How to Survive a Music Festival: SKATERS Edition

Posted on: June 19th, 2014 at 11:16 am by

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SKATERS, Photo: Shane McCauley

With festival season in full swing, we thought we’d catch up with one of our personal favorites, SKATERS, who rocked their infectious debut album, ‘Manhattan,’ on day three of Governors Ball at Randall’s Island. Guitarist Josh Hubbard provided us with some additional pointers on festival survival, but more importantly, he has a way to weed out the imposters and bring back the music nerd to these things. 

BOWERY BOOGIE: How many festivals have you been to?

BB: Best part of festivals?
JH: Under butt, both sexes.

BB: You’re trapped in a mosh pit. What’s your exit strategy?
JH: Call your mother, you little bitch.

BB: How should we pass the time in the neverending port-a-potty lines?
JH: Shit in the woods. A full squat reduces the need for wiping.

BB: What’s the most annoying thing about festivals and the culture that comes with it?
JH: Well, there are a few serious problems with modern festivals, but I think it’s important to address them with solutions. And since bands make a lot of money, I support their growing popularity. But rather than be like other blogs that start and end with the insult, I’m going to recommend a few changes so that festivals don’t continue down this path similar to the downfall of MTV and Starbucks.

Right now, many major festivals are the Walmart of music, advertising their bullshit local foods aisle. Many of those in attendance at these larger festivals have been proven phony by the likes of Jimmy Kimmel and Vice. And it’s very obvious those videos are not fake when you’re there. There are just too many babes and too many men from fitness magazines. It looks like they each don a temporary hipster outfit and then try to get laid, not realizing that they’re preying on other hipsters in disguise. The outfits look like styles you’ve only seen in pictures that make fun of hipsters. They are there because they’ve heard of a couple bands, and know they can get fucked up beyond belief, and maybe catch a couple of hippies with their tops off. Its much like the beach.

Music nerds are afraid of the beach. I remember a fond conversation at a festival in South England with a kid in a beer line. After some small talk, I told him I had played, he said he hadn’t heard of us. All good. So I asked who he was there to see, and he said he didn’t really come for the music. How is it that someone comes to a music festival to not see the band? Now, I personally don’t go to festivals, but that is just because I’m a slight introvert. So … in order to replace these impostors we need to get more introverts to the festivals and I think I have a solution.

I propose that every festival offers a “grounds of solitude.” Its filled with opportunities to take a break from the madness and re-energize, let off some steam and ponder internal conflicts, away from the suffocating crowds and constant chatter. Picture a separate field full of old telephone booths, massage tents, may be therapy sessions. Large closed tents with as few as three chairs. Of course every introvert would have to prove their authenticity; a breach in security could provide devastating results – never bother a recharging loner.  We could offer noise cancellation headphones. A small library. Anti-gravitation tanks. It’s easy to recognize the brilliance of this plan. And as we attract more people afraid of social interaction, we’ll be pushing away those assholes that write us off as “downers.” They’ll be like, “that festival was a bummer,” and we’ll be like, “that festival was pleasant.”

We could add shows that are even smaller, with smaller tents. We could set up upscale coffee spots with comfortable chairs, and ask everyone to “keep your voices down please.” Festivals need to add the things that true music geeks love. Right now its all Urban Outfitters. Every festival should have a small stage curated by a local writer. There’s barely anything that would eschew your standard “hipster hater!” If we think along those lines I think we can really improve the festivals.

BB: Tips for a first-time festival goer?
JH: Start a blog so you can get backstage. Then you can watch bands from side stage. Sneak into catering. Break the rules. Offer a band drugs; you’ll get whatever you want.

BB: Have any favorite festival stories that stick out in your head?
JH: Yes.

SKATERS will be back around these parts to play Irving Plaza on October 15.

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