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Do Major Festival Lineups Still Matter?

EDC 2014 tips from day 1
No expense was spared this year on production

Festival lineups, especially those of larger, annual festivals around the world, are sought after and discussed as much as any non-music aspect of dance music. The headliners featured, genre groupings, and new additions to lineups of festivals like EDC, Ultra, Tomorrowland, and more are seen as indicators of what’s going on in EDM, and who the artists are that people want to see.

Huge lineups, featuring hundreds of dance music’s biggest names, at festivals with several stages, give fans the opportunity to decimate their ‘must-see’ lists of artists, which drive so many of us to pinch our pennies for these events. These same artists are returning to these gargantuan festivals, playing other, similar-sized events around the world, as well as touring local clubs and playing at one-off massives.

Essentially, it’s never been easier to catch the artists of your dreams. More likely than not, especially for fans in the Northwest, there’s been plenty of opportunities to plan, save-up, and attend a combination of large and local shows in order to catch some of our favorite artists. But, once we’ve seen all of the big names on our list, and that’s who’s coming back to town, we’re left in a tough spot.

Seeing great music from great artists is never a bad idea, but spending the type of money it takes to attend these shows means the value needs to be there. While production and venue have a lot to do with it, a great lineup attracts the masses to even the unlikeliest of locations. When the value of a festival is reduced, despite it’s fantastic lineup, due to the fact that the majority of the fan-base has already had the pleasure of seeing them a few times, the decision on whether or not to attend becomes difficult.

We’re blessed with dozens of festivals taking place throughout our region year-round, taking advantage of the sunny summer months we’re more than ready for at the moment. We’ve had headliners like Above & Beyond, Kaskade, and Calvin Harris make multiple headlining stops at festivals around the Northwest, with tour stops sprinkled in, since 2012.

Assuming that you’ve been able to attend any 3-5 of USC Events’ quarterly massives over that same time period, the list of artists you’ve enjoyed is rather impressive. That’s not including year-round club shows, genre-specific massives like Safe In Sound, or other, non-Northwest festivals that many ravers make part of summer plans.

EDC Las Vegas 2015 lineup

That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of reasons to see an artist more than once, especially those that we’re particularly fond of. But when it comes to that third or fourth time around, which is the general dance music fan more likely to choose: the annual, more expensive, and less-intimate option, or the cheaper, local option that may not come around as often? For fans further from a dance music oasis such as the Northwest, festivals may still make the most sense. But in the PNW, where local shows are bountiful, tough decisions are being made by ravers from Vancouver to Boise.

So, what kind of lineup does it take for the Northwest raver to splurge on the experience of EDC, Ultra, or Tomorrowland in 2016? Or does the venue, production, and people make the experience more than worth the price of admission, regardless of their consistently impressive lineups? Let us know what you think by commenting below, on Facebook, or replying on Twitter!

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Born and raised in the Northwest, professionalized in Pullman. Enjoying the ride that dance music provides in our lovely corner of the country.

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