Festie TEDX Talks: Kevin Lyman on The Walmartization of Music Festivals

Article by: Graham Berry|@Festival_Writer

Thu November 16, 2017 | 12:15 PM

Beyond the bright lights and the roar of the crowds, there’s something special brewing inside the melting pot of festival culture. Some say it’s a social revolution. Others look at it as a spiritual awakening of sorts. Whatever it is, brilliant academics are talking about the larger impact festivals have on the world, which we explore in Festie TEDX Talks.

As the founder and CEO of 4fini , the first-ever touring stage manager at Lollapalooza and the founder of the Vans Warped Tour and Mayhem Festival, Kevin Lyman has long been involved in the festival industry. In this TEDx presentation at Cal Poly Pomona, he talks about the loss of great headliners, the disconnect happening between young people and their tribes, and the lack of intimate experiences at festivals with the artists we love. In addition to all these ideas he explains the dwindling financial resources of attendees and the importance of making festivals economical for fans. Because festivals are often expensive to attend, he predicts a rise in one-day festivals that will be built around affordability.

Lyman also believes that we’ve run out of beautiful locations for our festivals. Moreover, in the struggle to streamline event production, many have cut corners by removing us from inspiring natural landscapes, and hiring the same bands again and again. Lyman says “Big box festivals are turning up all over the country. You throw up three stages, you find a parking lot and you charge kids and people a bunch of money.” While price is often a key factor in attendees' decision whether or not to buy a ticket, Lyman holds the value of these experiences should not be undersold. In his words, “Reconnecting you with your heart and soul in music will get you through the hard times and we need to take care of this culture in America.”

Amen, Mr. Lyman.

This post was originally published in November 2015.