE DANCE! 

Alright, and I'm spent.



Friday, May 14, 2010

How can you help to stop Oil spills and Coal Mine collapses? Yes, You!!!

So these last few weeks have seemed to have been dominated by environmental disaster type situations that have had a clear impact on us, i.e. humankind.  In a BIG way.

The volcano from Iceland.  Who thought Iceland could ever impact our lives at all?  Yeah, well so much for that.  Turns out that weather patterns really can be seriously shifted due to one natural climatic occurence.  While it's nice that the volcano didn't result in many deaths (or any at all specifically in Iceland), I think it's fair to say that a few billion dollars in damages and lots of people being stuck in places they didn't want to be changed the way that we think about weather and the world in general.

And let's not forget about the general atmosphere of uncertainty that has descended on any and every traveler, considering we don't really know how our new favorite explosive mountain thousands of miles away will behave--for the next 200 years or so.

To relate this climatic event to music, let's just say that a few good bands and attractive music lovers could not make it to Coachella this year thanks to (here goes nothing) eyjafjallajokull.  Music and the environment connected again (this time, not in such a fun manner).

Moving on to events that could have been prevented: the coal mine explosion in West Virginia (the largest amount of deaths in such an accident since the 1970s) and the massive Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Beyond looking at safety and regulatory issues, what do I mean by prevention?  And what do I mean by you can help stop these kinds of accidents?

Basically, these accidents happen as a direct result of our needing these resources, and a large amount of these resources at a rapid pace for our high level of consumption standards.

So, what can you do, that won't really dramatically impact your quality of living, but might help to improve the quality of life of those who labor for these resources for us?

1. Buy better quality goods (i.e. ones that will last longer and have been made to suit higher standards).  While they might cost a bit more, if you take a longer term view/approach, these appliances will last longer, serve you better, and less often have to be disposed and replaced!  Energy Star is a great ratings system to go by if looking for a new appliance.

2. Take public transportation or ride your bike 1 extra day/week.  Even just one day means less coal and less oil! (oil fuels our cars, coal fuels our homes, hot water (so use cold water more often than hot, it gets the job done just as well), electricity, heat, air conditioning, etc).  Also, if you are interested in not supplying your home with coal-based energy, you can actually pay a bit more to get your energy from wind farms!!!  Check it out here:

3. Keep your home warmer in the summer (especially when you aren't chillaxing there) and cooler in the winter (we all know we love to sleep better in colder temperatures, like sleeping on the colder side of the pillow, like sipping hot tea and cocoa, yada yada yada).

4. Use less plastic.  Plastic is oil based!! Did you know that?  Glass is a great substitute, especially for non-klutzes (which I totally am, but I deal with it).  Ceramic is great as well.

By buying less products that are made from these non-renewable, labor-intensive products, we can improve the standards under which the miners and rig-workers are working, and heighten the chance of safer conditions!

Inspiring, ain't it?